Professor Tom W. Bell, Chapman University, Fowler School of Law, participated in a Teleforum conference call on the topic, "Copyright Originalism." Professor Bell's new book, Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good, argues that copyright in the United States has mutated into something the Founders would have hardly recognized, much less approved of. He so admires their version of copyright that he convinced the Mercatus Center to publish Intellectual Privilege under what he calls the "Founders' Copyright," allowing the public to enjoy his book under terms that replicate the effect of the original Copyright Act, passed in 1790. Christopher Newman, Associate Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law, joined to offer his comments and questions.
Prof. Tom W. Bell, Professor of Law, Chapman University School of Law
Prof. Christopher Newman, Associate Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
John D. Graham, former Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), and Professor Todd J. Zywicki participated in a Teleforum conference call discussing the use of stealth regulatory tactics by federal agencies to circumvent OIRA review and rulemaking standards under the Administrative Procedures Act. Dr. Graham and Prof. Zywicki addressed the range of tactics used by agencies to bypass OIRA and APA regulatory standards, the implications of such tactics to the democratic accountability and technical competence of agencies, and options for pursuing reform. Both Speakers drew from a multi-author research collaboration organized by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and edited by Dr. Graham that was published in Volume 37, Issue 2 and the Federalist Edition, Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
Dr. John D. Graham, Dean, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and former Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (2001-2006)
Prof. Todd J. Zywicki, Foundation Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law, and Senior Scholar, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Politicized spending by the Executive Branch is of increasing interest to social science scholars, transparency advocates, and lawyers. Beginning in 2010, in response to perceived abuses, Congress instituted an earmark moratorium; however, recent research details how political influence perseveres in the merit-based allocation of taxpayer funds. Unlike federal contracts, however, limited judicial remedies exist for challenging politicization in discretionary spending. A recent piece in the Federalist Society’s Engage details how courts will generally defer to agency determinations concerning spending, thus presenting difficulties for lawyers who seek to challenge political spending decisions in the Executive Branch. Our experts discussed the extent and effect of the political influence on spending and the importance of transparency.
Cause of Action, a government accountability group, also is launching a website detailing the phenomenon of Executive Branch earmarks and the transparency problems that persist. The website is available at www.ExecutiveBranchEarmarks.com/.
Daniel Z. Epstein, Executive Director, Cause of Action
Dr. John Hudak, Fellow, Governance Studies and Managing Editor, FixGov Blog, The Brookings Institution
Professor Todd J. Zywicki joined a Teleforum conference call on his new book, Consumer Credit and the American Economy, co-authored with Thomas Durkin, Gregory Elliehausen, and Michael Staten. The book examines the economics, behavioral science, sociology, history, institutions, law, and regulation of consumer credit in the United States. Because of the importance of consumer credit in consumers' financial affairs, Professor Zywicki's intended audience includes anyone interested in these issues, not only specialists who spend much of their time focused on them. For this reason, the authors have carefully avoided academic jargon and the mathematics that is the modern language of economics. It also examines the psychological, sociological, historical, and especially legal traditions that go into fully understanding what has led to the demand for consumer credit and to what the markets and institutions that provide these products have become today. Bill Himpler, Executive Vice President at the American Financial Services Association, offered his comments and questions.
The recent indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry has garnered huge press attention. In an unusual alignment, commentators from both the left and the right have been highly critical of the indictment, with the New York Times editorial board calling it “the product of an overzealous prosecution.” But condemnation of the indictment has not been perfectly unanimous, and a few commentators have now come out in support of the indictment. We examined all the details on a Teleforum conference call.
Prof. John S. Baker, Jr., Visiting Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, and Professor Emeritus, Louisiana State University Law School