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The Judiciary Can Corral the Administrative State, but Only the People Themselves Can Tame It

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 2:35pm
The executive power of this nation would, James Madison wrote in Federalist 48, be “restrained” within a “narrow compass.” The judicial power could, in his view, be “described by landmarks still less uncertain.” It was against “the enterprising ambition” of the legislature, he believed, that “the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust …

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Knick v. Scott Township: Whack-a-Mole at the Supreme Court

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 5:54pm
Today’s Supreme Court argument in Knick v. Scott Township made clear that state and local governments are playing Whack-a-Mole with private property rights. Whack-a-Mole is the arcade game in which every time a mole is whacked down, a new one pops up. At issue in Knick is whether to overturn the Court’s 1985 Williamson County …

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Wicker Convenes First Committee Meeting of the 116th Congress

Excerpt from Chairman Wicker’s opening statement, as delivered, below:

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The bar has indeed been set high.  This committee accomplished a great deal last congress, and I look forward to similar successes this congress.  

In particular, I see this committee focusing on a number of primary objectives across the committee’s broad jurisdiction.

Broadband connectivity is the digital engine driving investment, innovation, and productivity in virtually every economic sector in the United States. 

Although we have made significant progress on wireline, wireless, and satellite broadband deployments over the years, more needs to be done to close the digital divide, particularly in rural America.  

This process should start with collecting standardized and accurate data about where reliable fixed and mobile broadband already exists and where it does not – both in my state of Mississippi and around the country.  

Data is critical to delivering broadband to rural communities that lack service.

We will also continue the committee’s efforts to maintain U.S. leadership in 5G, the next-generation of broadband services. 

To that end, modernizing outdated rules that delay and add unnecessary costs to broadband infrastructure deployment and making more spectrum available for commercial use will be critical to our nation’s success in developing a reliable, resilient, and secure 5G network.

Robust and reliable broadband connections underpin the internet marketplace where innovative applications and services are taking on more significant and vital roles in our lives.

Maintaining consumer trust and confidence in this marketplace is critical to preserving a prosperous and thriving digital economy in the United States. 

A priority of this committee will be to protect the privacy of consumers’ data in a way that promotes industry transparency, consumer choice, and innovation.

We will continue our efforts to keep the skies safe and foster American leadership in outer space.  These efforts will include oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration and the safe integration of unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace.  They will also, I hope, include a commercial space bill and a National Aeronautics and Space Administration reauthorization. 

With creation of a new security subcommittee, we will be able to focus on supporting the organizations — such as the Coast Guard, Maritime Administration, and Transportation Security Administration — whose efforts strengthen the nation’s economic prosperity and security. 

I hope these efforts will include Coast Guard and Maritime Administration reauthorizations, support for the American maritime industry, and a focus on the national security dimensions of agencies and issues under the committee’s jurisdiction.   

I look forward to the committee continuing its work on improving the nation’s infrastructure and safety. Work this congress will likely include a pipeline safety reauthorization as well as the reauthorization of the FAST Act.  

We will also focus on motor carrier safety, multimodal freight, as well as our nation’s rail and Amtrak and look forward to working with the administration on shoring up the highway trust fund, as well as meeting the nation’s ever-increasing infrastructure needs.  

This is by no means a complete list, although it has been a lengthy one — there are many other high priorities the committee will consider.

I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on a range of issues important to their states and to all Americans. 

I thank my colleagues again for giving me the opportunity to lead this great committee.

Executive Session

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. to consider and approve the rules for the committee and to ratify Subcommittees and Subcommittee assignments for the 116th Congress.

Agenda:

1.    Rules Governing the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 

*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room 106
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov

Ranking Member Maria Cantwell Opening Remarks

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and let me congratulate you on taking the gavel of this committee and for your past leadership here in the Commerce Committee on a myriad of important issues. You mentioned several of them: communications, fisheries, oceans issues – I didn’t quite hear ship building, but I’m sure it’s a high priority for the people of your state and for our nation as well. I know my colleague, Senator Sullivan and I, we’ll be a constant pest on building an Arctic fleet for the future and recapitalization of the many assets that the Coast Guard needs. We thank you for your leadership on many of those issues and look forward to working with you in your capacity as Chair of this committee.

I also look forward to helping to tackle many of the issues that you just mentioned, but before I start, I just want to point out the number of employees that this committee does have oversight over: the 55,000 TSA workers who are working without pay, and the 400 NTSB employees who are currently furloughed, and many others who are involved in the government shutdown. So I hope one of the things that we can get working on is how we get our government back open.

