Supreme Court

Elena Kagan and Executive Power


The New York Times' Charlie Savage reports that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is no enemy of executive power:

For decades, presidents of both parties have sought to impose greater White House control over the federal agencies that regulate matters like workplace rules, food and drug safety, and protections for natural resources. Elena Kagan, the Supreme Court nominee, has been a strong supporter of such efforts to expand presidential power over domestic affairs, her writings show.

Ms. Kagan's nomination has come at a time of intense controversy over federal interventions in the financial, auto and health care industries. But her views may elude partisan fodder over Big Government: Her approach would be equally useful for a President Ronald Reagan, who wanted agencies to weaken regulations, as for a President Barack Obama, who generally wants stronger rules.

"She clearly thinks that greater presidential control over the bureaucracy is a good thing because it can bring vigor to government," said David F. Engstrom, a Stanford law professor of administrative law. "She thinks that is important in light of political gridlock in Washington."

Read the whole thing here. Read Reason's Kagan coverage here.

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  1. Are we honestly surprised by this?

  2. “She clearly thinks that greater presidential control over the bureaucracy is a good thing because it can bring vigor to government,”

    I agree with that to. I would like elections to mean something rather than have a bureaucracy that goes merrily on no matter how much the electorate disapproves.

    1. That is what CONGRESSIONAL elections are for.

    2. Sorry, John, but i totally disagree with you. more “vigor” in government means _less_ consideration for electorate disapproval. All they have to do is “tweak” the FCC and its increased “vigor” will shut down all dissent. I would love for elections to mean something. I strenuously doubt that’s what Kagan wants. After all, who appoints the top bureaucrats? NOT the voters. Who does she want to “invigorate”? Elected officials? Or bureaucrats? Don’t trust pie-in-the-sky promises. Kagan wants power, for herself and her benefactors. People are sheep who need to be herded, to her. She’s probably already got the robe.

  3. greater presidential control over the bureaucracy is a good thing because it can bring vigor to government

    As long as it’s *balsamic* vigor.

    Seriously, what does that even mean?

    1. It means “if that mean other party in Congress dares to question what the President wants to do, the President should be able to do what he wants anyways”

  4. President Ronald Reagan, who wanted agencies to weaken regulations…


    1. WOW!

      1. So, Max… how’s Obama doing on that War on Drugs?

        1. If you like burned to death 7-year-old girls, then you’d have to say he’s doing great!

          1. Yeah, but it’s still Reagan’s fault, according to Max, even though he knows damned well the War on Drugs started in the 1930s.

            But, yeah, anything to defend Obama, eh?

            1. According to your own Radley Balko, Reagan started the war on drugs in its present form. Sorry to mess up your simple-minded true-believer shit with an uncomforable fact. Close your eyes and plug your ears until it goes away.

              1. Read your fucking history, Max. Reagan may have accelerated the WoD, but it was around for decades before he ever got into politics.

                Oh, and keep defending Obama for NOT doing anything about it.


                  Starting point for you, Max. The internet is a wealth of information. Use it. And stop being a dumbshit.

                  1. What are you trying to do, upset the natural order of things?

                    Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and Max has to be a dumbshit.

              2. Yeah Reagan was bad on a lot of issues. Go to Townhall if you wanna piss off Reagan lovers.

    2. Max, go back to Bumfuck, Retardia already.

  5. Administrative agencies are already too powerful. Giving the president more control over them could result in crippling Congress even more than it’s crippled itself already.

    1. But Pro, if no the President who? I don’t think it is a good idea to have agencies operating independent of political control.

      1. Congress. ProLib even made that clear, “crippling Congress”.

        This is why Ron Paul’s idea of 100% of federal funds being earmarked is a good idea. Give the bureaucrats no say in how the money is spent. They still have to execute the spending, which gives them enough power, dont let them decide where too.

        1. That would never work. The government is too big. We would just have budget being written by lobbyists and the idiot sons who work as hill staffers. As bad as it is now, that would be worse.

          1. Part of the growth of government came from allowing Congress to–in my mind, anyway–improperly delegate legislative power to executive agencies. If the courts had stopped that (or if Congress had), then government might be a little more bound by what Congress could manage. Probably not, but maybe.

            1. My grandmother thinks it came from air-conditioning the capitol, so Congress could stay in Washington during the summer instead of returning to their districts. But your theory is pretty good, too.

              1. Conundrum for Chad:

                Air conditioning contributes to global warming, but removing it from Capitol buildings would mean Congress doing less of The Good Works because they’d be all sweaty and uncomfortable and thus not focused on growing government to its fullest potential.

                Oh, cruel fate.

  6. “She clearly thinks that greater presidential control over the bureaucracy is a good thing because it can bring vigor to government,” said David F. Engstrom, a Stanford law professor of administrative law. “She thinks that is important in light of political gridlock in Washington.”

    Another vote in favor of an Imperial Presidency. Yay.

    1. Onward to invade and kill

  7. “She thinks that is important in light of political gridlock in Washington.”

    When was the last time there was real gridlock? The Prez and Congress have been invading countries, handing out free drugs, lowering the taxes and tariffs, raising the taxes and tariffs, increasing regulations, decreasing regulations, limiting free speech, and a bunch of other stuff, like crazy since I was born in 1971, like double crazy since Sept 11 2001, and like triple crazy since the housing crash.

    1. About 2 months in 1995.

  8. I don’t suppose the day will ever come when a SCOTUS revisits the issue of why we allow the executive branch, via its agencies, to write and impose laws that are not adopted by Congress.

