Today a reporter reached out to me about some of my older tweets.

Specifically, she sent a list of tweets, from 2014 to 2017, which pertained mostly to gender identity — that is, to then-burgeoning policy debates related to gender identity, or to particular transgender people (Chelsea Manning and Caitlyn Jenner). She asked if I had any comments about those tweets, and how my views might affect my public work on constitutional issues.

Suffice it to say that trying to think hard about old tweets is is strange experience—trying to remember what occasioned the tweets, or what I meant by…

On reactions to the Supreme Court’s religious liberty decisions after Bostock

Sometimes history seems just “one damned thing after another.” Sometimes Supreme Court opinions seem that way, too.

The Court issues its decision one at a time, or maybe a handful in a day. We read the latest opinions on scattered subjects; if a particular case involves an issue we care about, then we declare victory or defeat—for that day, at least. Tomorrow will bring new wins and losses.

But the justices themselves experience something totally different. The case that they decide one day has been argued, drafted, deliberated, and decided within the Court’s walls over the course of months, all…

Reading “Witness” in the era of “Defund the Police,” “MAGA,” and “Flight 93 Elections”

I’m often reminded of Whitaker Chambers,* and all the more so lately.

For the last few years, I’ve watched, astonished, and wondered how so many political elites and intellectuals could be so easily seduced by iconoclastic and anti-institutional movements. In all of this, I’m reminded of Chambers’s Witness—specifically Chapter 3, “The Outrage and the Hope of the World,” which begins with Chambers’s explanation of how men become Communists. It feels as relevant as ever today, in the era of “Defund the Police,” “MAGA,” and all the rest.

So here are some long quotes.

Whittaker Chambers, 1948

Sooner or later, one of my good…

As Ezra Klein notes, our political system is dysfunctional, and Congress’s decline is a major part of that problem.

After a brutal week, from the murder of George Floyd to the riots in America’s capital and other cities, Ezra Klein compares our moment to the 1960s and laments that today’s dysfunctional political institutions make our social problems even worse:

But there was one thing the 1960s had, that we, today, do not: a political system designed to absorb conflict and find consensus, or at least stability. I do not seek to smother the age in nostalgia. That calm was often purchased at terrible moral cost, as in the union of Dixiecrats and New Deal Democrats that upheld segregation for…

(Originally posted at the Yale Journal on Regulation’s “Notice and Comment” blog.)

Yesterday the White House issued a new executive order titled “Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.” It is intended, most immediately and obviously, to amplify the economic recovery so sorely needed amid the Covid-19 crisis. But President Trump’s order could have significant long-term effects, because it contains what we can think of as “pilot projects” or “case studies” for broader and more fundamental administrative reforms.

[Update: the order has been published as E.O. 13924.]

The executive order’s immediate impact is to align agency regulatory programs…

(Originally posted at the Yale Journal on Regulation’s “Notice and Comment” Blog.)

By the time he actually signed it, President Trump’s “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” was no surprise. His complaints about social media platforms, and his calls for Congress to rescind Internet platform companies’ immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, are long-familiar refrains. More recently, he practically shouted his intentions to take unilateral action. And in the final days of the process, a draft copy of the order was widely circulated online.

But perhaps because of the prolonged public debates of the social media “fairness…

No, President Trump is not being impeached for things that all presidents do. And he’s not like Lincoln in the Civil War, either.

The Peacemakers

During the Cold War, William F. Buckley Jr. would sometimes poke fun at those who tried to equate the CIA with the KGB. He recounts this in Miles Gone By (2004):

[Some say] there is little to choose between the KGB and the CIA. Both organizations, it is fashionable to believe, are defined by their practices. …

Before we turn the calendar to 2020, I have a few thoughts on the merits of the House’s impeachment of President Trump, and on the Senate’s trial of the House’s impeachment.

I started writing about impeachment in July 2018, with a long Weekly Standard essay on “The Coming Constitutional Storm.” A few months later, when Democrats won control of the House, I warned in The Bulwark that the Trump Administration would likely undertake massive resistance to House oversight, expanding the Obama Administration’s own approach.

In October, as the House opened its impeachment inquiry, I wrote about the collision of the…

Or, a View from the Justice Department’s Summit

The Justice Department’s recent “Summit on Modernizing the Administrative Procedure Act” proved to be a great step toward the goal of reforming the APA to reflect and respond to modern administrative reality. If you were interested in the event but couldn’t attend, then you can find the videos online: here, here, and here. The text of Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen’s keynote remarks are also available, here.

APA modernization needs substantial involvement and direction by the Justice Department, because the Attorney General and his colleagues are uniquely well situated to analyze both the practical reality of the modern administrative state…

This week I’ll leave the Hoover Institution, my professional home for the last few years. And because I am leaving with a heart full of gratitude for the institution and my colleagues, I want to take a moment to say “thanks.” This place, which I’ve admired for so long, changed my life. I will be forever indebted.

The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace has no peers in the worlds of academia or public policy, precisely because it lives in both of those worlds. It was founded 100 years ago, by Herbert Hoover, to be part of his beloved…

Adam J. White

I’m a resident scholar at AEI, and a law professor at George Mason University, directing the law school’s Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State.

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