Tag: Administrative State

Administrative State Scolds Biden for Not Obeying Them


It’s not as if Biden isn’t under relentless pressure to pretend that he is supporting Israel during its devastating war. But now 400 staffers from our Administrative State have the chutzpah to dictate to Biden the demands he must make upon Israel. These “brave souls” signed the letter anonymously:

The letter cites popular American support for a cease-fire, and calls on Biden to ‘urgently demand a cease-fire; and to call for de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of the Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians; the restoration of water, fuel, electricity and other basic services; and the passage of adequate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.’

Eisenhower’s Twin Warnings: Fresh as Today’s Headlines


I like Ike buttonWe live in a moment when both military and civilian “servants” act as masters of us all. President Eisenhower saw this threat clearly 60 years ago but was ignored by both left and right and by both major political parties. According to the presidential archives, Eisenhower conceived his farewell address as a short speech, about 10 minutes long. When he delivered it on television, on Jan. 17, 1961, it took 15 minutes. In 1960, 87% of American households had a television set, so this was experienced as a live address in people’s living rooms. The whole address is worth reading and watching. Sadly, even in the first years after President Eisenhower’s remarks, his memorable phrase “military-industrial complex” swallowed up attention to the other equal danger of which he warned: a civilian technical elite intertwined with government.

Here is President Eisenhower’s farewell address, as delivered. The transcript to the press did not capture Eisenhower’s changes, so I added in his handwritten changes, using italics, and struck through any words he struck through. Square brackets set off my brief remarks and the core of the speech, where the two great threats are identified and explained. The underlined words are original to Eisenhower’s reading copy. The documents are available online at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.

Anti-Tobacco Fanatics Lie like a Cheap Rug


Yes. They lie. Their lies, coming from allegedly left and right (social conservative) positions, are swathed in “good intentions” and focus on “the children.” Yet, any citizen, any member of Congress, any judge, Article II or Article III, and any president who has merely been alert to their environment as they walked past, at least, a hotel bar, knows the basic claim is a flat-out lie. Why? See for yourself:

On October 4, 2019, the Gray Center co-hosted “The Administration of Democracy⏤The George Mason Law Review’s Second Annual Symposium on Administrative Law.” For the second annual symposium, scholars wrote papers on such fundamental questions as: Is nonpartisan campaign-finance regulation possible? Who should draw electoral maps—and how? How can we best protect voting rights? How should the census be administered? How do we preserve the regulatory process’s democratic legitimacy? And, are members of Congress entitled to see the President’s tax returns? These papers are forthcoming in the George Mason Law Review. In addition, the event featured a Keynote Conversation with two former public servants with deep expertise in both governance and campaigns: Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel to President Obama, and Donald McGahn, former White House Counsel to President Trump.

The keynote conversation featured Bauer, now at NYU Law School, and McGahn, currently a Partner at Jones Day, discussing the current state of political campaigns and elections, and whether reforms are needed. This session was moderated by the Gray Center’s Executive Director, Adam White. The video is available at http://administrativestate.gmu.edu/events/the-administration-of-democracy-the-george-mason-law-reviews-second-annual-symposium-on-administrative-law/.

Draining the Swamp: An Impossible Task?


The administrative state, also known as the Deep State and The Swamp, has been with us for a long time. Recently, however, I heard Professor John Marini talk about his work in “unmasking” the administrative state and I realized the future of the Republic is precarious, if not endangered. I learned about his work when he appeared on Mark Levin’s Sunday night Fox News show, Life, Liberty & Levin.

Professor Marini is one of the few writers who talk about the attack on our constitutional system by the workings of the administrative state:

Blooming Idiots or Bureaucratic Blight?


There is nothing inevitable about the trajectory of a nation or a business enterprise. While we may perceive patterns, these arise from human nature at the mean. Yet, we see moments when individuals and relatively small groups make a real difference for some time. Consider two instances of business enterprises seeming to go badly wrong, and ask if blooming idiots or bureaucratic blight are to blame.

Cadillac: an instance of automotive industry decline?

Brett Kavanaugh Vs The Administrative State


President Trump may like to spring a surprise on the news media, but with his announcement Monday night for the Supreme Court he went with the safe choice.

His pick of Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge in Washington, may have run counter to his instincts against picking inhabitants of the D.C. swamp, or those with deep connections to the Bush administration. But in elevating his reason over his impulses, Trump has picked a nominee who will work to limit the great threat to individual liberty today: the administrative state.

Deep Dive on the Declaration of Independence and Its Relevance Today


In honor of Independence Day, for this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast I take a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, discussing:

  • Its unique place in human history and the cause of freedom
  • The link between natural law and natural rights, faith and freedom
  • The Founders’ emphasis on virtue and morality to sustain a free system of limited government
  • Parallels between the charges laid out against King George III in the Declaration and modern America from the administrative state to sanctuary cities
  • The Founders’ views on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and failing to live up to the values and principles of the Declaration
  • The imperative to defend liberty against tyranny
  • And much more

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

Richard Epstein reacts to the news that Anthony Kennedy is retiring from the Supreme Court, speculates on his possible replacements, and explains the potential implications for constitutional law.

