ACS Issue Briefs

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


A Dangerous Adventure: No Safeguards Would Protect Basic Liberties from an Article V Convention

Despite their support for all kinds of constitutional amendments, many advocates on both the left and the right oppose the calling of a constitutional convention. As David Super, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Economics at Georgetown University Law Center, explains in a new ACS Issue Brief, “[t]he reason is simple: as soon as an Article V convention convened, it could pursue any agenda it chose. … Fears of such a “runaway convention” have united people across the political spectrum to work against this dangerous adventure.”

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Inspectors General Reform: Considering Proposals for Greater Independence, Effectiveness, and Accountability

Formally situated in the executive branch but statutorily required to assist Congress with oversight measures, Inspectors General play a critical role in ensuring government accountability and transparency. In recent years, however, executive branch interference with Inspector General work has occurred more frequently, leading advocates to promote reforms aimed at strengthening their independence and the tools they use to provide effective oversight. In a new ACS Issue Brief, Andrew Wright, Partner and Congressional Investigations Practice Co-Leader at K&L Gates, and Sara Hall, a student at George Washington Law School, review the current reform proposals and argue that although they have failed to garner robust bipartisan support thus far, “the push for credible government accountability and transparency continues to lend itself toward reform.”

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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.

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Rethinking our Counterterrorism Framework: How to Address Domestic Terrorism Twenty Years after 9/11

Two decades into the U.S. war on terror, concerns over white supremacist and anti-government political violence have spurred calls for new legal authorities and responses to “domestic terrorism.” Many of these calls are predicated on the need for a new counterterrorism campaign patterned on tools and strategies adopted after 9/11. Yet such calls overlook serious flaws in the preventative counterterrorism framework undertaken for the past two decades. This Issue Brief cautions against the expansion of the domestic terrorism legal regime, especially the creation of new domestic terrorism criminal charges, from the vantage point of the 20-year war on terror.

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