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Archive of entries posted on July 2011

“Future Legislative Acts” and the Ninth Circuit’s Narrow Reading of Speech or Debate

In United States v. Renzi, the Ninth Circuit rejected the former congressman’s claim that the Speech or Debate Clause prohibits charging him with having demanded, as a condition of supporting land exchange legislation that two private companies were seeking, that those companies include in the proposed legislation land owned by Sandlin, a Renzi associate (who, [...]

Congressional Witnesses at the Clemens Trial

Needless to say, I don’t know exactly how the government plans to prove the “congressional facts” necessary to establishing its case against Roger Clemens. The government, however, has announced an intention to call two House witnesses, Charles Johnson (the former House Parliamentarian) and Phil Barnett (a long-time aide to Representative Henry Waxman, who chaired the [...]

What Must the Clemens Prosecutors Prove About Congress?

AP notes that “Prospective jurors screened Thursday for the Roger Clemens perjury trial were more critical of Congress for spending time investigating drugs in baseball than they were of the star pitcher on trial for lying to lawmakers about ever using them.”  Having watched some of the jury selection yesterday, I can confirm this observation. [...]

The Public Debt Clause and the President’s “Right to Ignore Law”

While I would like to move on from the Public Debt Clause issue, I feel obliged to remark on Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column, entitled “Invoke the 14th — and end the debt standoff,” in the Washington Post today. She writes: President Obama may find that there is only one course left to avoid a global [...]

A Further Reply to Professor Balkin

Professor Balkin has replied to my critique of his analysis of the legislative history of the Public Debt Clause. It is a powerful effort, but I think the reader will conclude that its power lies more in the cleverness of its author than the merits of its argument. At the outset, let me say that [...]

Public Debt Clause Roundup

There have been a number of Public Debt Clause developments over the last couple of days. Freakonomics. Michael Abramowicz weighs in with some thoughts on the current debate. Among his interesting observations: if one accepts his broad reading of the Public Debt Clause, it is not only the debt limit that would be unconstitutionally suspect. [...]

“Threatening Default”: A Response to Professor Balkin

There is a plethora of Public Debt Clause news, but let’s begin with Professor Jack Balkin’s analysis of the Clause’s legislative history. Balkin contends that the key part of that history is the proposal made by Senator Benjamin Wade to insert the following language into the draft of the Fourteenth Amendment: “The public debt of [...]