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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A Quick Guide to Today’s Opinions in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

Edward Whelan

In one of the most-watched cases of the term, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled today in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia that the city of Philadelphia violated the free-exercise rights of Catholic Social Services, a Catholic foster-care agency, by conditioning CSS’s continued provision of foster-care services on its agreeing to certify same-sex couples as foster parents.

Articles

National Review Online / June 17, 2021

Doubts About Constitutional Personhood

Edward Whelan

The only plausible path to imminent legal protection of the unborn has as its first step overturning Roe and restoring abortion policy to the states.

Articles

First Things / April 8, 2021

The Unsoundness and Imprudence of “Common-Good Originalism”

Edward Whelan

The immediate aftermath of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a strange time to urge conservatives to repudiate Justice Antonin Scalia’s twin interpretive methodologies of originalism and textualism.

Articles

Public Discourse / March 2, 2021

Justice Barrett Would Extend Scalia’s Legacy

Edward Whelan

Amy Coney Barrett’s record, both as a judge and in her earlier career as a distinguished law professor at Notre Dame, shows both her profound commitment to Justice Scalia’s principles of textualism and originalism and her stellar ability to implement them.

Articles

Why Finding Justices Who Will Overturn Roe v. Wade Hasn’t Been Easy, And What to…

Edward Whelan

Any effort to seat justices who will overturn Roe needs to take account of the serious political obstacles that stand in the way. We must not surrender in the face of these obstacles. But we must recognize them in order to navigate through them.

Articles

Public Discourse / August 25, 2020

Senator Hawley’s Judicial Test on Roe v. Wade Won’t Work

Edward Whelan

Political realities can be confronted and transformed, but they cannot simply be imagined away. Unfortunately, Senator Hawley’s pro-life litmus test promises no more success in the future than it would have had in the past.

Articles

Public Discourse / August 24, 2020

Vile Smear of Justice Alito

Edward Whelan

In a rant on Vox, Ian Millhiser condemns Justice Alito as a “defender of white racial innocence.”

Articles

National Review Online / April 23, 2020

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.

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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.

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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

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