April 17, 2021

The Vacancies Act

February 22, 2021 guardrails93x 0

The current Vacancies Act, passed in 1998, is the latest iteration in an ongoing-struggle to balance the need for efficiency and continuity with the requirement that the Senate approve presidential appointments found in Article 2, § 2 of the U.S. Constitution. The statutory scheme is confusing, in that there is often more than one method by which a vacancy can be filled. It also allows the president to staff key positions for up to 17 months at a time with “acting heads” who have never been senatorially confirmed in their positions. If a president is willing to openly game the system, he can make do with unconfirmed executive officers for years. Should the Vacancies Act be reformed both to rationalize […]

The Electoral Count Act

February 5, 2021 guardrails93x 0

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 specifies the procedure by which Congress counts the votes of the Electoral College which determine who will be the next President of the United States. In the past, this has been a purely ceremonial event which merely confirms the results of the November election. In 2013, the process took a total of 23 minutes. Though it has not received much attention until this year’s controversy surrounding Republican efforts to challenge electoral votes from swing states, the ECA is often ambiguous. Moreover, it reflects certain nineteenth century assumptions that we no longer share. For example, the ECA assumes that counting Electoral College votes is a political process whereas we view vote counting – even Electoral […]