Public Union Constitutionality: Returning Government Accountability to the People

Joe Selvaggi talks with Philip K. Howard about the legal theories in his newly released book Not Accountable: Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Employee Unions which questions whether the structure of public employees unions frustrates the will of the people, and cedes the responsibility of elected officials to an unelected and unaccountable privileged class.


Philip K. Howard is a leader of government and legal reform in America. He is Chair of Common Good and bestselling author, and has advised both parties on needed reforms. In his book, Not Accountable (Rodin Books, 2023), he argues that public employee unions undermine democratic governance and should be unconstitutional.

Philip is the author of the bestseller The Death of Common Sense (Random House, 1995), The Collapse of the Common Good (Ballantine Books, 2002), Life Without Lawyers (W.W. Norton, 2009), The Rule of Nobody (W.W. Norton, 2014), and Try Common Sense (W.W. Norton, 2019). His commentaries are published frequently in major media outlets.

In 2002, Philip formed Common Good, a nonpartisan coalition dedicated to simplifying laws so that Americans can use common sense in daily choices. His 2010 TED Talk has been viewed by more than 750,000 people. His 2015 report, “Two Years, Not Ten Years,” exposed the economic and environmental costs of delayed infrastructure approvals, and its proposals have since been incorporated into federal law. Philip has appeared often on television and radio, including several times on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.”

The son of a minister, Philip got his start working summers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner. He has been active in public affairs his entire adult life. He is Senior Counsel at the law firm Covington & Burling, LLP. A graduate of Yale College and the University of Virginia Law School.

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