tv Acting Asst. Attorney General Chad Readler CSPAN January 7, 2018 4:33am-5:12am EST
resisting some of franklin roosevelt initiatives, there needed to be a coalition. he had to reach across the aisle. >> q&a tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. reidler, acting assistant attorney general for the civil division, the justice discusses, immigration and sanctuary cities. it is about 40 minutes. it is about 40 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. good afternoon and welcome to the ashland center. as you all know we were to celebrate constitution day. this sunday, september 17 marks the 230th anniversary of the date when the delegates in philadelphia concluded the work of the constitutional convention. they sent the constitution to the people beginning one of the greatest ten-month debates in american history over the ratification of the constitution.
ashbrook has provided copies of their final product to tens of thousands of teachers and students all across the country, and you all have a copy of this at your seat today. to celebrate constitution day we are honored to have with us chad readler who was appointed as acting assistant attorney general for the civil division at the united states department of justice on january 30, 2017. in this role he oversees the largest litigation team at the department of justice with over 1100 lawyers and manage over 50,000 different matters each year. the civil division represents the united states and a wide array of civil litigation including challenges to presidential executive orders, congressional statutes, federal agency actions, commercial disputes including contract disputes, banking, insurance and patents, international trade matters and enforcement of immigration laws.
i felt being someone from ohio who has known our speaker for quite a few years, i try not to hold it against him, but his undergraduate and graduate degrees are from the university of michigan and he still root for them over the buckeyes. but soon after that law degree he clerked for judge noris of the u.s. court of appeals for the sixth circuit, before joining the department of justice, he was a partner at jones day having successfully argued before the supreme court of the united states, the ohio supreme court and lower appellate courts. he is also known for his commitment to pro bono clients. as americans we live in the greatest experiment in self-government that the world has ever seen. it is reassuring to me to know that in this constitutional self-government that we have men like chad who have devoted their lives to defending and protecting our constitution. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming assistant attorney general chad readler.
[applause] >> well, thank you. good afternoon. i had in my nose to thank roger for that warm introduction. [laughter] we start to their off course for a second but i think overall i can say thank you. but most than poorly thank you to all of you for joining us in this celebrating, or the celebration of the constitution in advance of constitution day. of all the many events and individuals with honor in our
country, it's difficult to think of a more taxable event in our nation's history than the adoption of the constitution. and more impactful individuals than its signers. so i think the ashbrook center for reminding all of us of the constitutions significance through its constitution day celebration. and a reminder we all need from time to time some more than others, some of you may seen the story on cnn.com yesterday i think done in advance of this constitution day celebration, not today but other broad one, and according to that story one in three americans could not name a single right protected by the first amendment. in roughly the same number could not name a single branch of government. i know from roger anyone associate with ashbrook could in roughly the same number could not name a single branch of in roughly the same number could not name a single branch of government. i know from roger anyone associate with ashbrook could ace any constitutional quiz but we had some educating our peers out there. speaking of roger let me say he is a terrific leader at ashbrook. in roughly the same number could not name a single branch of government. i know from roger anyone associate with ashbrook could ace any constitutional quiz but
we had some educating our peers out there. for the last five years we had the pleasure of serving together on the ohio constitutional modernization commission would look at a a different constitution and try to think about ways to suggest ways to modernize the constitution, big and make some the language easier to follow or more tied to modern-day practices. as you can imagine, this took us into a a whole host of areas a really deep legal discussion about constitutional meeting in constitutional interpretation. it was no surprise that roger has lights the intellectual four of those discussions, but it was not until our sometimes two or service together i learned roger was not a lawyer pics of this was really remarkable to me that he didn't have formal legal education. from rogers perspective he had to spend time with a bunch of lawyers and maybe that's a rose your situation thought about it was but either way it was wonderful to serve on the commission editor with roger and i think you have an extremely capable leader here. it's great you back in ohio, as roger mentioned, i for the last 19 years practiced law in
