Professor Digs Into Why Courts Punt on Certain Conflicts Between Congress, Executive

Latest ‘Common Law’ Features Payvand Ahdout
Podcast guests

Photos by Julia Davis, Ian Bradshaw and iStock/illustration by Warren Craghead

December 15, 2022

As part of the investigation of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Congress has issued a slew of subpoenas to compel executive branch officials to testify, often setting off legal skirmishes. But courts are finding ways to avoid making decisions on those kinds of separation-of-powers conflicts, which is problematic, says Professor Payvand Ahdout on the latest episode of “Common Law,” a podcast of the University of Virginia School of Law.

Ahdout joins hosts Dean Risa Goluboff and Professor John Harrison to discuss how the cases’ wending paths through the legal system have ripple effects beyond the courtroom. Her paper on the subject, “Separation-of-Powers Avoidance,” is forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal.

Ahdout recently won the journal’s inaugural Emerging Scholar of the Year award. Prior to joining the faculty last year, Ahdout served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and to Judge Debra Ann Livingston of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ahdout has also served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States, held fellowships at Columbia Law School and New York University School of Law, and litigated in private practice.

In a continuation of last season, called “Co-Counsel,” the podcast’s fifth season features Goluboff and four rotating co-hosts: Harrison, Danielle CitronCathy Hwang and Gregory Mitchell. Each are joining Goluboff to discuss cutting-edge research on law topics of their choice.

“Common Law” is available on Apple PodcastsStitcherYouTubeSpotify and other popular podcast platforms. The show is produced by Emily Richardson-Lorente.

Past seasons have focused on “The Future of Law,” “When Law Changed the World” and “Law and Equity.”

You can follow the show on the website CommonLawPodcast.com or Twitter at @CommonLawUVA.

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