Role of Regulatory Agencies

  • July 13, 2018

    by Ruben J. Garcia, Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Research and Professor of Law, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law, ACS Board of Directors Member

    As the analysis of the record and opinions of United States Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh begins, one of the judge’s dissenting opinions on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a strong indicator of the judge’s philosophy toward the law’s protection for workers, and how, if he is confirmed, he will limit the future reach of administrative agencies. Judge Kavanaugh’s 2014 dissenting opinion in SeaWorld of Florida, LLC v. Perez reflects Judge Kavanaugh’s deep skepticism of the institutions that Congress designed to protect American workers.

    The SeaWorld case concerned the death of Dawn Brancheau, an animal trainer at Sea World in Orlando.  Brancheau was an orca trainer with more than 14 years experience and 16 years employment with SeaWorld itself.  Brancheau was working with a killer whale named Tilikum on February 24, 2010.  At one point in the routine before a full crowd of spectators at the theme park, Tilikum was supposed to mime Brancheau’s behavior. Instead, the killer whale pulled Brancheau off the platform, inflicted severe injuries, and drowned her.  Brancheau’s death, and the ensuing OSHA investigation, was a central focus of the 2013 film Blackfish.

  • June 18, 2018

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    The FBI Director Christopher Wray and Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz are on the hot seat. This week Senate and House panels plan to grill these officials about FBI’s decision-making in the probe into presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server.

    I noted in a recent USA Today opinion that lawmakers conducting responsible oversight over Department of Justice should take care to avoid adding to the chaos and confusion created by the President’s ludicrous claim that he’s “totally exonerated” in the Russia probe by the IG report.The substantive allegations that Special Counsel Mueller is reviewing regarding collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice were not the subject of the IG report, and it is inappropriate to conflate these matters.

  • May 3, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Max Lesko

    *Max Lesko served as the Chief of Staff at the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights from 2015-2017. Previously he served in the Office of the White House Counsel and Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. Max received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Max currently works at the Children’s Defense Fund.

    During my time as Chief of Staff at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), our work was guided by a one-word credo: justice. We approached every decision about case management, and others, with the intent of achieving the most justice for the highest number of students. Congress created OCR for this reason, to be responsible for the civil rights of students. Throughout its existence, OCR has responded to complaints—recently over 10,000 a year— by vastly expanding the Civil Rights Data Collection giving the public a comprehensive understanding on the state of civil rights in schools, and promulgating key regulations and guidance to ensure schools are aware of their obligations under our country’s foundational civil rights laws.

  • April 12, 2018

    by Louis J. Virelli III, Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law

    When he administered America’s first census in 1790, then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had to know it would be an important event for America. In its original role, it was designed to provide an “actual enumeration” of the American population every ten years so the correct number of congressional seats and presidential electors could be apportioned for each state. The modern census is also a matter of public policy, as it affects the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars annually in funding for programs ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to local education programs.

  • April 10, 2018
    Guest Post

    Joshua E. Weishart, professor of law and policy, West Virginia University. His scholarship focuses on constitutional rights to education.

    Originally published in The Los Angeles Times.

    Teacher strikes in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma manifested growing frustration with state disinvestment in public education over the past decade. But these protests and walkouts are not just a story about state budgets. Teachers are being forced to rise up in part because most state courts are shrinking from their duty to enforce the state constitutional right to education.

    All 50 state constitutions entitle children to a quality education. (The U.S. Supreme Court declined to recognize a comparable federal right under the U.S. Constitution.) For decades, many state courts enforced that right, striking down school funding schemes as inequitable and inadequate. State legislatures and governors mostly dragged their feet in response, achieving partial compliance with court orders at best. Still, court interventions led to increased funding that studies showed improved educational achievement.