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Category Archives: Government Documents

Democratizing the Senate from Within

Gould, Jonathan and Shepsle, Kenneth and Stephenson, Matthew Caleb, Democratizing the Senate from Within (March 25, 2021). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 21-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3812526 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3812526

“The U.S. Senate is an undemocratic institution in two respects. First, the filibuster rule allows a minority of Senators to block a final vote on most measures. Second, the Senate’s malapportionment means that a Senate majority often represents a minority of the population. Eliminating the filibuster would address the first problem but would exacerbate the second. Most proposals for addressing the Senate’s malapportionment either do so only indirectly and contingently, or would require unlikely changes to the Constitution or constitutional doctrine. We therefore propose that the Senate replace its current filibuster rule with what we refer to as a “popular-majoritarian cloture rule.” Under this rule, a motion to close debate and proceed to a final vote would carry if but only if supported by a majority coalition of Senators who collectively represent a larger share of the population than those Senators in opposition. This rule, which would be a constitutional exercise of the Senate’s power to set the rules of its proceedings, would make the body more democratic, legitimate, and functional, and would be prefer-able both to the current filibuster rule and to simple majority rule. The democratic illegitimacy and dysfunction of the U.S. Senate as it currently operates justifies the consideration of institutional reforms that might seem, at the moment, both extreme and unlikely. Repairing American governance requires fixing the Senate, and our proposal illustrates one way to democratize the Senate from within.”

Juneteenth holiday marking end of slavery becomes law after decades of inaction

Washington Post: “President Biden on Thursday signed into law a measure that establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday, taking advantage of sudden and broad bipartisan agreement to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States after years of debate and inaction. In signing the measure — which resulted in an unexpected day off Friday… Continue Reading

Indicators of Broadband Needmap

“NTIA’s Indicators of Broadband Need User Guide – The Indicators of Broadband Needmap was created by the United States Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The map brings together several different datasets to show information on broadband availability within the United States. Layers in this map were created using data from the… Continue Reading

Making climate impact science more accessible to the public: ISIpedia launch

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research: “Decision-makers on all levels are provided with a new tool to tackle the climate challenge. Data and explanations on global warming impacts – from floods to droughts – are made more accessible to the public by a team of 12 international research institutes. Today, they launch the online portal… Continue Reading

Atlantic Council – China-US competition: Measuring global influence

“There is a lot of discussion these days about China’s growing influence around the world relative to America’s—and how this sprawling contest for clout is shaping the future of geopolitics.Now we have a way to track and quantify this intensifying competition across time using the Formal Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC) Index, a new measure of… Continue Reading

Senate approves bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

S.475 – This Act may be cited as the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act”. AP: The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make Juneteenth, or June 19th, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The bill would lead to Juneteenth becoming the 12th federal holiday. It is expected to… Continue Reading

New Documents Show Trump Repeatedly Pressed DOJ to Overturn Election Results Before Inciting Capitol Attack

House Committee on Oversight: “Ahead of Hearing on Insurrection, Oversight Committee Releases New Evidence and Seeks Transcribed Interviews with Key Officials Washington, D.C. (June 15, 2021) — Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released new documents showing President Trump’s efforts to pressure the Department of Justice (DOJ)… Continue Reading

G.O.P. Bills Rattle Disabled Voters: ‘We Don’t Have a Voice Anymore’

The New York Times:  “Legislation across the country would restrict voting methods and accommodations that people with disabilities are disproportionately likely to rely on… For years, advocates have worked to mobilize Americans with disabilities — more than 38 million of whom are eligible to vote, according to researchers at Rutgers University — into a voting… Continue Reading

DOJ requested data on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses from Apple

CNN – “The Department of Justice sent a broad request in February 2018 to Apple as part of its investigation that collected data on members of Congress, staffers and their families. The department demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses from Apple, the company said Friday evening. Apple received the subpoena from… Continue Reading

Private Sector Implications of Biden’s Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk

Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: “The Biden Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk (the Executive Order) is the latest significant step by the Administration to analyze and mitigate the risks that climate change poses to the U.S. economy, businesses, workers and the financial system. [1] It aims to advance the Biden Administration’s policy… Continue Reading