New court reforms proposed by the U.K.’s Ministry of Justice would do away with many criminal defendants’ right to cross-examine accusers before a jury. The rules provide that what are deemed “vulnerable” victims and witnesses, mostly in sex cases, will instead be allowed to undergo cross-examination recorded in advance for later play in court. [BBC] Here in the U.S., the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause might have a thing or two to say about that.
Self-recommending: Prof. Randy Barnett discusses his new book Our Republican Constitution with Trevor Burrus and Aaron Ross Powell for Cato’s Libertarianism.org (53:40).
Remember to mark your calendar for Cato’s 15th annual Constitution Day, Sept. 15, which coincides each year with the release of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Details here.
How would one go about “tyrant-proofing” the U.S. presidency, after years in which many were happy to cheer the expansion of White House power so long as the office was held by someone *they* liked? Key point in Ben Wittes’s 3-part series at Lawfare: the hardest to tyrant-proof are not the extraordinary and covert national security powers held by the chief executive, but the everyday powers over the Department of Justice and regulatory agencies [parts one, two, three].
More: Neither Donald Trump nor his progressive opponents have shown themselves loyal to the principle of the rule of law [John McGinnis, Liberty and Law] Nature of the Presidency lends itself to authoritarianism and despite retrenchment under Coolidge and Ike, that’s been the trend for a century or more [Arnold Kling] And quoting William & Mary lawprof Neal Devins: “A President Trump could say, ‘I’m going to use the Obama playbook’ and go pretty far.” [Marc Fisher, Washington Post] And: Tyler Cowen on FDR, McCarthy, the politics of the 1930s-50s, and “our authoritarians” versus “their authoritarians.”
- Ilya Shapiro on round II of Fisher v. University of Texas, the racial preferences case [Pope Center]
- “Supreme Court Endorses Tribal Courts; Bad News For Corporate Defendants?” [Daniel Fisher on Sixth Amendment case U.S. v. Bryant]
- “Is The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Unconstitutional?” [Susan Dudley]
- “Dueling perspectives on Lochner v. United States” [Andrew Hamm, SCOTUSBlog on Paul Kens vs. Randy Barnett debate, earlier]
- First Amendment and commercial speech: “Crazy Law Allows ‘Discounts’ for Cash but Not ‘Surcharges’ for Credit” [Ilya Shapiro on Expressions Hair Design case]
- Who ‘ya gonna call if you need a Third Amendment lawyer? [humor]
- Cato files amicus in “hydroponic gear + discarded tea leaves = raid their house” case [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer, earlier on Harte v. Johnson County, Kansas Commissioners]
- Call off contest for most wrongheaded op-ed about SCOTUS vacancy, clear winner has emerged [Gregory Diskant]
- “If police tell you about a good body shop after an accident, beware this one thing.” [@clickbaitSCOTUS on Ocasio v. U.S.]
- “Maryland Court Suppresses Evidence Gathered By Warrantless Stingray Use” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
- Evenwel v. Abbott: “Supreme Court Leaves Meaning of ‘One-Person, One-Vote’ Unclear” [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, earlier]
- Ripeness is all: Thomas/Kennedy dissent in Arrigoni Enterprises v. Town of Durham will excite inverse taking mavens [Gideon Kanner]
- Some reactions to Donald Trump’s release of a list of 11 judges he’d consider for SCOTUS nominations [Ilya Shapiro, Volokh Conspiracy quartet of Eugene Volokh, Jonathan Adler, Orin Kerr, Ilya Somin; Justice Don Willett‘s online humor has not spared Trump]
One incidental impact of a Trump presidency: mainstream law professors would develop a sudden, strange new respect for constitutional law concepts such as separation of powers and federalism, which tend to serve as checks on the power and ambition of the President and his backers. [Paul Horwitz, PrawfsBlawg]
Administrative law judges are executive-branch as distinct from judicial officers, yet the President has no power to remove them; at the Securities and Exchange Commission and many other federal agencies, they are themselves employed by the agency on whose enforcement cases they must render quasi-judicial rulings. In recent years federal judges have expressed unease about whether assigning ALJs this particular combination of adjudicatory powers and institutional affiliations is entirely consistent with the U.S. Constitution, and now a Cato Institute amicus brief, in the D.C. Circuit case of Timbervest LLC v. Securities and Exchange Commission, urges courts to take the next logical step and rule that it is not. [Ilya Shapiro and Thaya Brook Knight; earlier here, here, here here, etc.]
Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett came to Cato April 21 for a book forum to discuss his new book Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People (reviews). Roger Pilon introduced and there were comments from University of Maryland law professor Robert Percival. Description in part:
The Constitution begins with the words “We the People.” But from our earliest days there have been two competing notions of “the People,” leading to two very different constitutional visions. Those who view “We the People” collectively think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group, which leads them to favor a democratic constitution that allows the will of the people to be expressed by majority rule. In contrast, those who think popular sovereignty resides in the people as individuals contend that a republican constitution is needed to secure the preexisting inalienable rights of “We the People,” each and every one, against abuses by the majority. In his latest book, with a foreword by George Will, Randy Barnett explains why “We the People” would greatly benefit from the renewal of our republican Constitution, and how this can be accomplished in the courts and the political arena.
During the Q & A period, I ask a question about amending the U.S. constitution. More: Nick Gillespie interviews Barnett for Reason TV.
In this new “Free Thoughts” podcast from Cato’s Libertarianism.org, Trevor Burrus interviews George Mason University professor Frank Buckley about his recent book, “The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America.”