columbus until i took a job in january with the department of justice in washington here i don't get back to ohio for the midwest as often as i'd like, but what better time and the way to come back and to celebrate constitution day with all of you. i was doing research on the topic of constitution day before i came and i was actually quite pleased to discover i was one of the first states to celebrate constitution day. my research that i first uncovered suggested that ohio first celebrated constitution day in 1952 and that some individuals from ohio then took the movement nationally and ultimately convince congress and president eisenhower to sign a law creating constitution week. now, i did a little research and found it a number of other states also claim, lay claim to the same title having been the essence aspiration behind constitution day so much i'll be able to sort out that debate today, but i am certain that ohioans are happy to share that honor just as the framers of the 13 original states share in a
collective effort to draft and ratified our constitution. so while we can debate the origins of constitution day, we can surely all agree that the constitution itself means far more to our nation that a single holiday could ever reflect. as history has revealed, government and nations throughout times have come and gone. often crumpling crumbling under the weight of pressures impose by imperfect systems of governing and representation. but here we are in america in 2017, a nation of free people in a free society. more than 240 years after declaring it necessary for the united states to resolve the bonds the joint it to england and institute a new government and one that among all else would protect liberty. how has our nation endured into its along with some others have not? more than anything else, i will submit to you that we have our constitution to thank for our continued longevity, prosperity and freedom. it may sound clip at first to describe the constitution in this way.
how you might ask can such an honor be the stowed upon a single document of just over 1000 words in length? how can the signing of one paper by just over three dozen men rank among our nation's most historic events? a history that spans from lexington and concord to the civil war to the two world wars that followed. the answer in my mind is our constitutional protection of liberty, justice and democracy, which together paved the way for so many of our future successes. the constitutions enact that was far from certainty in the summer of 1787. spurred by use -- and unrest by the people, the delegates to the constitutional convention arrived in philadelphia in may of that year with conflicting
instructions from their respective states and an unclear relationship with the congress of the existing articles of confederation. yet the delegates saw the way to frame the document that would serve as a stable foundation for an enduring nation. the ideas, the struggle of interest and the clash of personalities shaped many of the clauses of our constitution. for instance, governor morris of pennsylvania, his then often confused with the title governor, which he never held, sparked many conflicts. 0the most frequent speaker at the convention, he was passionate argument, and ostentatious. best known for his abolitionist views, moore's sparked one fervent debate after another including one over his proposal that language authorized in the congress to print paper money he stripped from the draft constitution. a new york representative responded it would be better to have no constitution than to adopt his proposal. in the end morris carried the day believing it successfully barred the federal government from issuing paper money. but his perceived victory proved
-- as your wallet will suggest. as congress later recognize and authoring the circulation of our national currency, removing the affirmative power to print money is not the same as forbidding the printing of paper money. on the other hand, benjamin franklin, a very senior statesmen at the time of the convention, showed the power of quieter leadership. he rarely spoke his views on substantive matters choosing instead to have james wilson read his remarks for him. when franklin did speak it was often to deliver a story, tell a joke or propose a position that would be embraced by none of the other delegates. statesmen at the time of the convention, showed the power of that just a stillborn suggestion that public officials not be paid. franklin was not without influence.
