Tag: Executive Order

Catesby Leigh joins Seth Barron to discuss President Trump’s draft executive order to give priority to classical-style architecture in the design of federal courthouses, agency headquarters, and other federal office buildings.

The classical style has inspired the most revered and popular buildings in the country—the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court. But as Leigh reports, new federal rules after World War II enabled modernist styles of design, such as Brutalism and Deconstructivism, to set the tone for federal architecture. If adopted, the Trump administration’s order would designate the classical and other traditional architectural styles as “preferred” for all federal buildings.

Make Architecture Great Again


The brutalist J. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, DC, built in the 1960s.

Donald Trump is finally courting my vote. His administration has leaked a draft executive order concerning the design of federal buildings. The Washington Examiner reports:

The Trump administration may be crafting an executive order that would require all new federal buildings to be designed with a classical appearance. The Architectural Record claims to have obtained a copy of the order, ‘Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again.’ According to the report, the order makes reference to the architectural taste of the Founding Fathers, who styled buildings from ‘democratic Athens’ and ‘republican Rome.’ The order critiques modern architecture under the General Service Administration’s ‘Design Excellence Program’ for failing to integrate ‘national values into federal buildings.’ It claims the quality of architecture produced in the modern era is ‘influenced by Brutalism and Deconstructivism.’

Let the Sun Shine In


As Mark Davis says “Trump makes everyone better.” President Trump just issued an executive order linking federal grants to real protection of free speech on college and university campuses. Unlike Obama administration “Dear Colleague letters,” this will be a publicly taken presidential action, with clear political accountability. This move suggests two other actions the president can and should take, in short order.

Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities

Issued on 21 March 2019, this executive order addresses the importance of free and open debate and the outrageous cost, with subsequent debt burden, of higher education.

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.

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Everyone has been so busy since last night, I guess we all forgot to post the very important news, so I’ll get it posted here. One bit of news before I start: The Supreme Court has canceled (or whatever they call it) discussion of the “Travel Ban” (as the left calls it) because the following […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the Trump administration’s new executive order temporarily banning travel from six nations with major terrorism problems.  They also react to North Korea announcing its latest missile tests were designed to strike U.S. bases in Japan.  And they slam teachers in Alexandria, Virginia, for forcing the cancellation of school because 300 of them plan to attend the anti-Trump women’s march.

Trump’s New Travel Ban on Firmer Legal Footing


I think Trump’s new immigration order will withstand judicial scrutiny. Because it grants admission to all existing visa holders and permanent resident aliens, it is difficult to see who has standing to challenge this order — notwithstanding the Ninth Circuit’s made-up notion that the State of Washington could represent all aliens in the world who wanted to visit the United States. Aliens outside our territory with no pre-existing connection to the US do not have rights under the Constitution that can be recognized in court.

This time, the order explicitly relies on the findings of the last administration and the agencies that the six nations in question are state sponsors of terrorism or are countries where terrorist activity are matters of high concern. The editing out of special exceptions for Christian minorities undermines criticism that this order arises from anti-religion bias. It will be much harder to show connections between anti-Muslim statements made during the campaign and the motives behind this order, which the courts might not wish to examine any way.

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President Trump, with Secretary Scott Pruitt at his shoulder, signed an executive order “directing the EPA to take action paving the way for the elimination of this very destructive and horrible rule.” WOTUS, the rule in question, is the power grab by the EPA to expand the “navigable rivers” aspect of the Clean Water Act […]

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A Further Qualified Defense of the Ninth Circuit Attack on Trump’s Executive Immigration Order


My recent post on Ricochet took the position that the Ninth Circuit was correct when it set aside Trump’s controversial executive orders on legal permanent aliens and refugees and asked the Trump administration to reexamine the result. Most people in dealing with this order claim that it went too far because it did not accept the President’s position that the order was wholly unreviewable, regardless of its content, which was viewed as self-evidently correct by some and wholly outside the bounds of decency by others. Indeed, many of the comments on Ricochet took the former position by arguing that Presidents should follow the lead of Andrew Jackson and tell the Court to enforce its own order. But it is, as other readers noted, a wild overreaction to a particular dispute to throw out a set of institutional arrangements that have by and large served the United States well for over 200 years.

I put these grander objections aside, therefore, to look at two more fine-grained challenges. I start by noting that in making this decision, the Ninth Circuit was right to avoid grappling on a thin record with claims that both the Establishment and Free Exercise Clause applied to the particular case. That analysis would have been a major transformation of American law that could quite literally upset established practices on allocating scarce immigration slots on the basis of national origin. It also allowed the Court to side step the very tricky question of the extent to which alien claims generated some positive right to become an immigrant. I regard these claims when stated in their general form to be wholly unsupportable. In general, the power of every nation to protect its own borders means that no outsider has a categorical right to enter this country but must allowed to apply before entry.

With all that said, the actual issues presented in this case were of narrower bore, dealing with standing on the one hand, and the relationship of this order to the President’s statutory authority to make unreviewable executive orders on the other. Both these points require further attention. Both of these issues are addressed in a serious and professional manner by David Rivkin and Lee Casey in the Wall Street Journal, and by Michael McConnell on Defining Ideas. I cannot address all of their points here. But I do hope to explain why the contrary view that I expressed survives their criticism.

