On March 25, 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency. The case is comprised of three consolidated petitions, one from a group of 21 states, one from the trade group for electrical power plants, and one from the trade group for suppliers of coal to these plants. The Court will answer “Whether the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably refused to consider costs in determining whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities.”
Prof. Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
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
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
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
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