The use of eminent domain to condemn property for pipelines has become an increasingly controversial practice. Critics claim that it undermines private property rights and causes environmental damage. Defenders argue it is essential to enable effective exploitation of the nation's energy resources. In recent months, Georgia and South Carolina have passed new legislation limiting pipeline condemnations, an effort backed by a coalition of conservative property rights advocates and left of center environmentalists. Similar reforms have been proposed in many other states. This forum will examine the growing controversy over pipeline takings.
Prof. Alexandra Klass, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, University of Minnesota Law School
Prof. Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
In April, the mortgage lender PHH Corporation challenged the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) after being ordered by the CFPB to disgorge $109 million. PHH challenged the bureau’s legitimacy under Article II, and cited Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board as relevant precedent, because PCA officers could be removed for cause, and then, only by officers of the SEC. Meanwhile, the CFPB cited Humphrey’s Executor v. United States, in which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which allowed the president to remove an FTC commissioner only for cause. Professor Peter Conti-Brown of The Wharton School and Gregory Jacob, partner at O'Melveny & Myers LLP joined us to discuss the CFPB and the constitutionality of other independent agencies like it.
Mr. Peter Conti-Brown, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School
Mr. Gregory F. Jacob, Gregory F. Jacob Partner, O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Mr. Gregory S. Baylor of Alliance Defending Freedom discussed current and future challenges to the religious freedom of faith-based institutions of higher education, with a special focus on the ongoing debate over California Senate Bill 1146. Earlier versions of SB1146 would have significantly curtailed longstanding religious freedom protections in state anti-discrimination law, thereby exposing faith-based schools to liability for discrimination on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity in student and employee relations. The bill's prime sponsor recently removed its most controversial provisions, but he indicated that a similar bill may be proposed in the next legislative session.
Mr. Gregory S. Baylor, Senior Counsel & Director of the Center for Religious Schools, Alliance Defending Freedom
General Michael V. Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, and retired United States Air Force four-star general, joined us to discuss his new book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, his memoir as a career intelligence officer and leader. Though the book covers the arc of his entire professional life, our Teleforum focuses primarily on the cyber world, which General Hayden describes as “a domain of conflict and cooperation whose importance seems to grow by the hour” couched “in an era of shrinking trust in government and expanding global threats."
General Michael V. Hayden Principal, The Chertoff Group, Former NSA and CIA Director
Moderator: Prof. Jamil N. Jaffer, Adjunct Professor and Director, Homeland and National Security Law Program
On April 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. In 2012, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission redrew the map for the state legislative districts based on the results of the 2010 census. Wesley Harris and other individual voters sued the Commission and alleged that the newly redrawn districts were underpopulated in Democratic-leaning districts and over-populated in Republican-leaning ones and that the Commission had, therefore, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Commission countered that the population deviations were the result of attempts to comply with the Voting Rights Act. A three-judge district court ruled in favor of the Commission.
On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court by a vote of 8-0. Justice Breyer delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, which held that the federal district court did not err in upholding Arizona's redistricting plan. The challengers failed to demonstrate, the Court explained, that illegitimate considerations more likely than not were the predominant motivation for the plan's population deviations.
To discuss the case, we have Mark F. “Thor” Hearne, II, who is Partner at Arent Fox LLP.