Tag: Constitutional Law

Richard Epstein responds to the controversy over an Obama-era policy allowing children brought to the U.S. Illegally to stay in the country and explains why America should embrace a more liberal immigration policy but reject open borders.

Richard Epstein traces the origins and evolution of his libertarian thinking over a half-century in the spotlight.

Richard Epstein explores the history of the president’s pardon power and examines whether former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a worthy recipient of executive mercy.

Richard Epstein examines the most recent legal questions to emerge from the Trump White House: Could the president pardon himself? Was Jeff Sessions right to recuse himself from the Russia investigation? And could Donald Trump remove Robert Mueller as special counsel?

Richard Epstein looks at a recent Supreme Court ruling that could have major implications for when and how religious institutions can access public money.

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.

Richard Epstein weighs in on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and explains what makes an effective justice.

Richard Epstein examines efforts by the new Republican Congress to restrict the power of federal regulators, and explains the history of how unelected administrators came to hold so much political power.

Richard Epstein explains why both the legal and policy complexities of immigration make the issue more difficult to tackle than most pundits imagine.

Richard Epstein shares his reaction on learning that Donald Trump will be the 45th president and provides recommendations for the new administration’s policy agenda.

Richard Epstein weighs the dangers of a Donald Trump presidency against those that would attend a Hillary Clinton Administration.

Richard Epstein considers the arguments for and against the Electoral College, describes how the process of choosing a president has changed over the years, and provides prescriptions for electoral reform.

Richard Epstein looks at the uses and abuses of the Martin Act, a New York law that has given activist attorneys general a free pass to persecute their political opponents.

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I’m aware this post is not as timely as it would have been last November, but I’m eager to hear the Ricochet community’s thoughts. Last November, a few campus rabble rousers across the country delivered a wakeup call: institutions of higher learning are not doing enough to atone for the largely racial sins of the […]

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Some of us at Ricochet (including me) have criticized Will in the past.  But in “The Constitution Is Clear: Congress Should Legislate, Not the Administrative State,” George Will gets it right.  He’s writing on the delegation of legislative power from Congress to the executive branch, endorsing important critiques of that delegation from Clarence Thomas and […]

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The Libertarian Podcast, with Richard Epstein: “One Man, One Vote”


For more than 50 years, redistricting exercises have been guided by the principle of “One Man, One Vote,” the notion that legislative districts must be roughly equal in population. Now, however, the Supreme Court is being called upon to clarify that standard. Is it an equal population of residents? An equal population of eligible voters? Should non-citizens or children count? Are some voters having their influence inappropriately diluted relative to people in districts with high levels of ineligible voters? We tackle the history of this controversy and the newest developments in this week’s edition of The Libertarian, which you can listen to below or by subscribing to the show via iTunes.

The Libertarian Podcast, with Richard Epstein: “The Uses and Abuses of the Clean Water Act”


I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve just read this terrific Richard Epstein post on the Clean Water Act (see below), but where I can get some sweet Epstein environmental protection podcast action?” Well, friends, look no further. In this episode of The Libertarian podcast we endeavor to give a layman’s explanation of the Clean Water Act and explain how a well-intended law has obstructed genuine environmental protection while snagging innocent landowners in a needless regulatory morass. Listen in below or subscribe to The Libertarian podcast via iTunes so that you never miss an episode.

When Environmental Protection Laws Enable Pollution


shutterstock_258860813Shortly after my piece “Filtering the Clean Water Act” went up at Hoover’s Defining Ideas, I got an email from Eric Wolinsky, who asked this question:

Lake Champlain has a significant pollution problem caused in large part by runoff from agricultural fields. The current rules require a buffer between crop land and ‘waterways.’ The problem is that there are no required buffers between cropland and ditches that don’t meet the definition of ‘waterways.’ During rains, the runoff enters the ditches, [and then] travels to the ‘waterways’ and on to Lake Champlain. The waterways are buffered, but the ditches are not. The runoff gets to the lake just as if the buffers on the waterways weren’t there.

How do you regulate this situation without expanding the definition of waterways?

How the Clean Water Act Went Off the Rails


shutterstock_121109029Late last month, a federal district judge in North Dakota took the rare step of questioning the scope of the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, holding up a new agency rule that includes a capacious definition of the “waters of the United States.” As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas, we wouldn’t be in this mess were it not for a long string of judicial decisions that have consistently increased the EPA’s authority and muddled the legal landscape:

… The massive nature of this new regulation is made plain in the introductory paragraph of Justice Antonin Scalia’s 2006 plurality opinion in Rapanos v. United States:

“In April 1989, petitioner John A. Rapanos backfilled wetlands on a parcel of land in Michigan that he owned and sought to develop. This parcel included 54 acres of land with sometimes-saturated soil conditions. The nearest body of navigable water was 11 to 20 miles away. Regulators had informed Mr. Rapanos that his saturated fields were “waters of the United States,” that could not be filled without a permit. Twelve years of criminal and civil litigation ensued.”

Uncommon Knowledge: Hewitt and Yoo on the Constitution


In the newest episode of Uncommon Knowledge, I sit across the table from two extraordinarily gifted legal minds, both of whom served at the highest levels of government before their departure for the academy: Chapman law professor and nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt and UC Berkeley’s John Yoo. This conversation was recorded in the spring, and intervening events have in some sense made the professors’ predictions about the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling and the nuclear deal with Iran all the more interesting. Have a look below: