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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The Nerd’s Dream Guide to the U.S. Constitution

August 12, 2016 There is something exhilarating about watching a national election pivot on the hinge of a pocket Constitution. Last month, Khizr Khan, a naturalized American citizen who appeared before the Democratic National Convention with his wife, Ghazala, taunted the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by pulling out a well-thumbed pamphlet and...

Is Trump Guilty of Inciting Violence Against Clinton?

August 10, 2016 Here is the most positive thing that can be said about the Republican presidential nominee in August of 2016: He probably didn’t commit a federal felony yesterday. As surely everyone knows, Trump told an audience in Wilmington, North Carolina, that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “wants to abolish—essentially abolish the Second...

The Smith v. Obama Case Asks the Courts' Opinion on the War Against ISIS

June 2, 2016 What is the most important responsibility of Congress? Is it protecting the security of the country, the integrity of its political system, and the lives of its military personnel by deciding when and how the U.S. should use military force? What if the president believed a military conflict was essential...

A Judge Shouldn’t Force Congress to Debate War

June 1, 2016 What is the most important responsibility of Congress? Is it protecting the security of the country, the integrity of its political system, and the lives of its military personnel by deciding when and how the U.S. should use military force? What if the president believed a military conflict was essential...

North Carolina's Constitutional Monstrosity

May 10, 2016 Pat McCrory, the beleaguered governor of North Carolina, says he signed the controversial “bathroom bill”—HB2—because cities’ local gay-rights laws were “local government overreach.” When the U.S. Department of Justice notified him that the bill likely violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he angrily called it “Washington overreach.” Now he...

Virginia Ex-Governor's Day at the U.S. Supreme Court

April 26, 2016 On April 22, Terry McAuliffe, the current governor of Virginia, issued an order restoring full civil rights—including the right to vote—to more than 200,000 Virginians who had been convicted of felonies. Until now, a felony conviction in the commonwealth had carried with it lifelong disfranchisement—unless a governor issued an individual...

'Deferred Action' for Immigrants Goes to the Supreme Court

April 18, 2016 Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in United States v. Texas, the challenge to the Obama administration’s “deferred action” immigration plan. The Court could decide this case in a number of ways, some very wrong and some less so. But there’s only one really right way to handle...

The U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Adopt an Alabama Ruling

March 8, 2016 The Alabama Supreme Court has had a rough week. On Friday, the court issued a one-sentence order admitting that “Erm, um, well, urm, okay, fine! Whatever! We really don’t have the authority to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges. Are you people happy now?”...

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up United States v. Texas

January 21, 2016 The state of Texas and its traditional enemy, the United States government, both got a small surprise on Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted review in the state’s challenge to the Obama administration’s program of “deferred action” for certain categories of undocumented immigrants. The grant wasn’t surprising. Lower courts...

Will the U.S. Supreme Court Gut Public-Employee Unions?

January 12, 2016 The most important fact about Monday’s oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is that this case—one of the most important of the term—will be decided on the basis of no facts at all. The petitioners in Friedrichs are asking the Court to hobble...

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