Thank you to everyone who attended or tuned in to watch the 2017 National Lawyers Convention. Below are some reflections on last week’s events that you might enjoy. To listen or watch the panels yourself, visit this page.
In a series of significant speeches at the Federalist Society’s national convention, the president’s lawyers have begun to articulate a framework for restoring the separation of powers: First, Congress should cease delegating its legislative power to the executive branch; second, the executive branch will stop using informal “guidance documents” that deprive people of the due process of law without fair notice; and third, courts should stop rubber-stamping diktats that lack the force of law.
For the past three days I have been attending the annual convention of the Federalist Society in Washington, which is just now wrapping up. The theme of the convention has been “Administrative Agencies and the Regulatory State.” I hate to break it to Revesz, Freeman, et al., but suddenly lots of people are taking these issues very seriously indeed.
On Thursday night they had the big annual dinner. The speaker was new Justice Neil Gorsuch. About 2200 people were in attendance. Gorsuch talked about the just-published 2017 Supreme Court Foreword from the Harvard Law Review. He said that the article had coined a new and rather awkward term, “anti-administrativist,” to describe the growing movement of those who think that much about the modern administrative state is unconstitutional. It was clear that Gorsuch was happy to include himself in the category.
One of the great challenges in life is that the ABA annual conference on national security law is usually cross-scheduled at the same time as the Federalist Society convention. Typically, I go to the ABA event (as I did this year) and try to find video of interesting panels from the FedSoc to watch. Here is one, on “Comparative Counterterrorism Surveillance and Cooperation” that would be of interest to Lawfare readers.