ACS Issue Briefs

See below all issue briefs since January 2017. Click here for past issue briefs.


Democratizing the Filibuster

The Senate filibuster’s effective requirement of 60 votes to pass legislation has posed a barrier to the enactment of laws protecting civil rights and workers’ rights and today, threatens to stall progress on the major challenges facing our nation. As a result, many have called for its elimination. In a new ACS Issue Brief, Jonathan Gould, Assistant Professor at Berkeley Law School, Kenneth Shepsle, George D. Markham Professor of Government at Harvard University, and Matthew Stephenson, Eli Goldston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, propose an alternative approach to filibuster reform that would allow Senate majorities representing population majorities to effectively govern, while still serving as a check on minority rule.

Read More

To Decide or Not to Decide, That is the Question: The Supreme Court’s Amicus Appointment Practice When the Parties Agree

Almost every term in the last dozen, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case, usually involving the federal government, in which the Court has appointed a lawyer to argue the case as an amicus curiae because the parties agree that the lower court erred.” This lack of adversity presents the problem that there may not be the requisite “case or controversy” for judicial review.

Read More

The Rise of Second Amendment Sanctuaries

In the past year, more than 400 local governments—mostly counties—have adopted resolutions declaring themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” These counties are co-opting immigration advocates’ use of sanctuary language to express support for gun rights, attack gun control legislation, and, in some cases, declare that no governmental resources or personnel will be used to enforce laws that “unconstitutionally” or “unnecessarily” infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of individuals to keep and bear arms.

Read More

Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?

President Biden ran for office on the strongest climate change platform of any major presidential nominee. But as Michael Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School, explains in a new ACS Issue Brief, the fate of the administration’s plans may be in the hands of the courts.

Read More