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    02.17.17 Law School Launches Discussion Series on Presidential Powers
    Legal Lunch
    Photo credit: Rob Abruzzese, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

    On Feb. 15, Brooklyn Law School launched Legal Lunches, a series of talks for the Law School community and the public about the critical legal issues arising under the current presidential administration.

    Vice Dean William Araiza and Professor Sabeel Rahman kicked off the series with their presentation “Executive Power: Orders, Appointments, and Regulations.” They explained the scope of executive power, which is delegated to the president by Article II of the Constitution and by statutes through the legislative branch, and outlined the external and administrative limits on that power. They also discussed the typical informal and formal practices for vetting executive orders, noting that the current president has changed many of those longstanding norms.

    Rahman listed several areas in which he expects debate, tension, and possibly litigation to arise in the near future: the state of judicial review of agencies that fail to act on changed regulations, the principle that agencies must follow their own regulations, and what counts as a substantive change of law requiring a comment period.

    “The executive’s power is incredibly broad, and he has lots of discretion,” Rahman said. “But remember that case law is a product of crisis. We may well see a lot of new law that changes the executive’s power and how that office functions.”

    Among the questions from the audience was a query about how current laws may apply to many of the president’s unorthodox, informal operations.

    “To the extent that things happen informally, via tweets or in-person visits, and that’s how policy is made, formal rulemaking doesn’t apply,” said Araiza. “To the extent that administration happens informally, there will have to be new informal mechanisms for transparency.”

    The Legal Lunches series, launched by Professors Stacy Caplow and Maryellen Fullerton, provides students and the community with information and background about the law and legal structures in order to better understand significant actions taken by the Trump administration. 

    “These politicized times present a profound challenge to the rule of law. They also present an important teaching opportunity for the BLS faculty,” said Fullerton. 

    Caplow added: “In our community outreach we’ve learned that many in Brooklyn don’t know what their rights are. They’re grateful for the chance to ask how the law applies to the rumors they’ve been hearing.”

    Legal Lunches take place from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in the Student Lounge. Upcoming Legal Lunches include:

    Thursday, Feb. 23
    Trump and Religion
    Professor Nelson Tebbe
    Professor Susan Herman, President of the ACLU

    Tuesday, Feb. 28
    Presidential Immigration Powers: Visas, Refugees, and Sanctuary Cities
    Associate Dean Stacy Caplow

    Professor Maryellen Fullerton
    Professor Dan Smulian

    Monday, March 6
    Trade, Tariffs, and Taxes
    Professor Julian Arato
    Professor Rebecca Kysar

    After Spring Break, the Legal Lunches series will resume with talks focused on gender and reproductive rights, LGBT issues, climate change and the environment, the Affordable Care Act and health policy, Dodd-Frank, and more.