Uncommon Knowledge
Are There Limits on Emergency Powers? With John Yoo and Richard Epstein

Are There Limits on Emergency Powers? With John Yoo and Richard Epstein

January 25, 2019

Recorded on January 17, 2019.

Can a sitting president be indicted? What emergency powers does President Trump have to build a border wall and stop the government shutdown? Richard Epstein and John Yoo sit down with Peter Robinson to answer these legal questions and more regarding the constitutional powers of the presidency, the state of the Supreme Court, the Mueller investigation, and the legality (or lack thereof) of indicting a sitting president.

As the country continues to deal with a partial government shutdown, Epstein and Yoo address the shutdown, the likelihood of its coming to a timely end, and what kind of bipartisan compromise could end it. Yoo suggests that one potential outcome would be that Democrats require the legalized status of DREAMers in exchange for border-wall funding. Epstein argues that President Trump will have to cave if services like TSA screening begin to shut down from lack of funding. They both agree that the longer the shutdown goes on, the more likely citizens are to get increasingly frustrated with both parties, regardless of the moral stances the party leaders are taking.

For what and when can a president declare a national emergency? Epstein and Yoo dive into the history of national emergencies and presidential emergency powers. They discuss which presidents have declared national emergencies in the past and for what reasons, who has the standing to stop a national emergency, and the fact that no court has ever reversed a national emergency. (In 1952, during the Korean War, President Truman issued Executive Order 10340, which ordered US steel mills to operate despite a nationwide strike because Truman wanted to keep materiel flowing to the front. The court concluded that seizing the mills was a legislative act that could only be authorized by Congress.)

Epstein and Yoo discuss William Barr, President Trump’s newly appointed attorney general, and his congressional-hearing questions about the Mueller investigation. They discuss Barr’s legal background, his personal relationship with Mueller, and the likelihood that he would fire Mueller if asked to. Yoo argues that the best course of action for the Mueller investigation is to allow Mueller to clear Trump of any wrongdoing, which would put a stop to any Democrats’ arguments to the contrary.

 

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Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny

Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny

January 15, 2019

Recorded on December 7, 2018

How did Winston Churchill defend the British Empire throughout his life? Andrew Roberts, the Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, brings keen insights into the life of Winston Churchill with the book Churchill: Walking with Destiny.

Roberts was given exclusive access to extensive new material: transcripts of war cabinet meetings, diaries, letters, and unpublished memoirs from Churchill's contemporaries. The royal family permitted Roberts to read the detailed notes taken by King George VI in his diary after his weekly meetings with Churchill during World War II. 

Roberts analyzes the life and policies of Winston Churchill and how he worked to save the British Empire and the world, with the help of the Allies, from the evils of Nazism. The Allied victory in WWII was in large part because of Churchill’s brilliant strategy as well as his conviction to never give in and to defend the British Empire at all costs.

Roberts talks about Churchill’s personality as an intensely passionate man who was known to burst into tears in the middle of Parliament. Roberts notes that Churchill’s long military career made him indispensable and the ideal wartime prime minister.

In addition to having saved the British Empire from Nazism, Churchill has much to teach us about the challenges leaders face today—and the fundamental values of courage, tenacity, leadership, and moral conviction.

Roberts said the key thing to remember about Winston Churchill is that he never gave in. This sentiment was expressed by Churchill himself in 1941 at Harrow School, where he said, “[S]urely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

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