The filibuster and climate change legislation

Should we eliminate the Senate filibuster to advance climate change legislation

As the Democratic Presidential primary season has unfolded, a number of the candidates have argued for eliminating the filibuster in the Senate completely.  (It is currently gone for confirmation of nominations of judges and executive branch officials, but remains for substantive legislation.)  So has former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. One of the key …


How the filibuster shapes environmental law

Political structures affect how environmental law works

In case you haven’t noticed  recently, there’s been some national attention paid to how the US Senate operates.  In particular, a lot of attention has been focused on the filibuster, the requirement that for legislation (as opposed to judicial or executive nominees), 60 Senators must vote to close debate on the legislation for a vote …


The Filibuster and the Environment

In the short run, limiting the filibuster will strengthen the hands of environmental regulators. What about the long run effects?

The filibuster arguably served a useful function when it allowed the minority to block action in extraordinary cases where its views were especially intense.  It became no longer tolerable when it became a routine barrier to Senate action. Last week, the Senate abolished filibusters for nominations (except the Supreme Court). What does this mean for environmental …


Obama’s Tactics on Greenhouse Gas Regulations Come Into View

Last week, Ann wondered why the Obama Administration has withdrawn proposed rules on greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources, worrying that time might run out of the possibility of getting them written in time for the end of Obama’s second term.  The two reasons proffered — 1) susceptibility to legal attack; and 2) waiting until the …


Are Filibusters of Executive Branch Nominees Constitutional?

President Obama’s announcement today making three nominations to the National Labor Relations Board should remind us that the GOP is the party of permanent constitutional crisis.  It has been quite clear from the beginning of the Obama Administration that the Republicans simply have no interest in allowing the NLRB to function.  That shouldn’t be much …


Does the President Even Need the Senate to Confirm Appointees?

Damn. I suppose that it’s an occupational hazard of law professors that they kick around an idea, only to find that someone has beaten them to the punch.  Well, Harvard’s Matthew Stephenson has done that to me, sort of, with an essay in the most recent volume of the Yale Law Journal entitled, Can the President Appoint Principal Executive …


Judging the Environment

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.  Covering the Senate Republicans’ continuing obstruction of judicial nominees is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but the good folks at Defenders of Wildlife, one of the nation’s most venerable environmental organizations, have decided to invest in doing it, with their vital blog, Judging …


Can Anyone Stop the Filibuster?

The DC Circuit’s outrageous opinion on Friday essentially banning recess appointments has brought further chaos to the Age of Dysfunction.  Now, President Obama will confront potentially dozens of new filibusters without recourse; it didn’t help that less than 24 hours beforehand, the Senate scotched the efforts at meaningful filibuster reform.  So what to do now? …


The filibuster and environmental law

The filibuster in the U.S. Senate has been (rightfully) in the news quite a bit over the past few years.  The use of the filibuster has dramatically increased in those years, to the point where there is currently a de facto 60-vote supermajority requirement to pass legislation in the Congress.  That has led to a …


Rand Paul, Constitutional Pervert

..and he’s not the only one. You can be forgiven for not knowing the name of Arunava Majumdar: he is a distinguished energy engineer who currently runs the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA – E), and who until a few days ago was President Obama’s nominee (since last November) to become DOE’s new Undersecretary.  …