America is increasingly polarized around elections, but as James R. Copland explains, the unelected control much of the government apparatus that affects our lives. Congress has largely abdicated its authority. "Independent" administrative agencies churn out thousands of new regulations a year. Courts have enabled these agencies to expand their powers beyond those authorized by law-and limited executive efforts to rein in the bureaucratic behemoth. No ordinary citizen today can know what is legal and what is not. Some 300,000 federal crimes exist, 98 percent of which were created by administrative action rather than Congressional lawmaking.
The proliferation of rules and the severity of sanctions give enormous discretion to unelected enforcement agents-upending the rule of law. Private attorneys regulate vast swathes of conduct through lawsuits, based upon legal theories never voted upon by the people's elected representatives. A combination of historical accident, decisions by judges and law professors, and self-interested advocacy by the plaintiffs' bar have left the United States with the world's most-expensive litigation system.
Finally, state and local officials have increasingly pursued agendas to dictate the terms of national commerce. In reaching beyond their borders, these "new antifederalists" have been subjecting the citizens of Wyoming and Mississippi to the whims of the electorates of New York and San Francisco-inverting the constitutional design. In this timely new book, Manhattan Institute legal scholar Copland discusses how unelected actors have assumed control of the American republic-and where we need to go to chart a corrective course.
An expert in law and economics, James R. Copland is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, where he has directed legal-policy research since 2003. Government decision-makers and business leaders alike regularly turn to Copland for advice. He has testified before Congress, state and municipal legislatures, and international bodies; he has spoken before multiple federal conferences, commissions, and agencies; and he has consulted with the Executive Office of the President. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded Copland's research on civil litigation, and the National Association of Corporate Directors has designated Copland to its "Directorship 100" list of the individuals most influential over U.S. corporate governance. Copland has authored many policy reports, multiple book chapters, and several articles in academic publications including the Harvard Business Law Review and Yale Journal on Regulation. He has also written scores of opinion columns in periodicals including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post<;/i>, USA Today, and the National Law Journal. Leading national news outlets frequently cite Copland and his research, and he has made hundreds of media appearances in popular outlets such as PBS, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg, C-Span, and NPR. Outside his role at the Manhattan Institute, Copland has served on multiple corporate, public, and nonprofit boards. Earlier in his career, he was a management consultant with McKinsey and Company in New York and a law clerk for Ralph K. Winter on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Copland holds a J.D. and an M.B.A. from Yale; an M.Sc. in the politics of the world economy from the London School of Economics; and a B.A. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar.