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Unlocking the Potential of the Congressional Review Act

February 23, 2022

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) permits Congress to overturn rules issued by federal agencies with a simple majority in each chamber. Traditionally, the CRA has been used as a negative tool, to cancel regulations adopted during the prior administration, including the 14 Obama-era rules Congress overturned during the first four months of the Trump administration. This Issue Brief by Professors Jody Freeman and Matthew Stephenson of Harvard Law School argues that the CRA's fast-track procedures have "substantially greater unrealized potential" and could be used as an affirmative tool to advance policy priorities without being subject to filibuster. In light of unprecedented congressional obstructionism, Freeman and Stephenson argue that exploring this nontraditional use of the CRA is "essential to the health of our democracy" and to returning Congress to its job of legislating.

Judicial Nominations Update December 2021

December 8, 2021

Every day our federal courts decide cases critical to our rights— from voting rights to environmental justice to immigrants' rights. Under the previous administration, judicial vacancies were filled at a rapid pace with conservative judges who were largely young, white men and oftentimes underqualified.The Biden-Harris administration and the Senate now have an opportunity to diversify the courts by nominating and confirming qualified diverse, progressive judges. With the new administration well into its first year in office and the Senate finished with the first half of its term, this report assesses the progress or lack thereof that has been made in these critical areas.

A Dangerous Adventure: No Safeguards Would Protect Basic Liberties from an Article V Convention

October 7, 2021

Despite their support for all kinds of constitutional amendments, many advocates on both the left and the right oppose the calling of a constitutional convention. This issue brief examines the main reason for this: namely that once an Article V convention convened, it could pursue any agenda it chose regardless of the original intent.