Author Archives: Andrew Hessick

Abusing Discretion in Sentencing after Beckles

by Andrew Hessick — Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2017@andyhessick

Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided Beckles v. United States. The case involved a challenge to the federal sentencing guidelines. Section 4B1.1 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines prescribes a sentencing enhancement for certain criminal defendants if the offense of conviction is a “crime of violence.”  At the time of Beckles’s conviction, the guideline defined “crime of […]

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Washington State’s Standing To Challenge the Immigration Executive Order

by Andrew Hessick — Monday, Feb. 6, 2017@andyhessick

This past week Washington state jumped into the fight against President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration, filing suit in district court in Washington. The district court issued a nationwide temporary stay of the order, and the United States has now appealed to the Ninth Circuit. One of the major issues in the case is whether […]

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Standing and the Emoluments Clause

by Andrew Hessick — Monday, Jan. 23, 2017@andyhessick

Today, a group of constitutional law scholars apparently plan to file a federal lawsuit alleging that President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause because his hotels are receiving payments from foreign governments.   Although the meaning of the clause is up in the air, roughly speaking the clause prohibits federal officials from taking payments from foreign […]

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Some Thoughts on Jared Kushner and the Anti-Nepotism Law

by Andrew Hessick — Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016@andyhessick

  In the past week, there has been a lot of discussion whether Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Donald Trump, can serve as an advisor to Trump when he takes office. The concern is that hiring Kushner might violate the anti-nepotism laws. Under 5 U.S.C. § 3110(b), a “public official” cannot “appoint” or “employ” a […]

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Expected Strategies for the New Administration

by Andrew Hessick — Monday, Nov. 14, 2016@andyhessick

As the Trump administration prepares to take over, it has revealed some of the policy changes it plans to implement. These include reducing environmental restrictions, amping up enforcement of immigration rules, and deregulating businesses.  Trump’s administration will no doubt want to implement some of these changes faster than would be possible through the notice-and-comment- process.  […]

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Auer, Mead, and Sentencing

by Andrew Hessick — Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016@andyhessick

Hear Auer deference, and you’re unlikely to think of criminal law.  After all, Auer deference is a doctrine of administrative law, and administrative law has traditionally been viewed as separate from criminal law.  And it’s true, Auer deference does not often come up in determining whether a substantive criminal violation has occurred. But Auer deference […]

A Sleeper Auer Case

by Andrew Hessick — Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016@andyhessick

Auer deference — the deference an agency receives when interpreting its own regulations — is one of the most powerful tools for the government in administrative law. But the doctrine has faced increasing criticism. Opponents have argued that the doctrine enables agencies to circumvent procedural safeguards by promulgating vague rules through notice and comment and […]

Legislative Efforts to Overturn Chevron

by Andrew Hessick — Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016@andyhessick

Chevron deference is a central feature of administrative law. But criticism of the doctrine has grown recently. One prominent example comes from Justice Thomas’s concurrence last year in Michigan v. EPA, which argued that Chevron deference is inconsistent with the Constitution. Although other justices have said that agencies have grown too powerful, none of those […]

Schwartz and Nelson on the SEC’s Regulation of Conflict Minerals

by Andrew Hessick — Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016@andyhessick

In Business Roundtable v. SEC, 647 F.3d 1144 (D.C. Cir. 2011), the D.C. Circuit held that the SEC must justify all its regulations promulgated under the National Securities Market Improvement Act through cost benefit analysis. Cost-benefit analysis makes sense for many SEC regulations because they focus on easily quantified matters. But they make less sense […]

Should Judges Who Sit on the Sentencing Commission Rule on the Legality of Sentencing Guidelines?

by Andrew Hessick — Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015@andyhessick

A few weeks ago, in United State v. Matchett, the Eleventh Circuit rejected a void for vagueness challenge to the career offender Sentencing Guideline, U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2), which contains language that is identical to statutory language in 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B). The U.S. Supreme Court found that statutory language to be unconstitutionally vague at the […]

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