in fact, one georgia delegate went so far to describe franklin as quote able to make the very heavens all day. franklin himself believe many of the specifics were less important than there be constitution at all and so his approach aim to defuse tension and to encourage goodwill across the delegations. this approach positioned him to reshape the great compromise over proportional and equal representation into a plan the delegates could swallow. indeed in the end much of the constitution was a result of compromise and thoughtful negotiation. we are all fully with some of the fairly well-known compromise in the constitution including the three-fifths three-fifths compromise to shape breakfast station in southern states. many lesser-known changes born from compromise also had lasting
effects on our nation. the constitution's preamble we the people originally was written to say we the people of the states of new hampshire, massachusetts, connecticut and so on. had that stood the constitutional amendment process would have required every time we added a new state so we dodged a bullet there i think. the incompatibility clause originally provide cinders were barred from of the public office for a year after leaving the senate. that would have precluded many prominent appointments, most recently senator sessions appointed to serve as the attorney general of the united states. our nation's leader had earlier draft prevail would of been referred to as as the president but instead his excellency picks up think about that for a
minute. then the art edits that were rejected and here's my favorite. a delicate propose limiting the size of our standing army of 5000 soldiers. george washington who rarely spoke rose to state his opposition. he said, i should be holy in favor of this proposal picky needs only to be expanded to officer that are also require that note any shall ever invade with more than 5000 troops. [laughter] so the adoption of the constitution did not into philadelphia. ratification was no less dramatic. a story of opponents and proponents seeking to secure support for their positions. with proponents caring today but often by very slim margin in individually that occurred in each of the 13 states. in contrast to the convention was a single remarkable assemblage of historic personalities. ratification of all the people and taverns and stables by leaflets and in newspapers debating philosophies and practicalities, the structure of government, its purposes and its limits. against that historic backdrop and with the passage of over two centuries, one might fairly expect that in at all possible constitutional questions would have been answered in our nation's history.
how the framers might as could the nation still be confronted with divisive constitutional convention over 200 years after the constitutions enactment? when so much went into its crafting and with the nation having century to sort out and lingering unanswered interpreted questions. suffice it to say, constitutional questions to remain. to day issues are debated through social media rather than leaflets, and on cable television rather than in the town square. but no matter the forum we still discuss the same constitution and the same fundamental questions over the balance of constitutional authority and a limitation. the department of justice and in particular the civil division where i currently serve plays a
unique role in resolving these constitutional questions. this is because of the civil division represents the united states, along with its agencies and departments, and its officers and employees, including in each of the branches of government in the most significant civil litigation matters in our country. many of these cases involve national policies, jurisdictional issues and other issues of such breadth that is important to ensure our government with a single voice on the law issues. nowhere is this more important than in the constitutional settings. in many of our most sensitive matters the civil division is charged with concerning how the constitution answer to these questions over the structure and authority of our federal government. and again despite our nation's 230 your constitutional history, the remains today no shortage of questions to be confronted or confronted a new about the meaning of the constitution and the limits it imposes. in fact, many of our nation's most contentious political issues debated in legislatures come in the media or at the watercooler, i'm not sure we have watercourse anymore. should say coffee shops, have at their the core a question of
constitutional dimensions. oftentimes records are left to resolve these matters leaving it to the nonpolitical branch of government to decide -- decide questions of debate. and so in a spirit of this constitutional day celebration, i would like to highlight some of the important constitutional questions the civil division is addressing today. some issues may be familiar to you, others may not, but all of which must be answered by the words enshrined in 1787. as roger mentioned i'm not able to discuss these cases at length but i would like to highlight a few for you to give the assent of the important constitutional questions that are being debated in the courts and being few for you to give the assent addressed by the department of justice. one of those is the ongoing litigation defending executive order 13780, which has the title protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the united states. that executive order about which
much has been said at bottom turns on a constitutional interpretation. in the order the president invoked his powers as commander-in-chief and as delegated to them by congress to suspend the entry for 90 days a certain foreign nationals of six countries that congress and executive producing designated as presenting heightened terrorism related risks. individual entities and states challenge in that order which prohibits the government from making any law respecting an establishment of religion. that issue which has been advocated on behalf of the government was done by the civil division and also in conjunction with the solicitor general office. the case is scheduled to be heard next month for the supreme court.