    This is just deck chairs on the Titanic stuff. The real problem is that agency rules have the same effect as Congressional legislation.

    1. I don’t expect to see such a revisit. It could bring *way* too much “vigor”.

      1. It’s pronounced vigah!

  9. LOL, How about Kagan and her executive ugliness? LOL


  10. How much sense does this make? Our duly elected, and at least somewhat able to be influenced congress fails to pass new restrictions on us, so the president/agency just enacts a regulation to do the same thing. Who cares what the people think, or whether congress is opposed enough to not get it passed.

    Sure, government has more ‘vigor’ that way. They get more done, but it’s almost exclusively getting stuff done, we the people don’t want.

    1. “Who cares what the people think, or whether congress is opposed enough to not get it passed.”

      Don’t let Congress off of the hook. Congress can overrule any regulation if it chooses to. The current system allows them to evade responsibility.

  11. Let’s be realistic here. If she questioned executive power, there’s no way in hell she would’ve been nominated in the first place.

    1. Good point. The real question for all of us is whether she supports executive power, or executive power only when there is the right executive in power.

  12. Part of the growth of government came from allowing Congress to–in my mind, anyway–improperly delegate legislative power to executive agencies.

    Working out all those pesky details is boring.

    Besides, it interferes with the REAL business of Congress: campaigning for re-election.

    1. +1

  13. Elena walked into the shadowed rotunda and took her place in the exact center. Deeply recessed lights around the perimeter made tight circles on the granite floor of painfully bright light. From in-between the lights stepped nine robed figures. At the gesture of the tallest, a light stabbed down from the ceiling, pinning Elena. She could see The Justices now, grim and filled with hate.

    “Who now comes before us?” boomed Roberts, his voice clashing with its own echoes in the airy confines. “Kagen,” the others intoned, “sent to Us by The One.” Elena stood up as straight as possible at the mention of The One, the effort making her wattle quiver queasily.

    “Who speaks for this woman?” asked Roberts, with all the hollowness of meaningless ritual. “No one must,” the rest answered, “For she was sent to Us by The One.”

    Roberts walked forward and after a beat the others followed. He pulled from his robe a crumbled sheet of thick paper. He tilted it so that she could read it in the light. Elena could make out the familiar words: “We the People?” The rest was obscured by nine fat lines of dried shit.

    “On your knees,” Roberts said.

    Elena dropped down, accustomed to following orders without thought. Looming over her, face shadowed once more, Roberts said “Hold out your hands.” Scalia let out a hysterical giggle and Roberts turned and backhanded him to the floor. Scalia’s smug grin was filled with blood when he finally stood. Ruth stooped down to run a finger through the blood when Roberts turned back, and then began to massage it into her crotch under her robe. Elena caught a glimpse of iron gray pubic hair and gagged.

    Roberts crumbled the paper into a rough ball in Elena’s hands. “What We do today, We do for Expediency’s Sake,” Roberts continued. “Expediency’s Sake,” the others replied. Roberts produced a match and struck it quickly on his front teeth. The paper in her hands caught quickly.

    “Wha-What are you doing?”

    “SILENCE!” Roberts thundered. “WE DO WHAT MUST BE DONE!”

    Elena looked away from the flames getting closer to her hands. The Nine were all holding their palms out toward her, each twisted and furrowed by scars. Elena knew what was expected.

    The fire was over soon, raising a mass of blisters. Elena rocked back and forth slightly as she waited for it to be over, the acrid stench of burning shit filling the rotunda. She waited until the last ash went out, hanging her head in pain. A warm splash hit her hands. Roberts was pissing into them–spraying really–through a small but tight erection.

    “Stand,” Robert’s said, almost gently, “and be welcome.”

    The Nine all pulled large, crude knives from the sleeves of their robes. Stevens tottered over and handed his to Elena. “Do it quickly, child,” he rasped, “and with no mercy.”

    Roberts stabbed him first, in the right kidney, but only lightly. Ritual demanded he survive for eight more. The rest fell upon him as Elena watched in horror. Bleeding, gasping on the floor Steven reached out for her. Knowing her place, she cut through the hanging folds of his neck as efficiently as the dull, pitted knife would allow. Stevens died, a constant stream of blood bubbling from his ripped open throat. They wiped their knives clean on his tattered robe and stored them. Elena tried to emulate them, but the sleeve sheath was unfamiliar and the knife clattered to the ground.

    “Leave it,” Roberts commanded, “it is time you know Our final secret.”

    The eight of them stepped back and dropped their robes as one. Elena thought first to look away, but then stared in terrible fascination. All eight of them had penises.

    Ruth and Sonia giggled as she looked as closely as she could. A distended clitoris. Just a distended clitoris.

    Roberts lifted his penis. “Behold,” he said. His scrotum had been split along the seam and the edges hung like veined labia around the testicular void. Elena’s bile rose at the mutilation.

    “All Supreme Court Justices are hermaphrodites. They have always been and will always be,” Roberts said. “And will always be,” the rest responded.

    “But? I’m not?” Elena protested.

    Roberts let out a grotesque chuckle.

    “You will be.”

    1. Is this available on the C-SPAN website?

      1. I think they are saving it for the launch of C-SPAN After Dark, the new adult channel.

        1. Sweet! I can’t wait for the Congressional Cage Fights “Beyond Capitoldome” broadcasts…

  14. Let me be the first to say: YOU PERVERT!

  15. Yeah, like government is not vigorous enough. Why have more laws and regulations and so on than have ever existed on earth, more than any 1000 individuals can comprehend combined.

  16. I should have learned the lesson long ago not to read this site during a meal break.

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