Notice & Comment

Author: Sam Wice

Notice & Comment

Returning Civility to the Senate Confirmation Process Without Destroying the Senate

Recent Senate confirmation battles have featured unprecedented conflict. Without the need to consult with Democrats to overcome a filibuster on nominees, Republicans have eliminated some of the bipartisan confirmation norms such as the “blue slip” for U.S. circuit court nominees, which required each home state senator to approve of a circuit court nominee. In response, […]

Notice & Comment

The Legality of the Wall Is Not Primarily a National Emergency Question

Although the national emergency declaration is getting much of the attention, its legality will not primarily determine whether President Trump can build a wall along the border with Mexico. Specifically, only about a quarter of the additional funding President Trump wants to use to build the wall would come through his national emergency authority. Instead, the […]

Notice & Comment

Must All Federal Employees Work During a Future Shutdown?

To ensure that federal employees were promptly paid after the 35-day shutdown ended, Congress recently passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019. However, by passing the Act, Congress might have inadvertently required all federal employees to work during a future shutdown. The Antideficiency Act requires the government to shut down when Congress does […]

Notice & Comment

A Review of Shutdown Litigation

With the partial federal shutdown reaching over three weeks, federal employees who work for shut down agencies are missing full paychecks. Additionally those essential employees who worked the Saturday after the shutdown began have not been paid for that day of work. Employees who cannot afford to miss paychecks may start to incur severe adverse […]

Notice & Comment

Why Federal Employees Will Not Be Working for Free During the Shutdown

Even though 25% of the federal government is shut down, many federal employees are considered essential (i.e., their service is necessary for emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property) and must work during the shutdown. Soon, you might hear about these employees having to work for free during the shutdown. However, […]

Notice & Comment

Why the Proposed House Rule on Income Taxes Would Not Prevent Democrats from Passing Progressive Legislation

House Democrats have proposed that, as part of their changes to the House of Representatives’ rules, income-tax increases on the lowest-earning 80% of taxpayers would require a 3/5ths majority in the House of Representatives. This proposed rule has been attacked as antidemocratic and as an obstacle to passing future, Democratic legislation. However, this rule change would […]

Notice & Comment

How Democrats Can Oppose the Republicans Only Judicial Hearings

Even though the U.S. Senate is on recess, Senate Republicans held hearings on judicial nominees, which only Senate Republicans attended. Senate Democrats opposed the hearings as an attempt to prevent serious questioning of the nominees. Unlike the Brett Kavanagh nomination, Senate Democrats have several ways to prevent most of the nominees from being confirmed. First, […]

Notice & Comment

Congress Should Follow Its PAYGO Requirements

Congress and President Trump have increased the deficit by simultaneously increasing spending while cutting revenue. The Department of Treasury found that the deficit has ballooned to $779 billion per year. Partly in response to the ballooning deficit, Congress formed the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform to propose reforms to the appropriations […]

Notice & Comment

President Trump’s Elimination of the Federal COLA Is Likely Illegal

President Trump recently wrote a letter to Congress explaining why he will eliminate the scheduled cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for federal employees. President Trump argued that “[w]e must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.” However, President Trump’s decision to eliminate the COLA is likely illegal. […]

Notice & Comment

Proposed Reform of House Rules Would Not Be Enforceable

With many Democrats already opposing Nancy Pelosi as speaker and many Republicans having already opposed Kevin McCarthy as speaker, whichever party wins the House of Representatives could struggle to get the 218 votes required to win a Speaker of the House election. Seeing an avenue to exchange their votes for reform, the bipartisan Problem Solvers […]

Notice & Comment

When to Refer to the U.S. Code Versus the Underlying Statute

In the spirit of Professor Nielson’s recent post on in-line versus footnote citations, I wanted to mention a personal pet peeve regarding references to the U.S. Code. The U.S. Code is roughly half non-positive law and half positive law. Even though there are important legal distinctions between the two types of law, attorneys often refer to titles […]

Notice & Comment

How Democrats Could Fight the Senate Eliminating Its August Recess

Senator Mitch McConnell recently announced that he intends to eliminate much of the August recess so that the Senate has more time to confirm nominees and pass funding legislation. Senate Republicans want this extra time because even if Republicans have the votes (i.e., 60 for legislation and 50 for nominations), they still need 30 hours […]

Notice & Comment

The Death of the Senate as a Deliberative Body

When the Senate lowered the threshold for nominees to a simple majority, it kept the 30-hour requirement to overcome a filibuster. While the Republican Senate has been willing to devote 30 hours to overcome filibusters on nominees to more important positions like cabinet secretary and circuit court judge, the floor time has added up quickly. […]