February 6, 2020

8:30 am - 3:00 pm, Eastern Time

Unilateralist Presidencies and Submissive Legislatures: Rebalancing Our Separation of Powers

Georgetown University Law Center, Gewirz 12th Floor, Washington, DC

The scope of presidential power was a key source of debate among the framers of the Constitution. Some, like Hamilton, advocated for an “elective monarch,” while Benjamin Franklin supported a “plural presidency” of more than one executive, and until very near the end of the convention, the president was to be elected by the Congress. Ultimately, it is the legislative power described in the Constitution’s first article that is most expansive, including the powers to declare war, to borrow and coin money, and to make “all laws necessary” to carry out its powers. Almost 250 years later, with the Trump administration vowing to fight “all the subpoenas” issued by Congress in the impeachment inquiry, successive administrations sparring with Congress over presidential decisions to engage in military action abroad without congressional authorization, and the U.S. Attorney General’s (and perhaps some Supreme Court Justices’) embracing of the “unitary executive theory,” where does that leave Congress? Can it conduct effective oversight of the executive branch? How might it reassert itself as a muscular branch of government? 

Join ACS for a symposium on the future of separation of powers and how Congress might once again perform its core legislative duties.

8:30-9:15am: Welcome by Zinelle October, Interim President of ACS, and Keynote Remarks by Hon. Jamie Raskin (MD-8)

9:15-10:45am: The Rise of the Unilateralist Presidency

  • Kimberly Atkins, Senior News Correspondent, WBUR, Moderator
  • Hon. Brad Miller, Of Counsel, Guttman, Buschner & Brooks PLLC, Former Representative for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District
  • Erica Newland, Counsel, Protect Democracy
  • Victoria Nourse, Ralph V. Whitworth Professor in Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Sai Prakash, James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

10:45-11:00am: Break

11:00-12:30pm: Protector-in-Chief: Cooption of National Security by the Executive Branch

  • Mieke Eoyang, Vice President, Third Way, Moderator
  • Gene Healy, Vice President, Cato Institute
  • Marty Lederman, Professor from Practice, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Bijal Shah, Associate Professor of Law, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
  • Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project

12:30-1:30pm: Lunch and Keynote Address by Hon. Jeh Charles Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security

1:30-3:00pm: Imagining a Resurgent Congress

  • Reta Jo Lewis, Senior Fellow and Director of Congressional Affairs, German Marshall Fund of the United States, Moderator
  • Simon Lester, Associate Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute
  • Zachary Price, Professor of Law, U.C. Hastings College of Law San Francisco
  • Kate Shaw, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy, Yeshiva University Benjamin Cardozo School of Law
  • Donald Sherman, Deputy Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

The American Constitution Society is a State Bar of California approved CLE provider. This event has been approved for 5 hours of California MCLE credit.

For CLE documentation, click here.

As the nation's leading progressive legal organization, ACS is committed to ensuring that all aspects of our events are accessible and enjoyable for all. If you require any accommodations, please contact us at LCemails@acslaw.org.