Richard Epstein describes a potentially groundbreaking healthcare case out of Idaho, where insurers are looking to give consumers more options than are currently allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

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The Department of Justice sent a letter to House Intelligence Chairman Nunes seeking to stop the Republican majority from voting to forward their four page memorandum on FBI and DOJ misconduct to President Trump for his declassification approval. The reason given was threats to national security through declassification of the memorandum. This is the latest […]

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Adam J. White joins Brian Anderson to discuss the “administrative state,” often described as the fourth branch of the federal government. Under the Obama administration, bureaucratic agencies were aggressively utilized to bypass congressional hostility to the progressive agenda.

In 2014, President Obama declared his “pen and phone” strategy: if the Republican-controlled Congress was unwilling to act on his priorities, he would sign executive orders directing federal agencies to enforce new rules or ignore existing ones. Environmental regulations, immigration reform, and Internet neutrality were just a few areas where the Obama administration directed agencies to make substantial policy changes.

Richard Epstein analyzes the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, compares and contrasts the judge with the late Justice Scalia, and considers the potential demise of the filibuster.

Why Brexit Is Important to Americans


brexit-logoWith all that is going on in the US, perhaps the topic of “Brexit” has escaped most people. Until the last week or so, even as an American living in Switzerland, I have to admit I didn’t find it important. But Brexit is important even to Americans. It is about what happens when an “administrative state” is in the process of becoming your unwanted master.

Brexit is the June 23 referendum to decide if the UK remains in the European Union (EU). The peoples of the 28 members of the EU are governed to a growing extent by a complex organization in Brussels that can best be described as an “administrative state.” It has evolved from the original Treaty of Rome; this formed a trading bloc called the European Economic Community (EEC). When the key members formed this bloc in the 1950s, it amounted to a group of countries that sought free trade among themselves and common tariffs with countries outside the bloc. It was simple, effective, and democratic because each member’s participation was governed by the parliaments of each member state.

The European Union has evolved into a political-economic behemoth of enormous complexity and costs, headquartered in Brussels. Because of this complexity, many here in Europe believe it represents the worst of centralized government. It is seen as largely unaccountable to the average citizens of the 28 member states, and equally leaderless, incapable of speaking in a coherent voice about issues such as the tidal wave of refugees coming out of Africa and the Middle East.

Giving Thanks For Congress


Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 12.56.48 PMEvery Thanksgiving I sympathize with lobbyists: can you imagine sharing their obligation to feel grateful for Congress? Amidst the vast, un-American growth of the administrative state, the world’s greatest deliberative body continues to do what it does best: taxing our children and passing the savings onto us.

The distinction progressives make between public and private is a false one. Many Americans know what it’s like to struggle beneath the weight of debt: not a day that goes by when my mailbox isn’t stuffed with offers from Visa or MasterCard informing me that I have been pre-declined.

Recall the heyday of the Tea Party, which relentlessly pointed out that every penny of the stimulus would have to be paid for by our children and grandchildren. Frankly, that’s the only thing I like about it. Even the New Deal wasn’t able to extend the Great Depression beyond a decade. Today, nearly one decade after the orgy of spending instituted during the George W. Bush administration, crony capitalists can say it was worth it. With each passing year, it seems government assumes more and more responsibility for our lives. Take solar subsidies — please! As Republicans and Democrats debate how much taxpayers should fund solar energy, let’s take a step back and realize that politicians have figured out a way to charge us for the sun.

HUD Makes a Further Mess Out of Housing


shutterstock_170154509Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released its final rule on “affirmatively furthering fair housing,” a regulation intended in part to advance HUD’s goal of making sure that government agencies that receive public funds take “meaningful actions” to eliminate “historic patterns of segregation, achieve truly balanced and integrated living patterns, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination.” As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas, the result is a mess:

The tedious Final Rule, which has been hailed as “historic and overdue,” is an intellectual shipwreck. Its empty and vacuous commands are incapable of rational implementation. Yet notwithstanding HUD’s pious denials, the department is sure to continue its history of contentious litigation brought to chastise and correct local governments whose actions have not met its standard. One inherent difficulty in both the previous and current versions of the Final Rule is that its objectives are often in deep conflict with one anther.

HUD gives backhanded recognition to this point when it notes: “The Fair Housing Act does not prohibit individuals from choosing where they wish to live, but it does prohibit policies and actions by covered entities and individuals that deny choice or access to housing or opportunity through the segregation of persons protected by the Fair Housing Act.” But it does not grasp the magnitude of this concession. It turns out, of course, that most individuals do not wish to live in communities that meet HUD’s sterile definitions of “truly balanced and integrated communities.” They often prefer to live with individuals with whom they share common values in neighborhoods that offer the social support and companionship that they so clearly want.