another matter of public discussion is a debate over sanctuary cities. that term sanctuary cities is using a host of context that it refers to a locality that adheres to immigration policies intention with those of the united states. here again the debate in many ways really have a constitutional question at its core. this time emanating from the tenth amendment. the tenth amendment reads that powers not delegated to the united states by the constitution nor prohibited by the states are reserved for states respectively or to the people. some localities assert any effort by the united states to require cooperation from those localities on immigration related matters usurped the powers reserved to the states. even where the cooperation is tied to an optional federal funding program. the civil division is litigating these questions as well come questions that underlie debates over immigration and law enforcement. beyond these two other publish eyes there is a litigation i suspect you are somewhat familiar with, the civil
division stack of any questions of law in the public eye. one case involves the interaction between the first amendment, a priority of framers and the ratifying states, and twitter come something foreign to those who gathered by horse and buggy in philadelphia in 1787. individuals who have been blocked as that term is used in the twitter context from accessing tweets from the real donald trump twitter account has a lawsuit of such blocking constitutes a restriction on their ability to participate in a designated public forum, namely twitter, in violation of the first amendment. the second set of case to ask whether the presidents private business activities run afoul of the foreign emoluments clause, heretofore provision of article one of the constitution. in relevant part that clause prohibits federal officeholders from accepting quote any present emolument office or title of any kind whatever. friend any prince, king of force
to the plaintiff makes the unique game for any visit by a foreign official to an establishment owned by the president constitutes the presidents except as of a foreign emoluments in violation of the clause. foreign official to an the final constitutional matter has an ohio tie. this is a case involving the the president article ii powers under the appointments clause which reads in part the president shall appoint officers of the united states. this provision has been read to allow the president to appoint such officers, for example, members of his cabinet, and to remove the offices as well for any reason. the congress has created what are called independent agencies that exercise executive power but are deemed independent
because the president can only remove the heads of those agencies for cause, for cause as opposed to for any reason. and not at will. those agencies have been run by committees but the congress in creating the consumer financial protection consumer financial protection bureau which is run by rich cordray created a single head of that agency that independent and thus removable only for cause and the question is that sort of arrangement infringes upon the article ii powers of the president. i cite these cases not to spark debate over the outcome but instead to provide examples of the important constitutional questions that continue to surface even today. it is the enduring legacy of the constitution both that individual are free to raise claims invoking the constitution and that these questionable in turn be resolved in an orderly
manner as envisioned by the constitutions carefully crafted separations of powers between the branches. now, if you're patiently waiting throughout this talk for the answers to these questions, i can only tell you that the department of justice will vigorously advocate its position in each. but i can offer some final vigorously advocate its position guidance on how one should go about answering these constitutional questions. that is to discern the constitutions original meaning. look to the constitutions text, structure and history to determine what the words of the constitution would reasonably have been understood to mean at the time of its ratification and apply that meeting to today's constitutional questions. interpreting the constitution according to its original meaning protects the rule of
law, giving the written constitution a fixed meaning that binds everyone, including judges. adherence to the constitutions original meaning honors the tireless work of its drafters and provides consistent answers to the most difficult of constitutional questions. the framers would expect nothing less. a closing thought. from my office window at the trends have a look at the national archives building. in the rotunda is the constitution. on two occasions now i've gone to view the constitution. each time noting the irony that in the building next door, department of justice lawyers spend days on end defending and interpreting and applying the words of this unraveled writing. on the paper itself is showing its age, but its relevance has never been greater. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, chad. that was great. appreciate it. let's start just with the constitution more broadly before we get to any modern issues. you and i spent a long time
looking at the ohio constitution and most state constitution have a different character to them than the federal constitution. they tend to be much, much longer. they go into far more detail. they've been amended far more frequently than the federal constitution. what do you think of the system that the founders set up that really make it very difficult to amend the constitution, that prevented it from becoming like state constitutions? has that added to its durability over the years? >> that's a wonderful question. the beauty in one sense of our federal constitution is its nature, 4000 words, fairly simply written and left to the people and the courts to
