Professor Tarlock on the EPA

By Professor Dan Tarlock

During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump promised both to curb and to eliminate the EPA. A Florida congressman is planning to introduce legislation to abolish the agency by 2018. Going nuclear against the EPA will not be easy and the counterattacks will be fierce.

The EPA was created in 1970 by President Richard Nixon by Executive Order. It gathered into a new agency the scattered, weak environmental laws delegated to the Departments of Agriculture, then Health, Education and Welfare and Interior. Most foundational environmental laws enacted between 1970-1980 were assigned to the EPA for implementation and enforcement.

The President’s power to abolish agencies falls under government reorganization acts that trace back to the New Deal. The last one was enacted in 1977, before the Supreme Court invalidated legislative vetoes, so the current thinking is that the President must ask Congress for authority to abolish an agency. Even assuming that the current Congress grants the authority, then the fun starts. The air, hazardous waste and water pollution laws that EPA implements and enforces cannot be abolished by the Executive; the Constitution clearly grants that authority exclusively to Congress.

Does the Republican controlled Congress really want to create that level of chaos? Stay tuned.

Professor Batlan on Religious Discrimination and Jewish Immigrants – Post 1

By Professor Felice Batlan

Religious Discrimination and Jewish Refugees

Writing as a legal historian, I want to say that President Trump’s Executive Order of January 27th regarding immigration and refugees was entirely unprecedented but it was not. What I can say is that looking back at immigration laws and policies, like those in the Executive Order, we can see how they were entirely misguided and driven by racist stereotypes.  I briefly want to point to two such events involving Jewish refugees and immigrants.

In 1892 poor Eastern European Jewish refugees attempting to enter the United States spent months in U.S. quarantine under the mistaken belief that they were carriers of typhoid and later cholera. Such hysteria was driven by the wide-spread stereotype that such Jews were dirty, dangerous, and that they polluted the Christian body of the nation. Protecting the nation’s security was thus mapped on to the Jewish body. At the time, no one brought a habeas petition on behalf of those detained. Rather Jewish charities and others cooperated with officials hoping that the ban would soon be lifted.

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Progressive Advocacy in the Age of Trump

The ACS Chicago Lawyer Chapter and the Chicago-Kent College of Law and Northwestern University School of Law Student Chapters hosted a panel discussion on progressive advocacy and activism under the Trump administration.

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Centennial Lecture: “Preserving the International Rule of Law in the Trump Administration” by Harold Koh

Professor Harold Koh of Yale Law School delivered Chicago-Kent’s annual Centennial Lecture, titled “Preserving the International Rule of Law in the Trump Administration,” on January 31, 2017.

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