Friday Roundup, June 7th

  • June’s Liberty Forum is an exotic one that evaluates the deficiencies of the presidential system and separation of powers in the protection of liberty. Frank Buckley’s lead essay, “A New Critique of American Exceptionalism” posits that

These findings will come as no surprise to anyone who has examined the empirical literature on liberty and constitutional design. Parliamentary governments, which lack a separation of powers, rank significantly higher on measures of political freedom. That’s not to deny that America is one of the freest countries in the world. It’s simply to assert that it wasn’t the presidential system that made the difference. What makes America exceptional is that it has for more than 200 years remained free while yet presidential.

Criticisms follow from Jim Rogers and John Yoo who each question Buckley’s use of empirical findings and his more theoretical arguments on the weaknesses of presidential and separation of powers governments v. parliamentary democracies in protecting freedom.

As I explain in this article, OIRA’s actual practice in reviewing agency rules departs considerably from the structure created by the executive orders governing OIRA’s process of regulatory review. The distribution of decision-making authority is ad hoc and chaotic rather than predictable and ordered; the rules reviewed are mostly not economically significant but rather, in many cases, are merely of special interest to OIRA staffers; rules fail OIRA review for a variety of reasons, some extra-legal and some simply mysterious; there are no longer any meaningful deadlines for OIRA review; and OIRA does not follow – or allow agencies to follow – most of the transparency requirements of the relevant executive order.