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Garrett Epps

Garrett Epps is a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He teaches constitutional law and creative writing for law students at the University of Baltimore. His latest book is American Justice 2014: Nine Clashing Visions on the Supreme Court.
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Imperfect Union: The Constitution Didn't Foresee Divided Government

November 18, 2014 “The president is completely ignoring the will of the American voters, who turned out on Election Day and overwhelmingly elected people who wanted to change the direction of the country,” Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, complained Thursday to The New York Times. Barrasso ...

Who Controls Foreign Policy – the President or Congress?

November 2, 2014 Americans don’t know whether their president should be more like Victor von Doom, whipping Congress into line, or like Jeeves the butler, murmuring respectfully, “Will that be all, sir?” The text of the Constitution provides remarkably little guidance on the question. Because disputes between the president and Congress usually are ...

Who Controls Foreign Policy: The President or Congress?

October 31, 2014 Americans don’t know whether their president should be more like Victor von Doom, whipping Congress into line, or like Jeeves the butler, murmuring respectfully, “Will that be all, sir?” The text of the Constitution provides remarkably little guidance on the question. Because disputes between the president and Congress usually are ...

The Constitution Is More Than Just an Obstacle To Fighting ISIL

September 17, 2014 Congress seems to be on track to authorize President Obama to address the situation in the Middle East. Strikingly enough, however, it is authorization for one small part of it—to provide arms to Syrian rebels. Currently, U.S. law prevents the president from transferring weapons to rebel groups, and Obama wants ...

Is There Any Rational Case for Banning Gay Marriage?

September 5, 2014 Competing with William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor once wrote, is an inevitably losing proposition: “Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled on the same track the Dixie Limited is roaring down.” Federal District Judge Martin Feldman may feel like that luckless muleskinner today. His decision affirming a state ban on same-sex ...

The Extreme Partisanship of John Roberts's Supreme Court

August 27, 2014 “Politics are closely divided,” John Roberts told scholar Jeffrey Rosen after his first term as chief justice. “The same with the Congress. There ought to be some sense of some stability, if the government is not going to polarize completely. It’s a high priority to keep any kind of partisan ...

Is Tennessee's Ruling Against Gay Marriage a Setback for the Cause?

August 14, 2014 The great streak of court victories for gay marriage was broken on Tuesday: A state court in Kingston, Tennessee, became the first to uphold a state ban on gay marriage since the Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor. The decision in Borman v. Piles-Borman, written by ...

Want to Search That Cell Phone? Better Get a Warrant

June 26, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow One smartphone owner in eight, Chief Justice John Roberts noted Wednesday, admits to sometimes taking a cell phone into the shower. (The other seven, I think, are probably lying.) Thanks to the Court, smartphone bathers can shower assured that even if the police burst in upon them like Norman Bates ...

How the Supreme Court Can Sidestep a Recess-Appointments Dilemma

January 14, 2014 Miguel Estrada, a conservative icon denied a judgeship by a recalcitrant Senate, may have just saved Senate recalcitrance. The first question to Estrada at the Supreme Court Monday was put by Justice Elena Kagan, his Harvard Law School classmate. (“Miguel and I were required to sit next to each other ...

Did Rand Paul Ask the Wrong Questions in His Drone Filibuster?

March 18, 2013 Even as redoubtable a liberal as the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson proclaimed that "Rand Paul was right." But was he? The drone issue is real, it is urgent, and the Obama Administration has not answered many legitimate questions about it. But the danger to our country is not the danger ...