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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McConnell’s Supreme Court Tactics: Politics 101

Edward Whelan

When the president and the Senate majority are from the same party, look for the swift confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee.

Articles

National Review Online / January 2, 2020

The Presumption of Constitutionality

Edward Whelan

The principle that the courts must apply a statute unless the statute clearly conflicts with the Constitution has deep roots and inheres in the very foundation of the power of judicial review.

Articles

The Judicial Divide Between Conservatives and Liberals

Edward Whelan

EPPC President Ed Whelan was interviewed by The Politic, an undergraduate journal at Yale, about right vs. left on the Supreme Court and more.

Articles

The (Yale) Politic / November 20, 2018

Trump Picks Brett Kavanaugh

Edward Whelan

Judge Kavanaugh, 53 years old, has compiled an outstanding record during his twelve years on the federal court of appeals in D.C. On what is commonly regarded as the second-most-important court in the country, he has confronted a vast array of consequential constitutional and statutory issues and has written strong, influential opinions.

Articles

National Review Online / July 9, 2018

Trump’s Stellar Judges

Edward Whelan

Donald Trump deserves thunderous acclaim from conservatives for his outstanding record of judicial appointments during his first year as president. But his conspicuous successes should not obscure the many obstacles on the long path to genuine transformation of the federal judiciary.

Articles

Interview: Ed Whelan, An EPPC Eye On Judicial Confirmations

Edward Whelan

A wide-ranging interview with EPPC President Ed Whelan, in which he discusses the Supreme Court confirmation process, clerking for Justice Scalia, listening to Vin Scully, attending the inauguration of Richard Nixon, and what it was like to work in all three branches of the federal government.

Articles

No Deal on Gorsuch Filibuster

Edward Whelan

The very fact that Senate Democrats have the votes to filibuster Neil Gorsuch shows that they will filibuster any plausible next nominee. So the “deal” that some are floating would simply confer on Democrats a preemptive veto over the next Supreme Court nomination.

Articles

National Review Online / April 4, 2017

A Supreme Successor to Justice Scalia

Edward Whelan

Rocky Mountain native Neil Gorsuch has an impressive judicial record as an originalist.

Articles

National Review Online / January 31, 2017

New York Times Smears Justice Scalia on Science

Edward Whelan

The New York Times‘s erroneous claims about Justice Scalia and science are a case study in its irredeemably irresponsible—indeed, flagrantly know-nothing—smugness.

Articles

National Review Online / January 12, 2017

Antonin Scalia, Disciple of the Word

Edward Whelan

Those who had the privilege of knowing Justice Scalia know him as an exemplar of moral courage, a man who strove to put things right, who wouldn’t be lured away or cowed from doing his duty.

Articles

National Review Online / October 27, 2016

Let’s Break Off the Engagement

Edward Whelan

Is the libertarian cause of “judicial engagement” anything more than camouflage for libertarian judicial activism?

Articles

Cato Unbound / September 21, 2016

Ground Beef

Edward Whelan

A new book offers a sometimes interesting, sometimes tedious assessment of the legacy of Chief Justice Burger’s Supreme Court.

Articles

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