TrumpCast on Barr and the Imaginary Unitary Executive

I talked to Virginia Heffernan on her podcast TrumpCast yesterday, posted today: “Worst AG, Barr None.”

Link here.

Those who think Barr is an evil genius are half right. He’s not only the worst Attorney General in American history. He’s not even a good lawyer or a competent fixer. He just pretends to be one on TV. Virginia talked about his series of legal and historical errors, from the likelihood his efforts to help Flynn will backfire… to his SDNY firing fiasco… to his ahistoric myth of the Unitary Executive.

The papers I refer to are posted here:

The Indecisions of 1789: Strategic Ambiguity and the Imaginary Unitary Executive (Part I)
The Decisions of 1789 Were Non-Unitary: Removal by Judiciary and the Imaginary Unitary Executive (Part II)
We ran out of time, but I noted the inconsistency of the DACA dissenters on Slate’s TrumpCast (linked below). Thomas, joined by Alito and Gorsuch have subscribed to the unitary theory in cases like Free Enterprise, and appear poised to embrace the theory again in Seila Law/Trump subpoenas, but did not defer to President Obama’s discretion to create DACA. For what it’s worth, I think Thomas’s opinion is generally right on DACA and administrative law, but the conservative Justices’ inconsistent interpretation of presidential power depending on which party holds the White House is rather remarkable.

Author: Jed Shugerman

Legal historian at Fordham Law School, teaching Torts, Administrative Law, and Constitutional History. JD/PhD in History, Yale. Red Sox and Celtics fan, youth soccer coach. Author of "The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America" (2012) on the rise of judicial elections in America. I filed an amicus brief in the Emoluments litigation against Trump along with a great team of historians. I'm working on "The Rise of the Prosecutor Politicians," a history of prosecutors and political ambition (a cause of mass incarceration), and "The Imaginary Unitary Executive," on the myths and history of presidential power in America.

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