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A Politics of Confrontation

Conflict over the Shutdown, the Debt Ceiling, and Its Effects

October 9, 2013

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The world’s most powerful government had gone offline. What happened and what were the potential effects in the long as well as the short term? Was it an instance of heightened political conflict, to be resolved through ordinary politics or bargaining, or a failure of governing institutions? Were there plausible structural reforms that would avert or limit recurrence, or mitigate the effects, of government deadlock? What were the mechanisms or authorities available within existing constitutional or institutional frameworks that, if used, could contribute to a resolution? A panel of NYU Law experts, including the faculty members teaching the Law School’s new Washington, D.C., clinic, examined these and related issues.


Fred Hiatt

Fred Hiatt

Bob Bauer

Bob Bauer

Sean Cairncross

Sean Cairncross

David Kamin

David Kamin

Sally Katzen

Sally Katzen

Michael Waldman

Michael Waldman

nyulaw

Moderator


Fred Hiatt

Fred Hiatt is the editorial page editor and a columnist for The Washington Post.

Hiatt has been a reporter for The Post since 1981. From 1991 to 1995, he and his wife served as correspondents and co-bureau chiefs in the Moscow bureau, covering Russia and the former Soviet Union. From 1987 to 1990, the Hiatts were co-bureau chiefs of The Post's Northeast Asia bureau, based in Tokyo, and reported on Korea and Japan.

Before joining the foreign staff of The Washington Post, Hiatt covered military and national security affairs for three years as a member of the newspaper's national staff. Prior to that assignment, he covered government, politics, development, and other issues in the State of Virginia and Fairfax County.

Prior to coming to The Washington Post, Hiatt worked as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal in Atlanta, GA, and The Washington Star in Washington, DC.

He is the author of "The Secret Sun: A Novel of Japan," published in 1992, as well as two books for children, "If I Were Queen of the World" (1997) and "Baby Talk" (1999).

Hiatt was born April 30, 1955, in Washington, DC, and graduated from Harvard in 1977. He and his wife, Margaret Shapiro, have three children.

Panelists


Bob Bauer

In Bob''s 30 years of practice, he has provided counseling and representation on matters involving regulation of political activity before the courts and administrative agencies of national party committees, candidates, political committees, individuals, federal officeholders, corporations and trade associations, and tax-exempt groups.

Bob is the author of several books: United States Federal Election Law (1982, 1984), Soft Money Hard Law: A Guide to the New Campaign Finance Law (2002) and More Soft Money Hard Law: The Second Edition of the Guide to the New Campaign Finance Law (2004) and numerous articles. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of Journal of Law and Politics. In 2000, he received the prestigious "Burton Award for Legal Achievement" for his legal writing.

Bob is also the author of the weblog, www.moresoftmoneyhardlaw.com, on which he writes about campaign finance and other issues of interest to the political community. He also teaches law at the New York University School of Law, where he is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence and Senior Lecturer.

In 2013, the President named Bob to be Co-Chair of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Bob also served as White House Counsel to President Obama, and returned to private practice in June 2011.

Bob was General Counsel to Obama for America, the President’s campaign organization, in 2008 and 2012, and he is General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee. Bob has also served as co-counsel to the New Hampshire State Senate in the trial of Chief Justice David A. Brock (2000); general counsel to the Bill Bradley for President Committee (1999-2000); and counsel to the Democratic Leader in the trial of President William Jefferson Clinton (1999).

He has co-authored numerous bipartisan reports, including "Report of Counsel to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in the Matter of the United States Senate Seat From Louisiana" in the 105th Congress of the United States (March 27, 1997); "Campaign Finance Reform," A Report to the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the United States Senate (March 6, 1990); and "The Presidential Election Process in the Philippines", a bipartisan report prepared at the request of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (1986).


Sean Cairncross

Sean Cairncross served as former Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Cairncross served in this role at the NRSC for two cycles (2009-2012) under Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), overseeing the NRSC’s day-to-day operations and legal matters, and during which time Republicans picked up 5 seats in the U.S. Senate. Sean previously served as Chief Counsel to the Republican National Committee, where he oversaw the RNC’s legal operations including its interactions with the McCain campaign. Cairncross joined the RNC in 2004, and served two and a half cycles under Chairmen Gillespie, Mehlman, and Duncan. Before that Cairncross worked as a litigation associate at the Washington D.C. offices of Covington & Burling.

Sean holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law, an M.Phil from Cambridge University, and a B.A., summa cum laude, from American University. Originally from Minnesota, he currently lives in Washington, D.C., and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.


David Kamin

David Kamin joined NYU in 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Law. His professional experience in government put him at the intersection of budget and tax policy. His research has focused on how budget and tax debates frequently employ metrics that can be decisive in policy discussions--and yet are often misunderstood and misleading.

