ABOUT THIS BLOG
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.
There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.
Friday, December 16, 2016
"But I think the way Congress treats its departing members is a refreshing exercise in humility, and a surprising example that the institution can move fast — when it must."
Thursday, December 8, 2016
- Except in simulation, legislation is usually slow. (And swift action is not necessarily smart action.)
- In a body resting on geographic representation, parochialism is inevitable. (And it is often legitimate.) See Davidson 456-457.
- A multi-member, bicameral institution will have a hard time planning. (And planning is overrated.)
Actually, Congress used to be much more corrupt
Checks and balances
JFK on the complexity of courage:
- The pressure to "go along" -- but we "should not be too hasty in condemning all compromise as bad morals."
- The pressure to seek reelection -- but lawmakers "who go down to defeat in a vain defense of a single principle will not be on hand to fight for that or any other principle in the future."
- The pressure to serve interest groups -- but "they are the articulate few whose views cannot be ignored and who constitute the greater part of our contacts with the public at large, whose opinions we cannot know..."
This narrative is false. While Trump tied with Hillary Clinton on voters who earned more than $250K/year or more, the idea that Trump won everything except for the Bougie coastal elites is flat-out wrong. I used the U.S. Census Bureau data from 2010 and county-level election data from November, and examined the fifty counties with the highest Median Household Income. 25 of them voted for Trump, and many of them by sizable margins. Here's a map I made with Microsoft Paint for more perspective:
In fact, only 16 of the named 52 counties made the cut from the original Breitbart article.
50 wealthiest counties:
--25 voted for Donald Trump
----Of these 25, 14 were in Southern or Midwestern states
----Some of these counties, like Sussex County, NJ voted for Donald Trump by more than 30 points
--9 voted for Hillary Clinton
----These were likely not included in the original Breitbart article because they were either close, like Queen Anne's County, MD or not on the coast, like Oakland County, MI
--16 are the "Coastal Elite" counties that Breitbart selects
----Of these 16, 8 are in Northern Virginia, and an additional 3 are in Maryland. The remaining 5 are split between California (3), New York (1), and Massachusetts (1)
------Of the 8 in Northern Virginia, 4 are independent cities with small size
By contrast, of the 50 poorest counties in America, 2/3 (33) voted for Hillary Clinton. This is especially poignant, given that Donald Trump won far more counties than Hillary Clinton. Of these 33 counties that voted for Hillary, 5 are Hispanic majority, 3 are Native American majority, and 25 are African-American majority. 16 of the 17 poorest counties that Donald Trump won are more than 75% white (Luna County, NM is actually Hispanic majority). Here's another map I made with MS Paint to outline where the poorest counties are and how they voted:
Breitbart is not the only publication to accuse HRC for going for the elite coastal vote. It is certainly true that the wealthiest counties are concentrated in super zip-heavy coasts surrounding DC and New York. Nevertheless, the idea that this election was America's poor and working class heartland vs. the coastal elites misunderstands both the distribution of wealth and politics in America.
Senate Democrats' top staff ranks are lily-white:
Chuck Schumer, the Minority Leader-to-be, is considering various proposals for party rules to boost minority hiring. Among them is a mandate to interview diverse candidates for top staff positions, without a mandate to hire them. The Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus is pushing legislation to create a chief diversity officer for the whole Senate.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
In response to Ian's post: Goldwater v. Carter (Fisher, p. 265).
In response to Bruno's post -- Manu Raju and Ted Barrett report at CNN:
Democrats are worried that if Trump adds two Democrats to his Cabinet -- potentially North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin -- the balance of power in the chamber could tilt further to the GOP. So they are making the case to their colleagues to stay put.In response to Caroline's question:
If Manchin and Heitkamp were to leave for the Trump administration, the GOP would have a clear shot to pick up the open seats in 2018. In West Virginia, the Democratic governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, would fill the open seat until the next election in the red state. And in North Dakota, a special election would occur within 95 days of the vacancy, giving the GOP an immediate chance to grow their numbers in the first year under Trump.
- Technical corrections legislation
- Scott Levy in the Straus reader (p. 36): "How does one discern a well-drafted bill from a poorly drafted one? How does one distinguish a drafting error from a questionable policy decision? To be honest, I do not know that we can."
