Michael S. Greve Website

Michael S. Greve is a professor at George Mason University School of Law. From 2000 to August, 2012, Professor Greve was the John G. Searle Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he remains a visiting scholar. His most recent book is The Upside-Down Constitution (Harvard University Press, 2012).

Regulatory Reform: A Brief Update

In last week’s post on the regulatory state I surmised that “a retrospective review of the [Obama administration’s] retrospective review exercise would prove it to be largely pointless.” Well, not quite. As the American Action Forum’s excellent Sam Batkins explains, agency review of old, outdated regulations has actually added some $14.7 billion in costs. Thank you, Doctor Sunstein. To the iron laws of the administrative state, we should add the following: It’s always worse than Greve thinks. Never permit the administrative state to look back. Instead, let the heralded purposes of Congress and of rulemakings past get lost in the vast hallways of the…

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Every Regime Gets the Lie It Deserves

political corruption

On my European excursions I’ve made it a habit of flipping through newspapers from Germany, Britain, and the good old U.S. of A. Lately and maybe belatedly, I’ve been struck by the sheer mendacity of politics on both sides of the pond. I don’t mean nasty little lies, fed by ambition (“I didn’t wipe my server; it’s the cleaning girl’s fault”), nor any of the stuff that earns you Pinocchios in the Washington Post. I mean deliberate falsehoods that are central to the operation of government—the “regime,” as Straussians are wont to say.

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The Regulatory State: A Modest Reform Proposal

Stack of compliance and rules books (clipping path included)

The Mercatus Center has just published a troubling snapshot analysis of the accumulation of regulatory mandates and restrictions since the Carter administration. Other analyses confirm the picture of a burgeoning regulatory state. My own favorite is the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual, invaluable !0,000 Commandments Report. But it’s the same picture wherever you look:

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Officer Removal, German-Style

Businessmen in rain

Last week, Germany’s chief prosecutor—Generalbundesanwalt Harald Lange—got himself fired. It’s a big enough deal to occupy the front pages and, in coming months and years, armies of administrative lawyers and scholars. The precise facts and circumstances are a bit murky, and the story is still unfolding. Enough is known, though, to invite some rule-of-law thoughts and a few cautious transatlantic comparisons and contrasts.

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Dodd-Frank’s Frankenstein Creeps Forward

frankenstein

Leave It to the States

Six or so out-of-town summer trips down, only four more to go before the start of the Fall semester—at which point I’ll be able to resume regular blogging, and maybe even some actual research and writing. Pending that merciful eventuality, here’s my Wall Street Journal review of Adam Freedman’s recent federalism manifesto, A Less Perfect Union: The Case For States’ Rights. I’ve met Adam occasionally at Manhattan Institute events. He’s a thoroughly good guy; creative thinker; great writer. Obviously I don’t agree with every chord in his federalism riff. Foremost: while Adam does a manful job in defense of “states’ rights,”…

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Musings on Our Ersatz Legislature

The United States Supreme Court decides only about 80 cases per term. (Why 80? There are 39 days for oral argument and they really can’t be bothered to sit still for more than two cases a day, or to add argument days.) That’s what any decent county judge handles in a week. Now, granted: normal judges just handle stupid stuff, like who goes to jail for how long or who owes money to someone else. In contrast, the Supreme Court’s business is really heavy, brother—so heavy that the Court has again left a ton of hugely important decisions for the end of…

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Perfect Ten

Ten dollars isolated on white background

At long last the U.S. Department of the Treasury has taken an action for which it actually has legal authority (the 1862 Legal Tender Act): it has decided to replace Alexander Hamilton’s image on the $10 bill with the picture of a woman. After extensive consultations with stakeholders, the Department agreed that the “New 10” woman must be a Cherokee. The nod eventually went to Chief Wilma Mankiller. In a somewhat testy Senate oversight hearing, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew regretfully informed the runner-up, Ms. Elizabeth Warren, that under binding law individuals—male, female, or other—who wish to appear on U.S. currency must…

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All the King’s Men

The Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell is due out shortly. As a special service to faithful and even occasional readers of this blog, I proudly present in the flesh, or at least in moving pictures, the obscure characters who produced the case. The highlight of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual dinners is a staff-produced movie, starring CEI’s magnificent principals and employees. This year’s movie, originally shown to great acclaim at this year’s June 11 dinner, appears here by special permission (thanks, Annie!). To catch all the inside jokes you have to know and work with these guys and gals—good,…

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