administrative law

A Trumped-Up Bailout Plan

Legally deficient? Arbitrary? Disguised special interest favors? All par for the course in this Administration.

You couldn’t ask for a more typical example of the Trump Administration at work. Nuclear and coal plants are being closed across the country, unable to compete with cheap natural gas and increasingly cheap renewables.  In a desperate effort to support the coal industry, Trump wants to force consumers to subsidize these plants.  It’s not …

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The Anthropocene and public law

Major doctrinal changes could occur in constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law

In this post, I will discuss ways in which the Anthropocene might affect public law doctrines, focusing on constitutional law, administrative law, statutory interpretation and criminal law. Again, the changes here are driven by three characteristics of the interaction of the Anthropocene with the legal system that I have developed in my prior posts: a …

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State of Play: Trump v. the Environment

Here’s a roadmap to what he’s done — and how things will probably unfold.

How has Trump impacted environmental law? What’s going to happen next? CLEE has issued a new report assessing the state of play in environmental law seven months of the Trump presidency. The report, 200 Days & Counting, reviews the Administration’s environmental proposals and offers a glimpse into what may be coming down the pike. The report focuses …

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200 Days & Counting: Enforcing Environmental Laws

Don’t expect the Administration to take the lead in enforcement. Others will need to step up.

As the Bush Administration learned, it can be difficult to pass new legislation or enact new regulations. But another way of gutting environmental rules is much easier: just stop enforcing them. An agency’s enforcement decisions receive essentially no judicial review and precious little publicity. Cuts in enforcement budgets receive even less public notice and are …

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Industry’s Hostile Takeover of EPA

When you’re Scott Pruitt, who you gonna call? Industry reps.

When there are hard decisions to make, who does EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt turns to? Not, as you might naively think, the experts on the staff of his own agency. Instead, he turns to industry lobbyists and lawyers, and to politicians like the Republican state attorneys general who used to be his colleagues. As the …

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Trump’s Executive Order: Bad Policy and More Uncertainty

President Trump’s Executive Order on climate policy is an invitation to bad policymaking and legal uncertainty. The big-ticket item targeted by the Order, of course, is the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan and related rules on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The EO has limited immediate legal impact: none of the major rules can …

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A Motley Crew

Trump has placed about a dozen people in EPA. They’re already causing problems.

ProPublica has a list of Trump appointees to agencies. They can be aptly described as a motley crew. The most significant is probably Senior White House Advisor Donald Benton, a former Washington State senator and Trump’s regional campaign manager. Once ran a county environmental office. According to the Seattle Times, “he has an almost perfect …

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Trump’s 2-for-1 Order: Legal Issues

Some applications would be clearly illegal. Others are less clear.

Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) requiring agencies to repeal at least two regs for every new reg and also capping the combined compliance costs of all the regulations issued in a given year.  To see what the legal effect is, we need to tease out several scenarios. Of course, we can never be 100% sure of …

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Turnabout is Fair Play

The same tools that have been used to stymie the Obama Administration can be turned against Trump.

Conservatives and industry have perfected some legal tools to block regulation by the Obama Administration.  Those tools can be turned against them, by using the same tools to block anti-regulatory moves by the Trump Administration.  As a professor, I don’t necessarily agree with all of them.  But as a lawyer, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them …

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Beyond Administrative Law

Law students need to know about more than administrative procedure and judicial review.

Since the days of Felix Frankfurter, the Administrative Law course has been a staple of American law schools.  It’s a great course, but it’s limited.  The same is true of most of the courses on legislation and regulation in the first year, which also focus on how courts interpret statutes and how they review administrative …

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