Book Forum

Lawless: The Obama Administration’s Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law

(Encounter Books 2015)

January 6, 2016 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST

Hayek Auditorium

Featuring the author David E. Bernstein, Author, Lawless, and Professor, George Mason University School of Law; with comments by Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow, Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute; and Simon Lazarus, Senior Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center; moderated by Roger Pilon, Vice President, Legal Affairs, Cato Institute.

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During his first presidential run, Barack Obama repeatedly promised to roll back the imperial presidency that had grown inexorably over the past half century. Then he was elected. Since 2009 Obama has claimed unprecedented power for himself while advancing a novel argument about his duty as president to ignore the separation of powers and act unilaterally to overcome congressional gridlock. “We can’t wait,” has been his refrain — though he has, of course, been unable to cite a “presidential power when Congress won’t act” clause in the Constitution in defense of his actions. In Lawless, George Mason University law professor David Bernstein takes readers on a whirlwind tour through the Obama administration’s bureaucratic overreaching; dubious assertion of executive authority over both foreign and domestic policy; unilateral changes, modifications, and delays to existing law; and implausible interpretations of constitutional law. Obama’s defenders, however, claim that he has actually been restrained compared to his predecessors and that claims of rampant illegality amount to not much more than partisan sniping. Who’s right? To help us untangle the legal web, the author of this provocative new book will be joined by Ilya Shapiro and Simon Lazarus.