We are honoring William “Bill” Colwell with a teleforum on a topic we know he would love – the President’s power to approve – and revoke – security clearances. We will discuss recent media accounts of the President reportedly ordering the revocation of clearances of former government officials and insisting on other clearances being granted over the objections of senior government personnel. We will also – in true Federalist fashion – examine the historical wellsprings of each branch of government’s power to act within this realm. It is time to take a closer look at whether there are any practical limits on the Executive’s discretion, and whether Congress can and should play a stronger role.

Bill Colwell was a great patriot and friend to many of us in the Federalist Society, and a pillar within the Washington D.C. legal community, but his appeal was by no means limited to one side of the aisle or to people with whom he agreed. As one recent description phrased it, Bill was “a beautiful mind of insatiable curiosity and creativity, a comedian who made us laugh until tears rolled down our faces, chef and mixologist par excellence.” Bill, a devoted and loving husband and father, was a man of great faith. Bill was Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Director of the Northrop Grumman Corporation. Prior to that, he was employed at The Boeing Company and Wiley, Rein & Fielding LLP. He served in the United States Navy as a nuclear submarine officer on the USS Hampton, where he received numerous awards. A nationally recognized expert in government contracts, Bill frequently spoke and published on procurement issues. He served on the Board of the Federal Circuit Bar Association, chaired the Legal Committee of the National Defense Industrial Association, and recently received the 2018 NDIA Howard H. Cork Memorial Award for exceptional service to NDIA and the defense industry. But beyond all professional interests, Bill loved his family and is mourned by his wife, Robin, their twin daughters and their extended families.

Opening Remarks: Paul Khoury, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
Prof. Dakota S. Rudesill, Assistant Professor, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University.
Prof. Robert F. Turner, Professor, General Faculty, and Distinguished Fellow and Associate Director, Center for National Security Law, University of Virginia
Moderator: Hartmann Young, Senior Counsel, Government Business, GE Aviation

Teleforum calls are open to all dues paying members of the Federalist Society. To become a member, sign up on our website. As a member, you should receive email announcements of upcoming Teleforum calls which contain the conference call phone number. If you are not receiving those email announcements, please contact us at 202-822-8138.

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  1. colleenb Member
    colleenbJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Interesting subject. Since I am not a professor of Constitutional Law (unlike certain former presidents of the United States), it was a little hard to follow in some places. I think I lean more toward Professor Turner’s arguments than Professor Rudesill’s but that’s probably because (1) my son and daughter-in-law went to UVa and (2) I just don’t completely trust people with names like Dakota. Remember when we were going to have a Bambi on the Supreme Court?? Ok this makes me sound like an old lady but then that’s what I am.

    • #1
    • April 23, 2019, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like