- Process issues -- Heather Caygle reports at Politico:
SENATE TAKES A MULLIGAN— Turns out that in the Senate, you can pass a bill – and then take it right back. On Monday afternoon, the Senate easily cleared money-laundering legislation from Sens. Richard Shelby and Sherrod Brown and then almost as quickly, reversed its passage. Sources tell Huddle that the Democratic cloakroom had accidentally OK’d the hotline request that had included the terrorism financing measure and other items, without registering an objection that came from their own side. Hey, mistakes happen.
So where did that objection come from? West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who along with three other Democrats from coal states has vowed to gum up the works on anything and everything in the Senate until legislation regarding health care and pensions for coal-miners gets addressed in the chamber. Confirming the hold, a Manchin spox emailed us: “We are going to object to everything going forward.”
- Once in a while, Congress just repeals. Case study: Medicare catastrophic health insurance.
The Elusive Question of the Mandate
- Popular vote for president
- House vote in 2016
- In 2014, GOP got 56.8% of seats with 51.2% of the vote.
- Historical: popular vote and seats (Table 2-2)
- Congressional approval
The Oath of Office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
EDIT: This seems less likely than appointing Heitkamp, as Earl Ray Tomblin, WV's governor, is a Democrat (as is Jim Justice, WV's governor-elect). Not the same strategic appeal as appointing Heitkamp, but the Trump transition team could still do it if they really wanted to emphasize coal.
Friday, December 2, 2016
The House and Senate Sept. 15 gave final approval to a special bill (HR 9646) which would allow Gen. George C. Marshall to be appointed as Secretary of Defense. The President signed the bill Sept. 18 and submitted Marshall's appointment to the Senate for confirmation. The Senate confirmed Marshall Sept. 20 (see p. 355).
The bill set aside a provision in the National Security Act (Unification Act) of 1947 barring from the post of Secretary of Defense any person who had served as an officer in the Armed Forces during the past ten years. The exemption applies only to Marshall. The bill fixed Marshall's pay as his Army retirement pay plus the amount over that figure ordinarily paid a Cabinet member.The bill passed, but of those GOP House members and senators who cast a yea or nay vote, a majority opposed the waiver.
In the Senate, Democrats supported the bill 37-1 while Republicans opposed it 10-20.
In the House, Democrats supported the bill 192-5, while Republicans opposed it 27-100.
Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, "Mister Republican," explained:
The Secretary of Defense should be a civilian. No one even disputes the fact that this basic principle of the unification act [The National Security Act of 1947] is right ... General Marshall, like anyone who has served all his life in the Army, has certain definite views to which he is committed. Human nature being what it is, he must always be in the position of defending and justifying the policies he has supported in the past. An officer of one of the services, such as the Army, must inevitably be more interested in its operation than in that of the other two forces, such as the Navy and the Air Force. This is one of the reasons why the Secretary should be a civilian.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
"Passing any fix to the law during the lame duck session would require the unanimous consent of all 100 senators, a tall order considering Congress hopes to recess next week for the rest of the year."
How often does Congress pass "fixes" to laws? What are other examples of imperfect laws that were passed hurriedly and overwhelmingly, similar to JASTA?
Steps in launching a nuclear war
(No, the 25th Amendment is not much of a remedy)
Hamilton in Federalist 8: "It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority."
Tocqueville, p. 126: "If the Union’s existence were constantly menaced, and if its great interests were continually interwoven with those of other powerful nations, one would see the prestige of the executive growing, because of what was expected from it and of what it did."
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;Article II, section 2:
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;CRS explains that a declaration of war has enormous legal consequences
[A] declaration of war automatically brings into effect a number of statutes that confer special powers on the President and the Executive Branch, especially concerning measures that have domestic effect. A declaration, for instance, activates statutes that empower the President to interdict all trade with the enemy, order manufacturing plants to produce armaments and seize them if they refuse, control transportation systems in order to give the military priority use, and command communications systems to give priority to the military. A declaration triggers the Alien Enemy Act, which gives the President substantial discretionary authority over nationals of an enemy state who are in the United States. It activates special authorities to use electronic surveillance for purposes of gathering foreign intelligence information without a court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It automatically extends enlistments in the armed forces until the end of the war, can make the Coast Guard part of the Navy, gives the President substantial discretion over the appointment and reappointment of commanders, and allows the military priority use of the natural resources on the public lands and the continental shelf.There have been 11 declarations of war.
