Hosted by The George Washington National Security and U.S. Foreign Relations Law Program and Sponsored by The Federalist Society's Faculty Division and the George Washington Student Chapter
Ever since the Founding, the power of the United States to enter into treaties has been viewed as central to the then-newly-created nation's ability to exercise sovereign power. But treaties confer both mutual rights and mutual obligations on their signatories. Therefore when nations, including the United States, enter into treaties, they arguably both advance and limit their ability to pursue their own objectives. This conference will address important questions regarding treaties and national sovereignty. Register now!
Litigation and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
The laws of six states prohibit businesses—but not unions or other groups—from contributing to political parties, committees, or candidates. On February 24, 2015, the Goldwater Institute filed suit on behalf of two family-owned Massachusetts businesses to challenge Massachusetts’ political contribution ban. Since 1908, businesses have faced a total contribution ban, but special rules implemented in 1988 allow unions to contribute as much as $15,000 before any disclosure requirements or other contribution limits apply to the union. After unions have donated $15,000 to campaigns, their PACs can continue to contribute up to the ordinary limits. Meanwhile, business-funded PACs are banned from contributing. Does the Massachusetts law violate state and federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection, free speech, and free association?
- Jim Manley, Senior Attorney, Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, The Goldwater Institute
Litigation and International & National Security Law Practice Groups Podcast
In February of 2015, federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen (Southern District of Texas) temporarily blocked President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which would have shielded as many as five million people from deportation proceedings. Judge Hanen subsequently refused the federal government’s request to reconsider, and last week the government filed an emergency motion in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asking that court to overturn the injunction. This week, Judge Hanen and federal government lawyers reportedly sparred over representations made in court by government attorneys on details of waivers already granted under the executive actions. What is the basis of Judge Hanen’s injunction? Is it likely to be overturned or upheld by the Fifth Circuit? What are the next steps in the proceedings?
- Prof. John C. Eastman, Director, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law and Community Service, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law
- Brianne Gorod, Appellate Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center
Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Podcast
On March 9, 2015, in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that agencies are not required to use notice-and-comment rulemaking to significantly revise its prior "authoritative" interpretation of a regulation. But several of the Justices wrote separately to criticize sharply the doctrine of "Auer deference," under which courts give utmost deference to agencies' interpretations of regulation.
So what is the future of Auer deference, in the aftermath of Mortgage Bankers? On this teleforum, two administrative law scholars offered their views.
- Prof. Jeffrey Pojanowski, University of Notre Dame Law School
- Prof. Christopher J. Walker, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
- Moderator: Adam J. White, Counsel, Boyden Gray & Associates
On February 25, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Yates v. United States. This case concerns whether Mr. Yates’ order to his crew to throw undersized fish back into the Gulf of Mexico during the course of a government wildlife investigation violated the "document shredding provision" of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which makes it a crime for anyone who “knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object” with the intent to impede or obstruct an investigation.
Justice Ginsburg announced the judgment of a divided Court, and delivered a plurality opinion concluding that for purposes of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a "tangible object" refers to an object used to record or preserve information. Justice Alito concurred, on somewhat narrower grounds.
Justice Ginsburg was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Breyer and Sotomayor. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas joined. The judgment of the Eleventh circuit was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.
To discuss the case, we have Todd Braunstein who is Counsel at WilmerHale.
On March 2, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The first question in the case is whether Arizona’s reliance on a commission to draw up congressional districts rather than its state legislature violates the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution as well as Title 2 of the U.S. Code. The second question is whether the Arizona Legislature has standing to file suit against the commission.
To discuss the case, we have Derek Muller, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Pepperdine University School of Law.
Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Two American Muslim professors have been targeted by ISIS for criticizing the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has redoubled efforts to criminalize expressions of “Islamophobia” in Western nations. The most recent Intelligence Squared debate revealed heightened concern about restrictive speech codes on American campuses (e.g., the blacklisting of distinguished speakers who are labeled controversial by some people). What speech is, and what speech should be, protected in these and other contexts?
- Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Founder and President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
- Nina Shea, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
- Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law