Prior to joining NYU, Kamin worked in President Obama's administration. Most recently, he served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House. There, Kamin helped to coordinate administration policy on federal tax and budget issues and also other areas including unemployment insurance, infrastructure, and the postal service. Prior to serving as Special Assistant to the President, Kamin worked as special assistant, and later adviser, to the Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, helping to formulate policy for President Obama’s first two budgets.

Before attending law school, Kamin also spent a year working on federal fiscal policy at the Committee for Economic Development, and two years at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, focusing on deficit projections, tax legislation and social security reform.

Kamin earned a B.A. in Economics and Political Science, with highest honors, from Swarthmore College, where he was the commencement speaker in 2002. He earned a J.D. from NYU School of Law in 2009, was inducted into the Order of the Coif, and received a number of awards at commencement, including the Butler Memorial Award for unusual distinction in scholarship, character, and professional activities, awards for excellence in taxation and ethics, and the Paul D. Kaufman Award for most outstanding Note in the 2008 New York University Law Review. At NYU, Kamin was also a Furman Academic Scholar as well as a Lederman/Milbank Fellow in Law, Economics, and Business.


Sally Katzen

With immeasurable knowledge of the executive branch and the regulatory process, Podesta Group clients are fortunate to have Sally Katzen on their side. Easily guiding organizations through the complexities of the administration and the Office of Management and Budget, Sally offers sound strategic advice informed by decades of service. During the Obama-Biden transition, Sally served on the Agency Review Working Group, responsible for the Executive Office of the President and the operations of government agencies.

As a leading policy expert on budgetary issues, among others, Sally has testified before Congress more than 70 times and has participated on panels for the National Academy of Science. Serving for eight years in the Clinton administration, she was Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget (1999-2001), Deputy Assistant to the President for economic policy, Deputy Director for the National Economic Council (1998-1999) and Administrator for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in OMB (1993-1998), where she was the senior adviser to the president on regulatory policy and process.

Sally was the first female partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where she specialized in administrative and legislative practice for more than 25 years. A well-respected professor, she has taught at the George Washington University, University of Michigan, New York University, George Mason University, University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University law schools, as well as at Smith College, Johns Hopkins University and the Michigan in Washington Program.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she has a bachelor's from Smith College and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. She has served as chair of the section on administrative law and regulatory practice of the American Bar Association, president of the Federal Communications Bar Association and president of the Women’s Legal Defense Fund. She is also a fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration.


Michael Waldman

Michael Waldman is President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonpartisan law and policy institute that focuses on improving the systems of democracy and justice. Waldman is one of the nation’s most prominent public interest lawyers, and is an expert on the presidency, democracy and the Constitution. The Brennan Center is a leading legal voice on election law, Constitutional law, government reform and racial justice. In 2012 it helped lead the successful effort to block laws that could have made it harder for 5 million eligible citizens to vote. The Boston Globe called the Center “indispensible.” Waldman has led the Center since 2005.

Mr. Waldman was Director of Speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995-99, serving as Assistant to the President. He was responsible for writing or editing nearly 2,000 speeches, including four State of the Union and two Inaugural Addresses. He was Special Assistant to the President for Policy Coordination from 1993-95. As the top White House policy aide on campaign finance reform, he drafted the Clinton administration's public financing proposal.

He is the author of several books, including My Fellow Americans: The Most Important Speeches of America’s Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama (2003, 2010); A Return to Common Sense (2007); POTUS Speaks (2000); and Who Robbed America? A Citizens' Guide to the S&L Scandal (1990).

Mr. Waldman appears frequently on television and radio to discuss public policy, the presidency and the law. Appearances include Good Morning America; the Colbert Report; PBS’ Newshour, CBS Evening News; the O'Reilly Factor;  Nightline; 60 Minutes; Hardball with Chris Matthews; the Rachel Maddow Show; Erin Burnett OutFront; Now With Alex Wagner; color commentary on NBC (State of the Union) and ABC (Obama inaugural); NPR’s Morning Edition; All Things Considered; Fresh Air; Diane Rehm and many other programs. He writes frequently for publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek/Daily Beast, Slate, Democracy, Reuters.com and Bloomberg.com.

Prior to his government service, Mr. Waldman was the executive director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, then the capital's largest consumer lobbying office (1989-92). He was a Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government (2001-03), teaching courses on political reform, public leadership and communications. He was a partner in a litigation law firm in New York City and Washington, D.C.  

Michael Waldman is a graduate of Columbia College (B.A., 1982) and New York University School of Law (J.D., 1987), where he was a member of the Law Review.

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