I also too want to thank Chairman Thune and former Ranking Member Nelson for their leadership on this committee. Obviously the hard work that it took to get an FAA bill, to basically get the reauthorization of the Coast Guard legislation, and the important upgrade to TSA security were all landmark pieces of legislation passed by this committee in the last Congress, and I want to congratulate them and thank them for their hard work on that.

I also look forward to working with Senator Thune as the new Subcommittee Chair on Communications and wanted to just mention that I do thank Senator Nelson for his great leadership on the space program and his continued focus on fighting offshore drilling. I certainly look forward to working with our colleague from Texas on his chairmanship of the Space and Aviation Subcommittee as well.

As the Chairman mentioned, we have new members to the committee, and I want to introduce and thank the committee members on our side. I actually think in total, Mr. Chairman, we have a record number of woman serving on a Senate committee, so I’m very proud that we have so many women. Hopefully we’ll put our imprint on what we think the economy of the future looks like and what we need to do.

But I want to welcome Senator Sinema to the committee. Obviously Senator McCain was a long-standing member and former chair of this committee, but Senator Sinema brings a very big consumer advocacy and technology focus to this committee, working on both cyber and technology privacy issues in the House. And we welcome her to the committee.

And I also want to welcome Senator Rosen to the committee who, if the Senate ever needed a true coder – sometimes people call me the “high-tech” senator, but I guarantee you, you are now meeting the true high-tech senator who knows several languages in coding and her strength and knowledge coming to the United States Senate on workforce and STEM issues is going to be a great reward.

I too welcome the new Republican members as well: Senator Scott and Senator Blackburn.

As you said, Mr. Chairman, the committee has had a long record of working together in bipartisan fashion. You mentioned many of those things that we have to tackle: investing in infrastructure, strengthening cyber security, expanding rural broadband, boosting commercial space, continuing our aviation modernization, protecting consumer privacy and data, addressing oceans and fisheries and climate change issues, working on America’s competitiveness, as this committee has often done to meet the challenges of an international marketplace.

And we believe that the economy of the future is one that we need to invest in, whether it is science, R&D, or skilling a workforce. But we also believe that we have to protect consumers, particularly in the areas of privacies and product, nor do we want to shy away from those. No matter what the name of the subcommittee is, we’re going to continue to focus on that consumer advocacy. So I look forward to working with all members of the committee on both sides of the aisle on these important issues.

I would be remiss, though, if I did not mention on of my predecessors from this committee: Senator Warren Magnuson. Senator Magnuson, from the state of Washington, served as the chairman of this committee for 23 years. So hard to understate the significant or importance of this. Senator Magnuson, in those 23 years, helped shepherd changes to the 1964 Civil Rights Act Section 2, helped for the first-ever label warning on cigarettes for the dangers of tobacco, helped – with many of our colleagues – introduce the recognition that automobile manufacturers had to report defects, and many, many other things, including the very important work he did with Senator Stevens on the creation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act that really did save the American fishing industry and create it into a multibillion dollar sustainable industry that we have today.

So I thank my colleagues for allowing me make those remarks. Again, Mr. Chairman, I’m excited to work with you as you take the gavel of this committee and look forward to a productive few years here of what we can accomplish for the people of the United States of America.

Quality Control at a Sustainable Cost: Blockchain Solutions for Bank Secrecy and Anti-Money-Laundering Compliance

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 2:19pm
Featured Expert Contributor, Legal & Regulatory Challenges for Digital Assets By Daniel S. Alter, a Shareholder in the New York, NY office of Murphy & McGonigle P.C. I’ve banged on this drum before in American Banker but—given recent and exciting developments in blockchain technology—it’s time to beat on it again.  The costs of Bank Secrecy …

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Ninth Circuit Judges Call for En Banc Review of FTC’s Authority to Obtain Monetary Relief

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 1:01pm
Featured Expert Contributor, Antitrust & Competition Policy — Federal Trade Commission By M. Sean Royall, a Partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, with Blaine H. Evanson, and Richard H. Cunningham, Partners, and Brandon J. Stoker, an Associate, with the firm. Click here for a printer-friendly version of this post. Less than two years ago, …

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Wicker Announces Subcommittees and Chairmen

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced the committee’s six subcommittees and the respective chairmen.

Committee Announces Organizational Meeting

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. to consider and approve the rules for the committee and to ratify Subcommittees and Subcommittee assignments for the 116th Congress.