interpret over time. the process is truly difficult, three-quarters of the states, not something that's unfrequently and a something that's done lightly. our state constitutions serve a different role. the federal constitution authorizations power to the federal government. our state constitutions are limits on the otherwise plenary power that the status over citizens. in that sense they do serve different purposes. we do find in our state constitution and in other state constitutions that the amendment process is much easier than the m in a process federal constitution. we issued a lot of amendments to our constitution. we can debate whether those were good or bad, some you like, some you may not like but it does raise the question should all these policy issues, whether it's something related to healthcare something related to vote for something else, some of
these issues, should they be put these issues, should they be put in our constitution or should they just be the legislature as most lost our which then gives more flexibility and people find difficulties in executing the laws. when something is per into the constitution it can't be changed by legislature. they can be struck down by the court or amended in the future but it cannot be easily changed and so that's one of the beauties of it. i think we do need to think about the type of issues we want in that guiding document, the constitution, as opposed to matters of public policy result in the legislature where the legislative process can take place and loss can be amended as needed. >> i can't let pass the opportunity because we have so many high school students and college students here, just ask a couple of questions about your career path. all like to make lawyer jokes of course speed is i haven't made one. i showed restraint. can you talk about just looking back over your career now, which obviously has been a very successfully and private practice and then now moving to
the department of justice. what advice would you give to one of these students that they be thinking about possibly pursuing a law? >> law school is tough, so that's a tough three years with the amount of learning and growing you do personally is remarkable and it really sets you up for a great career. it may not be in law. a lot of people have law degrees ago want to do a a whole host of things, business, politics, health care, a whole number of areas of fields where the legal training you receive in law school is a huge benefit. so i wouldn't go to law school lightly. it's expensive, and it's three years ago life, but the skill you acquire are applicable in a whole host of settings and so you will see a number of people who have an quite successful, quite happy with what to do who
are lawyers for not practicing law. in fact, i think and fortune some of the happiest letters i know for the ones who don't practice law. but it will sink into fits of those who do practice all it's also a really wonderful opportunity, depending on where you're practicing, you're representing at a minimum a client who has a very important interest. if you're lucky enough you may be representing a state or a nation or some other entity, and that's a real terrific honor but responsibility. that something a lot about you when you go into court and represent a client that you are there on their behalf, and so it's a real, it's an honor but also a burden since your obligations to the court, to client you have to carry it. i've been lucky to both at some time in private practice, now working with the government. the law does allow you to get involved in a lot of other areas because whether people make a lot of lawyer jokes but the sometimes like having lawyers around on boards and other types of things. it will open up a lot of doors that way, and i think one of the
most lawyers would say when it thinks are probably appreciated most about their career is just the many options that gave in terms of what you wanted to do, wanted to do next. >> how about your move from ohio to d.c. in this new role? what has surprised you now that you are working in the department of justice? >> that's a great question. i will say i knew washington would be political. it may have been a little more political than i expected, but that is evening itself out a little bit. one of the great things not being at the department of
justice is a gives you a window into the entire federal government because our clients, whether it's the president, the congress, or essentially any federal agency, we represent all of them in their significant legal matters. on one case you are working with the department of state on the matter that has national implications, and then you're working with hhs on the matter regarding health care or the affordable care act. a lot of creation matters, a lot of financial and fraud related matters, so i get a window into really the whole range of operations of the federal government. that's been a really wonderful way to get introduced to washington. i'm it. i think i will probably come back to ohio at some point but it's been a really wonderful experience so far. >> so if you question from the audience. what is the biggest constitutional issue or controversy that america faces today? >> wow. i thought these would be softballs. i highlighted some of the cases
that are getting a lot of attention, and so those are sort of in the news quite a bit. but it do think the first amendment with all of its contours as you something that will always give us very interesting issues to discuss and debate, whether their issues related to certain kinds of speech, political speech, commercial speech, of the kinds of speech, what kinds the speech we allow, when we allowed. we have a rich tradition of by and large paving speech and virtually all context. the first amendment also covers the establishment of religion, which the government is prohibited from doing. there are also other religious liberties protection in the first amendment as well that allow the free exercise of religious beliefs. the first amendment is something that will always be an issue of attention given our rich tradition of speech, of public engagement, of the choice to practice religion are not practiced at all. i suspect it will be the same going forward. >> we seen many surveys recently that comes out around constitution day every every year showing citizens lack of understanding of the