It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It


On Feb. 9, 1950, at a speech before the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, WV, Sen. Joe McCarthy brandished a piece of paper. “I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.” But McCarthy never released the names he supposedly had, and changed his story in the days and weeks that followed about exactly how many known communists there were in the State Department. McCarthy’s irresponsible grandstanding eventually got him censured by the Senate and contributed tremendously to discrediting the whole cause of anti-communism.

Though most textbooks gloss over this part in a rush to condemn the “witch hunt” era of McCarthyism, the truth is that there were communists in the US government, and they were a serious threat. McCarthy didn’t have the names, but thanks in part to the Venona Papers (the intercepted Soviet cables declassified after the collapse of the USSR), we do. There was Harry Dexter White, a top Treasury Department official, Lawrence Duggan, head of the South American desk at the State Department, Theodore Alvin Hall, who worked on the Manhattan Project, Julius Rosenberg, an Army Signal Corps civilian employee, and Alger Hiss, a high-ranking State Department official, among many others.

The parallel to our times is the Islamist threat. President Trump is right that we face a threat from Islamists. He is right that careful vetting of immigrants, including refugees, is necessary in light of that danger. The worry is that his ham-fisted approach to a delicate problem may wind up discrediting the effort to vet immigrants, alienate our friends in the Muslim world, and empower the self-righteous left.

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I hope no one needs a drug approved by the FDA, a grazing permit from the BLM or a private letter ruling from the IRS. Because the Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs will prevent this until the agencies can find two offsetting regulations to rescind. You see, the Order defines a “regulation or […]

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Trump’s Immigration Insanity


In the past week, President Donald Trump issued three Executive Orders (EOs) dealing with the status of immigrants and refugees in the United States. The first EO announced that it will deny federal funding to any sanctuary city, or city that refuses to cooperate in the deportation of illegal immigrants in the United States. The second EO declared the intention to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants from Mexico from coming into the United States. The third EO has three components: The first part bars indefinitely all Syrian refugees from entering the United States; the second suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days; the third blocks citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, whether refugees or not, from entering this country for a period of 90 days. Parts of this order will remain in place until the government devises, in Trump’s own words, a program of “extreme vetting” of immigrants.

Of these, the ill-timed and stealth immigration and refugee order is by far the worst because it was imposed immediately, without warning or consultation, and hits hard at people who happen to be abroad—although now it appears, after some confusion, that the order does not apply to permanent residents, who may face extra scrutiny at airports, but are not categorically barred. Nonetheless the stories are legion of “scientists, business travelers and grandmothers” held in limbo by the new rules. The dislocations have prompted a massive outcry, not only from progressives, but also from classical liberals like myself who think of themselves as part of the loyal opposition. Indeed, the refugee and immigration order has already given rise to a class action challenge to the law, and to a decision by Judge Ann Donnelly of New York that blocked, at least temporarily, U.S. immigration authorities from forcing incoming refugees back home on the ground that deportation would cause them irreparable injury. At this writing, similar orders have been issued in Boston, Seattle, and Virginia. President Trump, largely oblivious to the chaos and protests, observes that the ban was “working out very nicely,” but “it’s not a Muslim ban.”

Clearly, Trump’s inflammatory campaign rhetoric was not for show. For better or worse, the president meant every word he said, and therein lies the source of the problem. The ostensible justification for these orders is the promotion of national security, an end whose legitimacy no sane person would dispute. But the question is—what means should be used to achieve that end? As is the case of all government actions under conditions of uncertainty, it is necessary to balance the risks of two kinds of error. The first facilitates the entry of people into the United States who ought not to be here. The second excludes entry from the United States of people who should be here. The president is right to note the high stakes of any terrorist attack. But he shows his blindness by trying to keep out people who should, by any standard of moral decency or economic self-interest, be allowed in. In my view, the obvious danger in these situations is transient gains at unacceptable political, moral, and social costs.

Update on the Immigration Executive Order


As reported in the WSJ, this weekend proved to be a legal chaos for people attempting to enter the United States who are citizens of the seven countries named in President Donald Trump’s executive order:

Over the weekend, federal judges in three states issued separate rulings that blocked the deportation of those detained at airports. But the rulings differed. The Brooklyn judge issued a nationwide injunction on deportations but stopped short of allowing the travelers into the country and didn’t address the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s measures. A Boston judge said officials at Logan International Airport could not detain those with valid visas. That prompted lawyers to advise green-card holders to reroute their trips so they enter the U.S. in Boston.

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With a lame duck Presidency, even less accountability on him, and the corrupt media more than happy to cover for him, Obama can do a lot of harm. Once again we have let him down and we don’t deserve him. So he will need to teach us a lesson (for our own good). By his own words […]

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The president’s targeting (and that of the left in general) of people with “mental health” issues on gun control puts our veterans squarely in the crosshairs, if you’ll pardon the pun. What is the fate of a vet who saw a mental health provider for a few months after coming home, in order to square […]

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