LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.
Precis: "My dissertation asks when and why political parties use litigation to achieve policy or political goals that they could normally otherwise pursue through traditional democratic processes such as passing legislation through bicameralism and presentment. It also seeks to measure the power of the federal judiciary over policy, or, in other words, how politicized the federal courts have become. The two questions are related because the project hypothesizes that political parties are more likely to litigate when federal courts are relatively more politicized and when polarization is particularly heightened. During this presentation, I will discuss my prospectus draft, which attempts to define the multiple variables at work and establish the project's parameters. If I have time, I will also discuss preliminary results from a case study comparing the litigation around the ACA and the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act). I am looking for any help that I can get making my definitions precise and my research model functional."
James Sasso is a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Politics and a 2L at Harvard Law School. He focuses on separation of powers issues as evidenced by the interaction of polarization and litigation. Last summer, he was a Legal Fellow for Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in Washington, D.C., where he helped bring a lawsuit against President Trump on behalf of over 200 members of Congress. The suit alleges that President Trump violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.