Use of military force abroad (usually without a declaration of war)
The War Powers Resolution
Perspectives changes once a candidate becomes a president:
AUMF after 9/11
The Iraq War Resolution
President Obama's Libya letter
Senator Obama on War Powers:
President Obama on war powers:
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Article I and Article II
Cuba and the recognition power (See Fisher, pp. 270-271)
Intelligence and Oversight: Hearings in the 1970s:
- House committee
- Senate committee
- Members do NOT need security clearances
- The community
- Intelligence budget
- Secret law: the executive and Congress
- International Law and Agreements: Effect on US Law
- Treaties (US Senate)
- Executive agreements
- The Iran deal is neither a treaty nor an executive agreement (and note the addressee)
- Congressional-executive agreements
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Constitutional ProvisionsTrump on his businesses/conflict q's: "The law's totally on my side, the president can't have a conflict of interest."— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 22, 2016
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”
— U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7, clause 1
“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”
— U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 9, clause 7
What follows would baffle a Martian.
Part 1: Authorization
Part 2: Appropriation
- Budget Authority
- Continuing resolutions
- The president's budget
- CBO reports
Part 4: Mandatory Spending and Entitlements
Part 5: Revenue Bills
Part 6: The Debt Ceiling
Revenues -- Where the money comes from:
The tax system is more progressive than most people realize: see graphs starting on page 31.
Outlays -- Where the money goes:
Outlays by function and superfunction
"Waste, fraud and abuse" is an old gimmick
No, we cannot balance the budget by catching Social Security fraud: only 13 people aged 112 or older are getting checks.
- Essays should be typed, double-spaced, and no more than four pages long. I will not read past the fourth page.
- In addition to outside research, your essay should draw on class discussions and readings.
- Cite your sources with endnotes in standard Turabian format.
- Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. Return essays (as Word documents, not pdfs) to the Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM, Friday, December 9. Papers will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a full letter grade after that.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
The Kefauver Hearings:
Iran-Contra on TV
What happens when the court declares a law unconstitutional?
Statutory interpretation: special ed cases
Checks on the Judiciary
- Court-stipping and Ted Cruz
- Court organization and administration
- Constitutional amendments
Supreme Court nominations
How Donald Trump filled the dignity deficit
Haley, McMaster reportedly being considered for Trump administration
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Washington Post: Key figures purged from Trump transition team
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
- The Constitution
- Gerald R. Ford: "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."
- House role
- Senate role
Friday, November 11, 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016
The clustering phenomenon affects presidential races as well as House races.
In Detroit, Hillary Clinton’s winning margin was 90,000 votes smaller than President Barack Obama’s in 2012. In Flint, Mich., where a water crises drew visits by both presidential candidates, the Democratic 2012 winning margin of 57,000 votes was cut by two-thirds.
Turnout was down Tuesday, preliminary estimates show, but not uniformly. In urban areas that drive the Democratic tally in much of the industrial Midwest, there were signs African-American enthusiasm for Mr. Obama didn’t fully transfer to Mrs. Clinton.Paul Herrnson (p. 268): "Once an election is over, candidates and their campaign staffs have a chance to reflect. Their main concern, naturally, is what caused the election to turn out as it did."
In some of the smaller communities that powered Republican Donald Trump to victory, meanwhile, turnout appeared to rise. The number of votes cast statewide rose in Pennsylvania and Florida—formerly Democratic states that Mr. Trump won—as well as in Michigan, where he was maintaining a lead.
But nationwide, fewer voters went to the polls. Mr. Trump appeared to have won the election, in fact, with fewer votes than GOP nominee Mitt Romney drew in his losing 2012 race. Mr. Trump in preliminary totals had about 59.6 million votes, 1.6 million shy of his party’s total in the last election.
(a look back from September 8)
The next midterm:
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
The House selects the president and the GOP has an edge.
Hamilton's actual words:
Mr. Jefferson, though too revolutionary in his notions, is yet a lover of liberty and will be desirous of something like orderly Government – Mr. Burr loves nothing but himself – thinks of nothing but his own aggrandizement – and will be content with nothing short of permanent power [struck: and] in his own hands – No compact, that he should make with any [struck: other] passion in his [struck: own] breast except [struck: his] Ambition, could be relied upon by himself – How then should we be able to rely upon any agreement with him? Mr. Jefferson, I suspect will not dare much Mr. Burr will [inserted in margin: dare every thing in the sanguine hope of effecting every thing –]Campaign Finance
The incumbency advantage
Monday, November 7, 2016
The whole article is here.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Really interesting article that categorizes the Senate races based on the likelihood of a Democratic win. It also examines how Clinton's coattails have shrunk over time.
