When Deference Is Dereliction

Section 3331 of the United States Code prescribes the oath of office for the House of Representatives. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) has taken it 11 times, which is enough to commit to memory its opening pledge—to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; [to] bear truth…

Falling Down

All the participants in this discussion seem to agree that James Q. Wilson’s book, Bureaucracy, still offers valuable insights, a…

Accidental Wisdom from the Podium

When questioned recently about the administration’s Ebola response, President Obama’s exasperated White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, proclaimed to a…

From the Blog

Mike Rappaport
University of San Diego School of Law

Sexual Assault on the Campus

At present, this is clearly one of the significant issues in the culture wars.  My…

The Meaning of the Equal Protection Clause

Over at the Originalism Blog, Andrew Hyman has a post discussing the meaning of the…

Frozen: Politics in Disney Movies

I like to keep up with various types of popular entertainment.  So while I don’t…

John O. McGinnis
Northwestern University School of Law

The President’s Disregard for Constitutive Norms

Respect for our constitutive system can be as important as positive constitutional law.  Positive constitutional…

The Emptiness of Empathetic Judging

Dahlia Lithwick has recently complained that the Supreme Court is made up of elites. Hers…

Three Reasons to Reform Old Age Entitlements Now

In my last post, I showed that the younger generation is likely to live longer in…

Michael S. Greve
George Mason School of Law

EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Regulation Meets Federalism

Under the Constitution, states have no right to “interpose”—that is, to block the enforcement of…

How to Avoid Argentine Federalism

James L. Buckley is a former U.S. Senator, federal judge, and real-life saint. The Federalist…

D.I.G. King v. Burwell?

The hubbub over the ACA is getting weirder and weirder. Amidst other revelations, there appears…

Liberty Law Forum

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Competency in Administration: James Q. Wilson and American Bureaucracy

Ever since the reelection of President Obama, bureaucrats have been behaving badly. Conservatives may have steeled themselves to expect bad performance from bureaucrats at all times; but even fans of federal authority should be concerned about recent bungling and abuses. The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) required millions of Americans to sign up for health-insurance policies, but…

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Responses

How to Make the Bureaucracy More Accountable

Jeremy Rabkin has written a fine essay about the continuing relevance of James Q. Wilson’s 1989 book Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. I have been fortunate enough to benefit from Wilson’s analysis in my own writing on the Justice Department’s Office of the Solicitor General. His framework showed why the…

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Bureaucracy and Some Bureaucracy Problems

It’s Bureaucracy’s twenty-fifth birthday. To celebrate, let’s state some basic facts that correspond with James Q. Wilson’s thinking. Americans want a lot from their government. We want more than we’ve wanted before. It doesn’t ultimately matter where these desires come from (rising standards of living? the inner logic of democracy? interest groups? politicians?). What matters…

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When They’re Too Good at Their Job . . .

The 25th anniversary of James Q. Wilson’s Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It marks an appropriate occasion to reflect on the contributions of this work to our understanding of bureaucratic behavior and performance, and the extensive—and, at least in some areas, growing—presence of the administrative state in the lives of American…

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Falling Down

All the participants in this discussion seem to agree that James Q. Wilson’s book, Bureaucracy, still offers valuable insights, a quarter century after its initial publication. At the same time, we all seem to agree that Wilson’s book didn’t prepare readers for the scale of dysfunction we now see in the federal bureaucracy. We have…

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