Notice & Comment

“Presidential Administration in a Polarized Era”: An Upcoming Conference

This year seems a good time to take stock of “presidential administration,” both in theory and in practice.

It is, after all, a year of presidential transition, illustrating the ever-growing changes in law and policy that follow every succession of one presidency after the last. It’s also the twentieth anniversary of Elena Kagan’s landmark article. And it’s a time of fertile debate over the constitutional relationship between the presidency and the administrative state, with possible ramifications for Supreme Court doctrines.

So it will be the topic of several conversations next week, at a conference in Washington, D.C., organized by George Mason University’s C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, in partnership with the Ohio State University’s Christopher Walker.

The conference will be Friday, October 1, at the Historic Decatur House near the White House. Full details — including livestream info — can be found on the Gray Center’s web site.

The conference’s first three panels will center on seven new pieces of legal scholarship, which were workshopped in a roundtable discussion several months ago. (Working-paper versions of the articles will be available shortly before the event, and I’ll link to them eventually in this post.)

The fourth panel will focus on two recent books on presidential power: Saikrishna Prakash’s The Living Presidency, and John Yoo’s Defender in Chief. And we’ll hear keynote thoughts from Judge Neomi Rao, in conversation with the Gray Center’s co-director, Jenn Mascott.

We hope you’ll join us, either in-person or online. Again, full details and agenda are on the Center’s web site; here are the panel lineups:

Panel 1: Presidential Administration and Political Polarization

  • Michael Rappaport on “Presidential Polarization” (with John McGinnis)
  • Kevin Stack on presidential administration
  • Commenter: Richard Pierce
  • Moderator: Melanie Marlowe

Panel 2: Kagan’s “Presidential Administration” After 20 Years

  • Ashraf Ahmed on the tragedy of presidential administration (with Lev Menand & Noah Rosenblum)
  • Kathryn Kovacs on “From Presidential Administration to Bureaucratic Dictatorship”
  • Commenter: Kristin Hickman
  • Moderator: Adam White

Keynote Conversation: Judge Neomi Rao, hosted by Jennifer Mascott

Panel 3: Current Issues in Presidential Administration & Executive Power

  • Brian Feinstein on “Divided Agencies” (with Abby Wood)
  • Zachary Price on “Faithful Execution in the Federal Government and the Fifty States”
  • Bijal Shah on “The Purpose of Presidential Administration”
  • Moderator: Christopher Walker

Panel 4: The Constitutional Presidency: Two New Books

  • Saikrishna Prakash on The Living Presidency: An Originalist Argument Against Its Ever-Expanding Powers
  • John Yoo on Defender in Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power
  • Commenter: Julian Davis Mortenson
  • Moderator: Jennifer Mascott

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