Friday, November 4, 2016
If anyone is interested in making a few calls for Hillary this Sunday afternoon, I will be calling a GOTV list from Ohio. Text me/email me/message me if you want to be a part of this historic campaign--it's your last chance! If not, feel free to ignore this.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
At The Atlantic, Ron Brownstein and Janie Boschma offer important data:
Lee Drutman reported in 2014:
A new report from Daniel Tokaji and Renata Strause at The Ohio State University’s Election Law @ Moritz is out today, and it provides an excellent overview. “The New Soft Money: Outside Spending in Congressional Elections” is based on interviews with former members, campaign operatives and other staffers. It’s quite wide ranging, and worth reading in full.
Legally, campaigns and independent groups like super PACs are prohibited from coordinating. After all, that’s what makes them “independent groups.” But as this report reveals, there is a delicate dance to coordination. And operatives have figured the moves.
The primary move in the coordination two-step involves changing partners. As one operative said: “It’s all operatives moving back and forth between the parties and the groups and the campaigns – and it’s mostly people who can finish each other’s sentences.”
Here’s former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., calling the idea of independence “nonsense”:
So this whole idea well, oh, they don’t coordinate, therefore it’s really independent is just nonsense. If you look at who makes up these organizations, on all sides, they’re loaded with political operatives. They know the way these campaigns are run, modern campaigns. They can see for themselves what’s up on the air. They can see the polling, a lot of it’s public. Some of it’s, you know not public but pretty much the same thing as what’s public. So they don’t need to talk to anybody in the campaign in order to know what to do.
And here’s an anonymous campaign operative, saying more or less the same thing: “At the end of the day, it’s all just kind of a fiction – it’s just kind of a farce, the whole campaign finance non-coordination thing.”
Sometimes the dance involves an outside group leading, and a candidate following. That is, candidates look to see what outside groups might be around and willing to step in, and then try to appeal to those outside groups. Here’s former Rep. Joe Walsh, D-Ill., explaining how the potential of outside groups stepping in shaped his campaign strategy:
I think early on that summer you begin to hear of or learn of other outside groups or individuals or interests who may have an interest in helping. And, you know, again, ... it’s my downfall ... [I] can’t tell a lie. You factor that into how you’re going to run your campaign. You don’t for sure know that this big wealthy guy’s coming in but you’ve heard he is. You don’t exactly know how much he’s going to spend, but you look at what you have to do, what Duckworth’s going to do. And so a campaign factors it into your over – all game plan.Operatives also described the “b-roll” trick that Jon Stewart recently called attention to with his “McConnelling” segment. As Tokaji and Strause explain, “The most common signaling tactic we heard about in our interviews was the quiet release of 'b-roll,' high-resolution photographs, and targeted talking points, either available through a hidden link on the campaign’s website or through some other microsite or YouTube account.”
Herrnson, p. 84:
Why relatively little on TV? Consider districts and DMAs
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
The Big Picture
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Writeup: In analyzing your role in the simulation, please cover these points:
- How well did your positions and goals match those of your real-life counterpart?
- What methods did you use? In the circumstance that you dealt with, would your counterpart have done the same?
- What obstacles did you face?
- What did you achieve?
- How did the simulation both resemble and differ from the real world?
- Overall, what did you learn?
- Essays should be double-spaced, and between 5 and 6 pages long. I will not read past the 6th page. (Supporting materials do not count against the page limit.)
- Submit the writeups as Word documents, not pdfs.
- Cite outside sources with Turabian endnotes.
- Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you.
- Return essays to the class Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM, Friday November 11. Your grade for the simulation will drop one gradepoint for one day's lateness, a full grade after that.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Please comment below with your party/committee twitter accounts.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
- Federalist 77: IT HAS been mentioned as one of the advantages to be expected from the co-operation of the Senate, in the business of appointments, that it would contribute to the stability of the administration. The consent of that body would be necessary to displace as well as to appoint.
- But he flip-flops as Pacificus: "With these exceptions the Executive Power of the Union is completely lodged in the President. This mode of construing the Constitution has indeed been recognized by Congress in formal acts, upon full consideration and debate. The power of removal from office is an important instance."
- Decision of 1789
- Myers v. US
- Humphrey's Executor v. US
- ONCE AGAIN: INDEPENDENT AGENCIES AND INDEPENDENT REGULATORY COMMISSIONS ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.
- Saturday Night Massacre (Fisher, p. 81):
- Ruckelshaus on the massacre
- Bork on the massacre
Monday, October 17, 2016
Cook Political Report has moved Darrell Issa's district race to a "Toss-Up."