constitution and that we need to do more to a people understand the importance and relevance of the constitution in their life. have you experienced that in your work at the department at all? has that affected just any of the more public interactions that you've had? or another way to look at it would be what could we be doing more to help people better understand the importance and relevance of the constitution? >> sure. distribute free constitution is a good start. there are a number of websites you can go to these days that have a really full some discussion of different aspects of the constitution. it's not hard to find information i suppose it's
trying to strike an interest in those issues and that's why in my talk i try to mention some hot button political issues and we don't really do core political issues at the department of justice but behind those are often constitutional questions. i think it's important to the public to keep in mind that the trying to strike an interest in constitution does drive a lot of debates. we always hope the congress knows the constitution because we defend their laws and it's much easier to do when they are constitutional. we always appreciate their attention to the constitution. but beyond that i would encourage you to maybe five claws or two that interest you, they be do some reading that and perhaps that would inspire you to be interested in other parts of the constitution. >> i'm not sure if this will apply to a case, so waive this off if it does, but do you think we are doing a good job of applying the constitution to modern situations involving technology? >> that's a great question because i think it is important to understand the original meaning of the constitution, certainly technology has moved beyond a think anything probably the framers would have imagined. this comes with a lot of
context. certainly in intellectual property law where people are trying to protect certain rights and technology has changed that quite a bit with social media issues, transportation and if the automated cars and all the to the legal issues that will create and perhaps even some constitutional issues. it's the case technology is raising a whole new wave of issues, but the import important thing i would say is all these questions can be answered in a consistent manner by referring back to the original terms of the constitution, what they are meant to protect another should be applied today. often we leave the two courts to make those determinations, legislatures have to take the constitution in mind when they're legislating by do something with about more of an
cases that raises issues. i can't talk about them today but stay tuned. >> i'll make this the last one. if the founding ravers would've written at the constitution with the knowledge of this era come to think they would've changed anything? >> that's a great question. i guess the answer, i don't know, but i think the framers had in mind that their words would carry forward and they were just writing for their generation or the next generation but they were writing for many future generations. i think they understood the words to provide in philadelphia would be ratified by the states would carry forward for many years. i hope they think we have been faithful to the words they wrote and their intent. i think we have by and large but that sort of the beauty of the constitution in that when you try to get a consistent meaning that it can be applied to any were just writing for their generation or the next modern day question we have, and we have a lot of those going on right now.
i've had to go back to work soon but a really appreciate you having me here today and appreciate you coming out to honor the constitution. >> thanks, chad. thank you. [applause] >> on newsmakers, maryland center chris van hollen who stares the democratic senatorial campaign committee talks about the possibility of democrats winning a senate majority in the midterms. newsmakers today at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> for nearly 20 years, in depth on book tv has featured the nation's best-known nonfiction writers for live conversations about their work. this year, special project, we are featuring best-selling fictional writers. in-depth: fiction addiction. joinedition.
join us for our first program with david ignatius, author of body of lies, bloodmoney. our special series with david ignatius today live from noon to 3 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. tonight, federal appellate judge john newman looks back at his 38 year judicial career in his book, benched. he is interviewed by richard blumenthal. >> as a judge for 35 years, having gone from that active life of making decisions and going to court and advocating a case to judging, was that a difficult transition for you and did you ever miss the life of advocacy? >> it was not difficult.
it has been for some i have it has been for some i have known. i have known people who became judges and so disliked the decision-making process that they left the bench. i was an advocate. i found the decision-making process, while it was different, enormously challenging and satisfying. i like being in a turning but i loved being judge because the opportunity to resolve disputes large and small, they all matter to somebody but some of them have a large public significance. that is a very satisfying role. on book tv onht c-span 2. >> now an update on the ongoing protests in iran. posted by the washington institute for near east policy. this is one ho