EPPC Celebrates Ed Whelan’s 20 Years


March 22, 2024 marks Ed Whelan’s 20th anniversary at EPPC. Ed joined EPPC as its President in March 2004 and served in that capacity until 2021. On stepping down as President, he was named EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow and was awarded EPPC’s new Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies.

EPPC President Ryan Anderson hailed Ed’s twenty years at EPPC:

Ed Whelan’s tenure at EPPC is nothing short of remarkable. No one is a more reliable or sought-after Court watcher and commentator than Ed. His work directly resulted in the reshaping of the composition of our judiciary, with the overturning of Roe as perhaps his crowning accomplishment. He did all of this while for seventeen years he led EPPC as president. Taking EPPC from strength to strength, he built the institution with the best thinkers on the social and moral questions confronting our nation, garnering EPPC the rich reputation it rightly deserves.

Here is a sampling of some highlights of Ed’s work and accomplishments during his time at EPPC:

2004

In March, Ed Whelan becomes President of EPPC. Ed joins EPPC from his position as principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. Having also served as a law clerk to Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and as general counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, he brings to EPPC his deep experience in all three branches of the federal government.

2005

Ed helps launch National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog, home for his prolific writing on important legal issues and judicial nominations. On Justice O’Connor’s announcement of her retirement in July, Ed begins his intensive commentary in support of filling her vacancy with a strong judicial conservative. When Chief Justice Rehnquist dies two months later, Ed’s day-in, day-out analysis and refutation of the Left’s attacks will extend over seven months and two vacancies. Ed quickly earns a broad audience and emerges—in the words of a leading White House strategist—as “the most influential and valuable commentator on the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.”

Ed testifies at a Senate hearing on “The Consequences of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.” His testimony explains why all Americans, no matter their views on abortion, should support the overturning of Roe and the restoration of the abortion issue to the democratic political processes.

2006

In an essay for the Yale Law Journal, Ed criticizes the “meta-nonsense” of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas that concocted a constitutional right to sodomy. He lectures and debates widely, in academic settings such as Yale Law School and Harvard Law School and before groups of lawyers, including an audience of 700 at an annual meeting of the Texas Bar Association.

2007

Ed inaugurates his “This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism” series, a persistent reminder of how pervasive and lawless—and often laugh-out-loud ridiculous—liberal judicial activism has been.

Writing in USA Today, Ed praises the Supreme Court ruling upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.

2008

In a prescient essay, Ed explains what Barack Obama’s record and rhetoric reveal about the judicial appointments he would make if he is elected president.

Ed exposes as “judicial activism run amok” the California supreme court ruling inventing a right to same-sex marriage under the state constitution.

2009

Ed writes for the New York Times and the Washington Post on Justice David Souter’s decision to retire. He comprehensively exposes the record of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and helps to generate a then-record of more than thirty Republican votes against her confirmation. In another series of Bench Memos blog posts and in meetings with Republican senators, Ed exposes the radical transnationalist views of controversial State Department legal adviser nominee Harold Koh.

2010

In separate pieces for the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CNN, Ed weighs in on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, and at the invitation of Republican senators he testifies at her confirmation hearing against her nomination. Ed also provides a running critique of federal district judge Vaughn Walker’s shenanigans against California’s Proposition 8.

2011

The National Law Journal names Ed among its “Champions and Visionaries” in the practice of law in Washington, D.C. It praises Ed for “pioneer[ing] the field of legal blogging” and for offering “commentary [that] infuses national debates over judicial nominees, Supreme Court ethics and appellate court decisions—so much so that, when a Senate Republican cites outside research into the record of an Obama nominee, it’s more likely than not that the handiwork is Whelan’s.”

2012

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ed explains how the Obama administration’s contraception mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

2013

Ed testifies before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the clash between expansive non-discrimination principles and civil liberties.

2014

In the aftermath of the November elections that restore control of the Senate to Republicans in the next Congress, Ed vigorously opposes misguided efforts by some Republicans to restore the judicial filibuster—efforts that, had they succeeded, would have severely impaired Donald Trump’s judicial nominations.

2015

Ed testifies at a Senate hearing on how to address lawless decisions by the Supreme Court, including the Court’s ruling the previous month inventing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

2016

In the immediate aftermath of Justice Scalia’s death, Ed helps to develop and defend the Senate Republican plan to keep the vacancy open through the election. He appears repeatedly on television and in newspaper outlets—including Fox News, CNN, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post—to discuss Scalia’s legacy, his contributions to constitutional law, and the battle over his vacancy. Ed organizes and contributes to a National Review symposium in remembrance of Justice Scalia. In October, he delivers the keynote remarks at the Catholic Information Center’s 2016 Gala, where the John Paul II New Evangelization Award is dedicated to Justice Scalia.

2017

Ed makes numerous media appearances to discuss the Supreme Court nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch and the upcoming confirmation battle in the Senate. In the face of Senate Democrats’ filibuster of the Gorsuch nomination, Ed strongly supports Senate Republicans’ successful effort to abolish the filibuster.

Ed publishes Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived (Crown Forum), a New York Times bestselling volume of Justice Scalia’s speeches that he co-edited with Christopher J. Scalia.

2018

Ed leads the way in presenting the record of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, both in extensive writings and in appearances on MSNBC, Fox News, and C-SPAN.

2019

Ed publishes On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer (Crown Forum), a collection of Justice Scalia’s writings on faith and religion that Ed co-edited with Christopher J. Scalia.

Ed appears on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss President Trump’s judicial appointments and the overall state of the federal judiciary.

2020

Ed publishes a third volume of Justice Scalia’s work, The Essential Scalia: On the Constitution, the Courts, and the Rule of Law (Crown Forum), a collection of Justice Scalia’s views on legal issues that Ed co-edited with Sixth Circuit judge Jeffrey S. Sutton.

Ed vigorously supports the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.

2021

After recruiting Ryan T. Anderson to succeed him, Ed steps down after a record tenure of nearly seventeen years as president of EPPC. On top of his new title of EPPC distinguished senior fellow, Ed is awarded EPPC’s new Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies.

“No one has been a more dedicated, effective defender of my father’s legacy than Ed Whelan,” says former Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “On behalf of my mother and all the Scalia family, I congratulate him on his new position and this well-deserved honor.”

2022

Ed debates the Dobbs case in a nationally televised episode of PBS’s “Firing Line,” appears on C-SPAN to discuss the Court’s term, and writes a cover piece in National Review that celebrates the Dobbs ruling as a crowning achievement of the conservative legal movement.

2023

Ed launches his Confirmation Tales newsletter in which he draws lessons from his three decades of experience in judicial-confirmation battles.

2024

March

Ed celebrates twenty years at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and gears up for the next twenty!

Congratulations to Ed Whelan for twenty wonderful years!  

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