Did the Senators’ Letter to Iran Concede Too Much?

At Opinio Juris, Julian Ku thinks maybe it did.  I agree. As background, 47 U.S. Senators took the unusual step of sending a letter to Iran explaining how the U.S. Constitution works with regard to international agreements.  Again via Professor Ku, here is the core of the letter: [U]nder our Constitution, while the president negotiates…

Details

Boehner’s Plan for Netanyahu to Address Congress is Unconstitutional

As has been widely reported, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress.  If Congress does host the speech, would it be unconstitutional?  Peter Spiro at Opinio Juris suggests that it would.  I agree.

Details

Originalism and the Two Narratives of Halbig

Halbig v. Burwell, the ACA subsidies case, has two competing narratives.  In one version, it is an epic battle between textualism and contextualism.  The statute (says one side) clearly says subsidies are available only for insurance exchanges “established by [a] State” and the federal exchange is obviously not established by a state.  But (says the other side) surely Congress could not have intended a situation in which subsidies were not available on the federal exchange, so to make sense of the statute one should not read it narrowly but with regard to what makes the most sense of Congress’ intent.

Details

National ‘Harmony': An Inter-Branch Constitutional Principle and its Application to Diversity Jurisdiction

Jesse Cross (Independent) has posted National ‘Harmony': An Inter-Branch Constitutional Principle and its Application to Diversity Jurisdiction (Nebraska Law Review, Vol. 93, p. 501, 2014, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Most constitutional interpretation continues, in the words of John Hart Ely, to be “clause-bound” in nature: it presumes that each constitutional clause can be studied…

Details

ISIS and War Powers

Recent events in Iraq seem to pose a challenge to a limited view of presidential war powers.  Suppose, the argument runs, a fast moving threat to U.S. national security arises quickly, at a time when Congress is not meeting.  Containing the threat depends on a fast response — but if the President must get Congress’ approval to act, action will come too late.  

Details