- Trevor Brown, Pelopidas, LLC
Emotions sometimes run high in the public debates over race and gender issues. Some claim that public passions can obscure facts and result in ill-considered policy. Many observers have bemoaned the public rhetoric surrounding the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri as more inflammatory than constructive. Another example can be found in criticism over President Obama’s use of a misleading, or at least contestable, figure in his 2014 State of the Union address: “Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.” But equal pay for equal work has been the law since 1963, and some researchers have questioned whether the pay gap exists in reality to the same extent it does rhetorically. Are similarly emotional arguments being used in the debates over sexual assault in the military, hate crimes, and harassment and bullying in public schools? This panel will explore the concerns over this problem and its policy consequences.
This panel on "Passion and Prudence in the Political Process: The Debate Over Federal Civil Rights Policy" was part of a day-long conference on Civil Rights in the United States held on September 9, 2014, and co-sponsored by the Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.
The Mayflower Hotel
It has been argued that EPA's recently announced carbon emissions rule is just the latest attempt to draw states into the implementation of its regulations. The Supreme Court has long been permissive of such "cooperative federalism" programs in both the regulatory and spending contexts, insisting in New York v. United States (1992) and Printz v. United States (1997) that such programs constitute mere "encouragement" not rising to the level of coercion or commandeering. But Texas's fight to resist being drawn into implementing EPA's greenhouse gas regulations suggests that federal "encouragement" can be deeply coercive, employing penalties against the state's economy that courts have no doctrine to account for.
Controversies over jurisdiction and management of public lands are building. Whether grazing rights disputes in Nevada or New Mexico, alarm over federal disinterest in long recognized local partnerships for management of multi-use lands, BLM review of millions of acres to balance factors like environmental justice, and complaints of forest maintenance hazards, states are increasingly concerned. Western states contend that return of public lands to state control would generate a North Dakota-like renaissance of jobs, access to resources, and economic activity. Several Western states are investigating the legal basis for challenging federal retention of these public multi-use lands as described in state charter enabling acts. The state of Utah now has statutory authority to sue the federal government for return of its lands in January, 2015. How sound is the legal case, and what are the economic implications for the Western states -- as well as the country in general? What are the environmental policy issues and is state stewardship of these lands best?
The Administrative Conference, together with The Federalist Society, the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice and Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Sections, and the American Constitution Society, hosted a workshop entitled "Criminal Law and the Administrative State: Defining and Enforcing Regulatory Crimes". Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and U.S. Sentencing Commissioner Rachel Barkow delivered some keynote remarks at the close of the workshop.
Hart Senate Office Building