Edward Whelan

Distinguished Senior Fellow and Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies

Edward Whelan is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and holds EPPC’s Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies. He is the longest-serving President in EPPC’s history, having held that position from March 2004 through January 2021.

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Edward Whelan is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and holds EPPC’s Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies. He is the longest-serving President in EPPC’s history, having held that position from March 2004 through January 2021.

Mr. Whelan directs EPPC’s program on The Constitution, the Courts, and the Culture. His areas of expertise include constitutional law and the judicial confirmation process. As a contributor to National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog, he has been a leading commentator on nominations to the Supreme Court and the lower courts and on issues of constitutional law. He has written essays and op-eds for leading newspapers—including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post—opinion journals, and academic symposia and law reviews. The National Law Journal has named Mr. Whelan among its “Champions and Visionaries” in the practice of law in D.C.

Mr. Whelan is co-editor of three volumes of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s work: Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived  (Crown Forum, 2017), a New York Times bestselling collection of speeches by Justice Scalia; On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer  (Crown Forum, 2019), a collection of Justice Scalia’s writings on faith and religion; and The Essential Scalia: On the Constitution, the Courts, and the Rule of Law  (Crown Forum, 2020), a collection of Justice Scalia’s views on legal issues.

Mr. Whelan, a lawyer and a former law clerk to Justice Scalia, has served in positions of responsibility in all three branches of the federal government. From just before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, until joining EPPC in 2004, Mr. Whelan was the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. In that capacity, he advised the White House Counsel’s Office, the Attorney General and other senior DOJ officials, and departments and agencies throughout the executive branch on difficult and sensitive legal questions. Mr. Whelan previously served on Capitol Hill as General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. In addition to clerking for Justice Scalia, he was a law clerk to Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In 1981 Mr. Whelan graduated with honors from Harvard College and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1985 from Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Harvard Law Review.

For more on Mr. Whelan’s background, see this interview.

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Alito Makes Masterful Argument to ‘Overturn’ Roe v. Wade

Edward Whelan

Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center is a masterful account of why Roe v. Wade was wrong from the start and why it should be jettisoned. For liberals shocked by the prospective ruling, and for conservatives who thought it might never happen, it’s worth taking a look at Alito’s clear reasoning.

Articles

The New York Post / May 3, 2022

Outstanding Draft Majority Opinion in Dobbs

Edward Whelan

Above all, the superb quality of the draft is compelling evidence that it is genuine.

Articles

National Review Online / May 3, 2022

With Jackson Nomination, Senate Republicans Have an Opportunity

Edward Whelan

If Senate Republicans assess Ketanji Brown Jackson on the basis of judicial philosophy, and don’t succumb to political pressure because of her race and sex, they will responsibly fulfill their constitutional duty to advise and consent.

Articles

CNN / February 25, 2022

EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow Ed Whelan on the Supreme Court Vacancy

Edward Whelan

In this exclusive Q&A, Ed Whelan, who directs EPPC’s program on the Constitution, the Courts, and the Culture, discusses the effort to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

Interviews

 

Some Quick Observations on Oral Argument in Dobbs

Edward Whelan

EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow Ed Whelan offers his initial impressions of oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Articles

National Review Online / December 1, 2021

John Roberts and the Abortion Precedents

Edward Whelan

The Chief Justice has a chance to protect the Supreme Court, strike a blow for democracy, and overturn bad decisions.

Articles

The Wall Street Journal / November 30, 2021

DOJ Faces Steep Slope in United States v. Texas

Edward Whelan

The justices who dissented from the Supreme Court’s denial of the abortion providers’ request for emergency relief against the Texas Heartbeat Act might think that they have a path to winning a majority in the DOJ case against the law. But the path is steep and deceptively treacherous.

Articles

National Review Online / October 26, 2021

A Reply to Hadley Arkes on Originalism and Roe

Edward Whelan

There are (at least) six justices on the Court who ought to recognize in the pending case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the originalist case against Roe is overwhelming. It is neither sound in principle nor helpful in practice to try to persuade those justices that they may overrule Roe only if they make a moral argument against abortion.

Articles

National Review Online / October 4, 2021

Hadley Arkes’s Straw-Man Argument for a ‘Better Originalism’ on Roe

Edward Whelan

There is plenty of room for methodological disputes within originalism, but a recent critique of the dominant originalism is unpersuasive.

Articles

National Review Online / September 30, 2021

Denial Should Have Been Unanimous

Edward Whelan

Last night the Supreme Court denied abortion providers’ beyond–audacious request for emergency relief against the Texas Heartbeat Act by a 5–4 vote. The feebleness of the four dissents shows that the denial should have been 9–0.

Articles

National Review Online / September 2, 2021

Chief Justice Roberts, Judicial Restraint, and Dobbs

Edward Whelan

For Chief Justice Roberts and other proponents of judicial restraint, stare decisis considerations should be especially weak when—as with Roe and Casey—the precedent under examination has usurped the democratic processes.

Articles

National Review Online / August 25, 2021

Chief Justice Roberts, Stare Decisis, and Dobbs

Edward Whelan

For anyone trying to understand how Chief Justice Roberts’s jurisprudential principles apply to the question whether he should vote to overrule Roe and Casey, the Chief’s concurring opinion in Citizens United v. FEC (2010) is essential reading.

Articles

National Review Online / August 24, 2021

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