Beyond Trump: Threats to the Presidency

New York University Student Chapter

9:30 AM, PANEL I: History of the Balance between the President & Congress: Congressional Government?

President Woodrow Wilson wrote scathingly of the ‘Congressional Government’ period that followed Andrew Johnson’s impeachment. But was that such a bad thing? What will the Trump years do to the balance of power between Congress and the Presidency? What ought that balance look like? This panel is to include both legal and non-legal historians, to make sure we have as full a Grand Strategy and normative perspective on these questions as possible.

● Trevor Morrison (NYU)

Michael McConnell (Stanford)

● Gillian Metzger (Columbia)

● Adam White (George Mason)



11:00 AM BREAK


11:10 AM PANEL II: The Perils of Litigating Separation of Powers: Nationwide Rule by a Friendly District Judge?

Bluster and pandering to one’s base are as old as campaigning, and while @realDonaldTrump is a new phenomenon, it’s unlikely to be the last Presidential Twitter account (though it may remain an outlier). Until now, courts have tended to avoid evaluating Presidential actions in light of campaign rhetoric—but is that changing? Should it? Recent rulings on immigration and sanctuary cities suggest yes to the first question, at least. Pending litigation on the Constitution’s emoluments clause, and commentary on impeachment have also focused on Presidential motives, suggesting that otherwise licit executive action may be impermissible in light of the President’s campaign remarks. These cases also illustrate the potential perils—but perhaps necessity?—of nationwide injunctions from a friendly district judge.

● Josh Blackman (South Texas College of Law)

● Samuel Estreicher (NYU)

● Bob Bauer (NYU)

● Max Raskin (NYU)




1:10 PM PANEL III: Foreign Policy and National Security

Foreign policy and national defense are two areas in which the ‘vigor’ and ‘dispatch’ of the Executive Branch have historically been considered especially vital. Yet the Church Committee established after Watergate is but the most famous of many times that a shift of power from the Executive to Congress has had a substantial impact on national security. Concerns about President Trump specifically may be combining with general questions raised by sixteen years of war, terrorism, and surveillance to create another such rebalancing. Are they—and if so, what should we learn from previous such situations?

● Jamil Jaffer (George Mason Univ.)

● Samuel Issacharoff (NYU)

● Catherine Powell (Fordham)


2:40 PM KEYNOTE: Hon. Michael Mukasey (Former Attorney General of the United States)


3:40 WRAP-UP

Additional Speakers: Samuel Issacharoff