For civil libertarians, the administration of President Barack Obama fallen well short of the great expectations from his first election. Indeed, despite his high polling numbers with liberals, President Obama has left one of the worst records of modern presidents in areas like privacy, press freedom, transparency, and unilateral executive action. The antagonistic position of the Obama Administration with the media was evident in this year’s ranking by Reporters Without Borders. The U.S. is ranked 41 out of 180 countries in term of the “level of freedom of information in 180 countries.”
I am not sure how my testimony went over with the Senators, but I am claiming the support of one familiar face. I found George waiting for me outside of the Dirksen Senate Office Building after the hearing. As a GW professor, this can only be viewed as a good omen. He no doubt wanted to remind the Congress that GW (as opposed to that other local institution) is the only school that was founded on a charter paid for by our first president. George made no comment on the Administrative State but his appearance (in my view) spoke volumes. Sure, Bernie Sanders has that bird that landed on the podium, but I had the ultimate Founding Father appear after testifying on the need to remain faithful to their original constitutional design.
I will be testifying this morning at 10 am before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building . The hearing, entitled “The Administrative State: An Examination of Federal Rulemaking” will look at the role of agencies in rulemaking in the federal system.
While the level of protection afforded Saudi Arabia in Washington is hardly a secret, the level of that support was on display this month when officials pushed the Obama Administration to release long-withheld pages from the 9-11 report, as we previously discussed. Those pages reportedly implicate Saudi Arabia in the 9-11 attacks. Saudi Arabia response with an express threat to sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of assets if Congress were to pass a bill allowing the Kingdom to be held liable for the attacks. One would think that the response would be outrage at the threat. After all, the bill would only allow citizens to sue and a bipartisan group of Senators have joined to support the 9-11 families. Saudi Arabia could still defend itself (and according to its government, vindicate itself) in a court of law. Of course, the United States has a real court system as opposed to the government controlled, Sharia “courts” used in the Kingdom to mete out medieval justice.
We have been discussing the rising outcry about passengers at the continually shrinking legroom and comfort on airplanes, including storing passengers in what was previously luggage space. Those complaints led to a federal amendment seeking to establish minimum standards for passenger comfort. The airline lobby put on a full-court press to stop the measure and it failed 42-54. Notably, no one actually spoke against the proposal before it was voted down.
President Barack Obama today surprised many by nominating the moderate Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Merrick Garland. Garland is unlikely to thrill liberals. He is fairly conservative on criminal cases and tends to favor government interests. Conservatives are not going to like his vote to move to reconsider the case that became the historic Heller decision that recognized the individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. However, Garland moves virtually everything off the table for the Republicans. While a moderate, he is as far right as a Democratic president could go.
I will be testifying Tuesday afternoon before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law of the Committee on the Judiciary
in the United States House of Representatives. The hearing is entitled “The Chevron Doctrine: Constitutional and Statutory Questions in Judicial Deference to Agencies”. The hearing will be held in Room 2141 (Rayburn House Office Building) and begin at 1:30 PM. My written testimony is below