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Pack a lunch because this is the longest session we’ve ever held in the faculty lounge. In the final Law Talk of the Trump Administration, we break down all the events of the last week: Congress’s attempt to stymie the tallying of the electoral vote, the role of the Vice President, whether President Trump should be removed from office, a seeming breakdown in the chain of command, and a reaction to the president’s attempt to pressure Georgia’s Secretary of State. Then it’s on to the incoming Biden Administration, as the professors react to Merrick Garland’s nomination to be Attorney General, the push for statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., and the prospect of Justice Breyer’s retirement from the Supreme Court. Then we cap it all off with the professors’ final judgments on the Trump Administration. All that, plus breaking news from Twitter and McDonald’s and … less-than-breaking news from the annals of Roman Law.
Richard Epstein analyzes the dramatic events of the last week through a legal prism: Did Congress really have the power to object to the electoral vote? Should President Trump be removed from office in light of the assault on the capitol? Does the prospect of President Trump pardoning himself call into question the breadth of the pardon power? Plus, a look back at the consequences of the 2016 Presidential election in which Professor Epstein finds himself in the rare position of finding a question too difficult to answer.
The faculty lounge has reopened for its holiday party, but there’s still plenty of business to dispense with. On this final installment of 2020, Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo are tackling a stocking full of issues: Does a suit from the Texas Attorney General stand any chance of being the Hail Mary that the Trump campaign needs? Can the courts rein in the Michael Flynn pardon? Who’s the least menacing candidate to be Joe Biden’s Attorney General? Does the Supreme Court’s smackdown of Andrew Cuomo represent a turning point on COVID restrictions? Will the justices save President Trump’s plan to exclude illegal immigrants from the census? Has the era of government by executive order gone too far? And finally, how, is it possible that Gavin Newsom can unilaterally end the automobile as we know it in California?
Richard Epstein analyzes the major legal plot lines attending the presidential transition: The Trump campaign’s frantic efforts to keep the president’s prospects alive in court, the possibility of a raft of last-minute presidential pardons, and the decision by Attorney General William Barr to transform U.S. Attorney John Durham — currently investigating the origins of the Russia probe — into a special counsel.
It’s a Thanksgiving feast of legal analysis in the faculty lounge (don’t worry, the profs issue opinions on the best side dishes for your holiday meal), as Richard Epstein & John Yoo convene for their first post-election session. On the menu: Do any of President Trump’s legal challenges to the outcome of the election have a chance in court? Are attempts to get state legislatures to change their electoral votes constitutional? Would a president Joe Biden actually have the power to issue a national mask mandate? Will increasingly restrictive COVID rules at the state level withstand scrutiny by the courts? Was Justice Alito out of line to issue politically-charged remarks at the Federalist Society convention? And finally, the question of the hour: does President Trump have the power to pardon himself?
It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire, as professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo take us from the just-concluded drama of the Amy Coney Barrett hearings to the just-emerging drama over the Supreme Court’s role in the 2020 election. Along the way they consider how seriously we should take the court-packing threat; whether super-precedents are actually a thing; if Roe v. Wade and the ACA are actually in danger with a Justice Barrett on the court; and what the newest Supreme Court justice’s judicial blindspot is most likely to be. Then it’s on to the Supreme Court’s unpredictable role in the 2020 presidential election. Will Chief Justice Roberts surprise us all again? Do any of the lessons of Bush v. Gore apply this year? And does ACB have a duty to recuse herself? Come for the top-shelf legal analysis, stay for Professor Epstein posing a grammar brainteaser for the ages.
Richard Epstein looks at the Supreme Court’s pre-election decisions on state voting procedures, considers the likelihood that the ultimate outcome of the race will come down to a Supreme Court decision, and responds to the argument that Amy Coney Barrett should recuse herself from any such cases.