Magazine February 6, 2017, Issue

Pangloss and the Bureaucrats

Law’s Abnegation: From Law’s Empire to the Administrative State, by Adrian Vermeule (Harvard, 272 pp., $39.95)

On June 4, 2013, President Obama announced three nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the court that hears the lion’s share of legal challenges to federal regulations. Less than six months later, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) invoked the “nuclear option,” ending filibusters for lower-court nominees and ensuring the trio’s quick confirmation. This move created a decisive Democratic majority on the court.

Senate Democrats were eager to fill the D.C. Circuit bench so as to eliminate a potential threat to Obama’s regulatory legacy. Perhaps, if Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule is to be believed,

To Read the Full Story
Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Against Big-Government Conservatism Samuel R. Staley argues for a permanent revolving-loan bank (“The Infrastructure Bank We Need,” December 31). Staley conditions his proposal on the bank’s being “properly designed and constrained,” ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ So there were no left-wing Puerto Rican transsexual terrorists in federal prison? ‐ Representative John Lewis (D., Ga.) announced that he would skip Donald Trump’s inauguration: “I don’t see this ...
Politics & Policy


AT THE CHAPEL OF THE PINK SISTERS The crosses on the convent roofs Gleam sharply as the sun comes up. — Wallace Stevens, “Botanist on Alp (No. 2)” The March wind blows past the ...


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