Michael McConnell

Second Opinions
May 04, 2012

For the past few months, the legal discussion in Washington has centered around the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on health care reform. Far less attention has been paid to a decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on April 13—even though it may prove, in the long run, to be similarly significant. At first glance, the case, Hettinga v. United States, doesn’t seem to merit much attention, since it concerns a less-than-scintillating subject: the production and distribution of milk.

The New Vulnerability
June 07, 2010

Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It By Richard A. Clarke and Robert K.

The "Self-Executing Rule" Danger
March 16, 2010

Democrats appear likely, though they haven't fully decided, to pass health care reform via something called a "self-executing rule." Instead of passing the senate health care bill and then passing the changes to it in a separate reconciliation bill, they'd pass a reconciliation bill with a "rule" that deemed the Senate bill to have been passed. So, one vote instead of two. The tactic is called "deem-and-pass." The advantage of this procedure is that Democrats believe it will protect them against unpopular elements of the Senate bill.

The Accountable Presidency
February 01, 2010

Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush By John Yoo (Kaplan, 544 pp., $29.95) Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State By Garry Wills (Penguin, 288 pp., $27.95)   I. In December 2008, Chris Wallace asked Vice President Cheney, “If the president, during war, decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?” Cheney’s answer included a reference to a military authority that President Bush did not exercise.

Lemon Law
March 29, 1993

Can the state of Arizona pay an interpreter to sign the rosary for James Zobrest, a deaf student at a Catholic high school? Zobrest's parents claim Arizona misinterpreted the religion clauses of the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof") when it decided to put sign language interpreters in secular, but not religious, private schools. At oral argument on February 24, the justices joked about their incoherent doctrine for policing the Establishment Clause and the embarrassing results it has produced.