According to the New York Times, it is unlikely that federal prosecutors will bring any other charges related to the “hush money” paid by President Trump to conceal his affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

That’s the right call. Indeed, as I’ve written before, prosecutors never should have filed charges against Trump lawyer Michael Cohen over the payments.

Continue Reading Time to End the Trump Hush Money Investigations

In siding with President Trump in a lawsuit over his financial conflicts of interest, a federal court of appeals invoked a controversial legal principle that undermines the judiciary’s checking and balancing role. According to the court, Maryland and the District of Columbia lacked “standing” to sue the President. The court therefore dismissed the suit, without deciding whether the President was breaking the law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has invoked the standing doctrine many times to block the public from holding Presidents and other government officials accountable for their actions.

Continue Reading Judicial Abdication and the Imperial Presidency

After reading the Declaration of Independence, it is easy to wonder why the Founding Fathers gave us an imperial presidency. The Declara­tion documents no fewer than twenty-seven grievances about King George III’s abuse of power. But the Constitution was written more than a decade later after an unhappy experience with state constitutions that had severely restricted executive authority and greatly expanded legisla­tive authority. Continue Reading Independence Day and the Imperial Presidency

Pundits have been quick to identify winners and losers from last night’s debate. There are, of course, many problems with such commentary. We know which teams win soccer matches because they score more goals, and we generally know which candidates win elections because they receive more votes, but we have no similar objective measure for debates. Continue Reading Winner and Losers at the Democratic Debate

In deciding to preserve its “non-delegation” doctrine last week in the Gundy case, the Supreme Court seemingly avoided a serious disruption in government operations. But the Court’s adherence to that doctrine rests on myth more than reality.

Continue Reading The Supreme Court’s Executive Power Myth

Today’s New York Times reports that another member of Congress, Katie Porter (D-CA), has called for impeachment, citing the “constitutional crisis” provoked by President Donald Trump. According to Porter, echoing statements made by Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and other members of Congress, we have a crisis because of Trump’s misconduct, especially his failure to comply with congressional requests for documents and other information.

At some point, Trump’s disregard of the law may amount to a constitutional crisis, but we’re not there yet. In fact, with respect to the requests for information, the President is acting in many ways as the Founding Fathers expected.

Continue Reading Constitutional Crisis—Not

Observers are correct to condemn both Russian efforts to influence our presidential elections and President Trump’s failure to reject those efforts. But it is wrong to suggest that all efforts by foreign governments to influence our elections are improper. The question is not whether other countries are trying to exert influence, but whether they are doing so by legitimate means.

Continue Reading Presidential Elections and Foreign Influence–Not Always Improper

Punitive tariffs, arms sales, border wall funding, and more. Donald Trump regularly finds ways to pursue his policy preferences over the clear opposition of Congress. This is especially troubling since decisions on these matters are properly within the constitutional authority of the legislative branch.

As many political observers have observed, Congress has abdicated its policy making responsibilities by delegating immense amounts of power to the executive branch, and it needs to assert its authority and live up to its constitutional role. But while it is correct to promote a return to core constitutional values, we cannot rely on the virtue of our elected officials to do the right thing. Congress has defaulted on his constitutional duties for more than a century; there is no reason to think it will change. Indeed, our Constitution is premised on that reality.

Continue Reading President Trump, Congress, and Checks and Balances

After the Democratic National Committee (DNC) provoked criticism by favoring Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, you’d think it would have learned its lesson about trying to game the nominating process. Apparently not. The DNC has issued eligibility criteria for its presidential candidate debates that threaten to quickly winnow the field—nearly five months before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

Continue Reading Pulling Too Many Strings at the Democratic Party