In an age of statutes, legislative advocates influence the substantive content of almost every law. Yet scholars know very little about the role that advocates play in shaping statutory law because the study of legislative advocacy has been left to political scientists, who focus on the political rather than the legal aspects of legislative lawmaking. This Article responds to this gap in the literature by presenting an innovative, mixed methods approach to studying legislative advocacy that brings law back into the study of legislative advocacy and provides more accurate descriptions of how legislative advocates behave. This legal approach to legislative advocacy improves on the existing political science literature by emphasizing the legislative process as a lawmaking enterprise and highlighting the importance of the substantive content of statutory laws to legislative advocates and their behavior. The Article demonstrates the utility of this approach by presenting new empirical data on American Indian advocacy. My analysis produces two important insights about legislative advocates’ behavior overlooked in previous studies. First, it reveals that advocates perceive legislative advocacy to be about modifying the substantive content of a proposed law. Legislative advocates take the law seriously as they engage in nuanced and sophisticated strategies to interact with legislators and other political actors to craft statutory laws. They advocate on a wide range of proposed laws, shift their positions strategically throughout the legislative process, and frequently seek to modify proposed laws. Second, my account of Indian advocacy emphasizes that legislative advocacy involves legal as well as political work. Indian advocates regularly used legal frames and arguments to educate and persuade legislators to shape the law in ways that better responded to their needs.
Udall Requests Kavanaugh Records on Native American Issues
Seeks all records pertaining to Kavanaugh’s involvement with Native American issues during tenure as Staff Secretary and White House Counsel
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, formally requested all records pertaining to Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s involvement with Native American issues during his tenure as White House Staff Secretary and as White House Counsel.
In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Udall asked Grassley to turn over all records under his control pertaining to Kavanaugh’s work on Indian Affairs issues. Udall also asked that Grassley request all records from the National Archives regarding Kavanaugh’s time as Staff Secretary and White House Counsel related to Native American matters.
“Decisions made by the Supreme Court have a significant impact on nearly all aspects of the everyday lives of Native Americans,” Udall wrote. “In the past few years alone, the Supreme Court has ruled on cases that further defined the contours of the United States’ government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes, including: the extent to which an Indian Tribe’s treaty with the United States protects its subsistence practices from state intrusion; the scope of an Indian Tribe’s sovereign immunity; and the scope and extent of a Tribal member’s parental rights over a Native American child.”
“The Supreme Court’s influence is particularly acute in Indian Country, given the United States’ treaty and trust responsibility,” Udall continued. “So that members of this Committee—and the entire Senate—may adequately consider Judge Kavanaugh’s views on Indian Affairs issues, I respectfully request that you make available to me and my staff all records that pertain to Judge Kavanaugh’s involvement with Native American affairs while serving at the White House as Staff Secretary and as White House Counsel.”
Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Michael S. Black, invites Tribal leaders to attend one of the listed listening sessions to provide input on improving “efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability” at the Department of the Interior.