"As it turns out, it's possible to be the wealthiest member of Congress and still run a very poor campaign."
Thursday, October 13, 2016
- Administrative Rules
- Executive orders
- Executive Actions (see below)
- US v. Texas
- The position of The Donald
- Signing statements
Pocket vetoes and "protective return pocket vetoes" (Davidson 297)
We had not only failed to take into account the ability of the Senate to delay us and obstruct us, but we had much too cavalierly underrated the power of the President, even a President who had lost his legislative majority and was in a certain amount of trouble for other reasons. I am speaking of the power of the veto. Even if you pass something through both the House and the Senate, there is that presidential pen. How could we have forgotten that? For me especially it was inexcusable, because when I was Republican whip during the Bush Administration one of my duties had been precisely to help sustain presidential vetoes.Item Veto
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
6:30 PM - 7:00 PM State of the Union & GOP response -- Kravis Center Lower Court 62
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Committee work -- Roberts South 103 and 105
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Committee hearings --Roberts South 103 and 105
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Committee markup -- Roberts South 103 and 105
Thursday, October 27, 2016
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Floor Session -- Roberts North 15
John McCain (AZ), chair..............Steph Wong
Kelly Ayotte (NH)........................Brittany Woods
Tom Cotton (AR)..........................Justine Gluck
Joni Ernst (IA)..............................Caroline Sunshine
Mike Lee (UT)..............................Kassidy Cuccia-Aguirre
Jack Reed (RI), ranking................Caroline Peck
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)................Grant Newburger
Joe Manchin (WV)........................Ian Descamps
Claire McCaskill (MO),,,,.,,,,,.,,,,,,,,Joelle Leib
Chuck Grassley (IA), chair............Daniel Ludlam
Lindsey Graham (SC)....................Katherine DePalma
Jeff Flake (AZ)...............................Martin Sicilian
Ted Cruz (TX)................................Chandler Koon
Mitch McConnell (KY), R leader.... Skip Wiltshire-Gordon
Patrick Leahy (VT), ranking..........Bruno Youn
Dianne Feinstein (CA)...................SEN LEAHY HAS THE PROXY
Chuck Schumer (NY), D leader......Felipe Afanador
Amy Klobuchar (MN)....................Lizzie Carrade
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Hamilton in Federalist 8: "It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority."
1— Strongly Support Passage
2— Support Passage
3— Do not Object to Passage
4— No Position on Passage
6— Strongly Oppose
7— Secretary’s veto Threat (single and multiple agency)
8— Senior Advisor’s Veto Threat
9— Presidential Veto Threat
CQ on presidential success:
- A sad reflection for the end of the 114th Congress...
- And the Semester Ends
- The Wealthiest Counties did not vote for Hillary C...
- Democrats? Nearly all-white top staff? Huh?
- Simulation Video!
- Summing Up I
- RCP Trump Cabinet Tracker http://www.realclearpo...
- Luring Red-State Democrats into the Cabinet
- Trump and the Power of Diplomatic Recognition: US...
- Followup to Our Discussion of the War Power
- Graham, McCain unveil 'fix' to 9/11 Saudi law
- Congress, the President, and the War Power
- Trump vs. the Constitution
- Congress, the President, and Foreign Policy
- The Power of the Purse (Or, You're Screwed)
- Last Essay
- Hearings, Congress, and the Judiciary
- Interesting take on the election from Arthur Brook...
- Haley, McMaster reportedly being considered for Tr...
- Tom Cotton added to SecDef Shortlist.....
- What Can Congress Do Now? Investigations and Fili...
- Look at me go!!!
- Congressional Elections IV
- Congressional Elections III
- Comey and the Hatch Act
- "The Art Of The Vote: Who Designs The Ballots We C...
- FiveThirtyEight Race-by-race analysis
- Interested in making calls for Hillary?
- When did established dues for incumbents officiall...
- Todd Young the Obscure
- Congressional Elections II
- Scandals' Impact on Polls: A User's Guidehttp://ww...
- Congressional Elections I
- Sim Photos
- Simulation Evaluation
- Follow the Judiciary Dems on Twitter!
- Judiciary Reps on Twitter
- Appointments, Removals, Oversight
- An Update on CA 49th
- Congress and the President II: After Congress Pas...
- Fear, Loathing, and Turnout in Wisconsin https://w...
- Ayotte sticks with Trump disavowal http://www.poli...
- Simulation Schedule
- Congress and the Presidency
- ▼ December (12)