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Archive of entries posted on June 2014

The Declaration of Impotence

On June 25, 2014, the Speaker sent a memorandum to all Members of the House entitled “[T]hat the Laws Be Faithfully Executed. . .” This extraordinary document begins as follows: “For years Americans have watched with concern as President Barack Obama has declined to faithfully execute the laws of our country—ignoring some statutes completely, selectively [...]

Noel Canning: Unanimous Judgment, Divided Reasoning

For a 9-0 decision invalidating the President’s exercise of the recess appointment power, the Supreme Court’s opinion today in Noel Canning revealed a bitter divide among the justices. Justice Breyer, writing for the majority, basically went “full Daugherty,” finding that the Recess Appointment Clause applies to both “inter-session” and “intra-session” breaks, but finding that those [...]

The Standing Committee Stands Pat

The Standing Committee of Correspondents has again rejected SCOTUSblog’s application for credentials on behalf of Lyle Denniston. To anyone who attended or read the live blog of the Committee’s May 23 hearing (see picture below), it is no surprise to learn that the rejection letter focuses on the issue of “editorial independence.” In brief, the [...]

The House’s Sovereign Immunity Objection to the SEC Subpoenas

As discussed in my last post, the SEC is suing the House Committee on Ways & Means and Brian Sutter, a committee staffer, to enforce two administrative subpoenas, one to the committee seeking documents and one to Sutter seeking both documents and testimony. A May 19 letter from the House General Counsel lays out 11 [...]

SEC v. Ways and Means

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed suit against the House Committee on Ways and Means to enforce subpoenas seeking documents as well as the testimony of Brian Sutter, the committee’s staff director. The subpoenas were issued in the course of the SEC’s “investigating whether material nonpublic information [...]

The Office of Compliance and a Mysterious Rule VIII Notice

In case you forgot, Rule VIII is the House rule that governs when a judicial or administrative subpoena is served on a member, officer or employee for documents or testimony relating to the official functions of the House.  The rule requires that notice be given to the House, through the Speaker, whenever such a subpoena [...]

If the Washington Administration Had an Office of Legal Counsel . . .

To:  Edmund Randolph, Attorney General of the United States From:  Paul Colborn (J.D. expected May 1793), Office of Legal Counsel Date: April 1, 1792 Re: Assertion of executive privilege in response to congressional requests for information In preparation for tomorrow’s cabinet meeting, you have requested the opinion of this office on a matter of some delicacy. On [...]