Using Left Wing Institutions for Right Wing Purposes

While I am often critical of the left, there is one area where one must admire their accomplishments: the left is extremely good at designing institutions that promote their agenda.  In fact, some of these ideas have been so good that the right has copied them, with success.

One traditional area where the left has promoted its agenda is through “public interest” law firms.  The various law firms, such as the ACLU and the NRDC, bring lawsuits that have had enormous impact.  Over time, the right has formed its own law firms which have also had significant effects.

Another area where the left has been extremely successful is with the development of administrative agencies.  Such agencies are able to avoid the limits of the legislative and judicial processes to promote their (often left wing) agendas.  The right has not quite caught on to what the left is doing, but I have offered a proposal for them.  The Congress should establish an administrative agency with the authority to deregulate.  Thus, delegation – which has been the motor of regulation – could be used to promote deregulation.

The left though has not simply used agencies, it has also been innovative in extending the reach of these agencies.  For example, as interpreted, Title IX requires recipients of federal funding to appoint at least one person as a Title IX coordinator.  Moreover, the Office for Civil Rights appears to require that they spend their full time on Title IX matters, which means that a school cannot simply use one of their existing administrators, but must hire an additional person for the job.  As a practical matter, such persons share the agenda of the Office for Civil Rights and may operate much as an agency official who is employed by the educational institution.  Such officials have the added advantage of having an interest in the expansion of the agency’s power and mission.

A similar phenomenon occurs in the area of private companies that engage in government contracting.  These contractors have an incentive to promote big government, since it enhances their income.  Moreover, these contractors can lobby separately in the political process than the agencies that they assist.

The right could use the model of the Title IX coordinator to further its agenda.  I don’t like the expansion of government in this way.  The best thing to do would be to eliminate these coordinators.  But if they are going to exist, there is a strong argument for the right to employ them as well.  In my next post, I am going to describe an area where the right might use this power to push back against left wing bias in the universities.

Mike Rappaport

Professor Rappaport is Darling Foundation Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism. Professor Rappaport is the author of numerous law review articles in journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Virginia Law Review, the Georgetown Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. His book, Originalism and the Good Constitution, which is co-authored with John McGinnis, was published by the Harvard University Press in 2013.  Professor Rappaport is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where he received a JD and a DCL (Law and Political Theory).

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  1. Derek Simmons says

    Your examples are all well and good, BUT……
    You left out the all important Law Professors, without whom we would never train up the Progressive Judges who give gavel to all those Progressive Preferences.

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