Agenda:

1.    Rules Governing the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 

*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room 106
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov

Wicker Named Chairman of the Commerce Committee

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today issued a statement after being named chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Thune Congratulates Wicker on Being Named Chairman of the Commerce Commitee

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who has served as chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for the past four years, issued the following statement on thedecision made by the committee’s majority members to elect Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) as the next chairman.

Airbnb v. NYC: Data Collection and Fourth Amendment Protection

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 3:35pm
During 2018, the hand-wringing demands for “better” protection of online consumers’ privacy (despite the likely costs, some of which we documented here) grew to a fever pitch. Easily forgotten amid the cacophony is data-collecting companies’ own expectation of privacy in their extremely valuable property. A federal court decision last week provides a timely reminder that …

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Update: Solicitor General Encourages SCOTUS to Review Vast Expansion of Clean Water Act

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 10:05am
A November 2018 commentary by our Featured Expert Contributor on environmental-law matters, Samuel Boxerman (with Ben Tannen), discussed two related petitions for certiorari pending at the U.S. Supreme Court that presented a novel Clean Water Act question: whether a discharge through groundwater is an addition of a pollutant to waters of the United States from …

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End the Endless Extensions of the Seal Period in False Claims Act Qui Tam Cases

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 01/03/2019 - 12:02pm
Featured Expert Contributor, False Claims Act Stephen A. Wood, Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. For a printer-friendly PDF of this post, click here. The False Claims Act’s qui tam provisions permit private persons or entities to bring suit in the name of the government against defendants who are claimed to have violated the law.  An action …

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Thune Statement on FCC Confirmations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement on the Senate’s confirmation, by voice vote, of Geoffrey Starks to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a term through June 2022 and an additional term through December 2023 for FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.

“The agreement to pair and confirm these nominees finally gives us a full FCC to decide important questions about spectrum management, the deployment of broadband to underserved communities, and building next generation wireless networks,” said Thune. “I congratulate Geoffrey Starks and Brendan Carr on this Senate action allowing them to turn their attention toward work benefiting the public.”

The Commerce Committee approved the nomination of Starks on June 20, 2018. First confirmed to the FCC on August 3, 2017, the Commerce Committee most recently approved Carr’s nomination for a second term on January 18, 2018.

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Thune Statement on Confirmation of Patrick Fuchs to the Surface Transportation Board

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Patrick Fuchs to the Surface Transportation Board (STB):

“I congratulate Patrick on his confirmation to serve on the Surface Transportation Board,” said Thune. “His knowledge and expertise as a member of the Commerce Committee staff has been a vital asset over the past four years. I wish him the best of luck and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Patrick Fuchs currently serves as a senior professional staffer on the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation & Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security and has been with the committee since January 2015, prior to that he was with the White House Office of Management and Budget.  

The STB is the independent federal regulatory body responsible for economic oversight of the nation's freight rail system. Run by a five-member bipartisan board serving five-year terms, the STB has regulatory jurisdiction over railroad rates, mergers, service, line acquisitions, new rail-line construction, line abandonment, and other rail issues. The STB was created by Congress in 1996 as the successor to the Interstate Commerce Commission.

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Thune Statement on Confirmation of White House OSTP Director

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement on the Senate’s confirmation, by voice vote, of Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier to serve as the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

“The Senate has confirmed a highly respected scientist and academic to help further our nation’s economic competitiveness and national security,” said Thune. “I’m looking forward to working with Dr. Droegemeier and expect his leadership will benefit the scientific community and our nation.

The Commerce Committee approved Dr. Droegemeier’s nomination by voice vote on September 5, 2018.

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Congressional Investigations and the Attorney-Client Privilege

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 9:00am
Featured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with Emily R. Garnett, an Associate in the firm’s Denver, CO office. As Democrats assume control over the U.S. House of Representatives for the next Congress, many insiders …

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Games People Play: Supreme Court Can Put a Stop to an Obvious CAFA Workaround

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 12/27/2018 - 9:00am
Featured Expert Contributor, Litigation Strategies Joe G. Hollingsworth, a Partner at Hollingsworth LLP, with Katharine R. Latimer, a Partner at the firm and a member of WLF’s Legal Policy Advisory Board. A printer-friendly PDF version of this commentary is available here. Earlier this fall, the Supreme Court took up the Class Action Fairness Act of …

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WCOE December Legislative Burst

More news - Wed, 12/26/2018 - 12:06pm
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