For the second time this year, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of an independent federal agency headed by a single director. In Collins v. Mnuchin, slated for oral argument December 9th, theCourt is set to decide whether the Federal Housing Finance Authority’s (FHFA) structure is constitutional and whether to strike down the unprecedented “net worth sweep” of 100 percent of the profits from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s private shareholders, which other lawsuits have characterized as an unconstitutional “taking.”

At stake is the future of the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, property rights, and the legitimacy of agencies insulated from presidential control and the administrative state writ large.

Join CEI for an online discussion about the major issues of the case with one of the most cited law professors in the U.S., Richard A. Epstein, whose seminal book Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain, will play a central role in this decision. He will be joined in conversation by CEI Senior Fellow and finance expert John Berlau, Attorney Devin Watkins, and President Kent Lassman.

Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

John Berlau, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Devin Watkins, Attorney, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Kent Lassman, President, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

12:00 – 1:00 pm EST


Registration confirmation and event reminder emails will be sent from CEI Events at [email protected] 

Questions? Email [email protected]

Richard A. Epstein is the inaugural Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law. He has served as the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 2000. Epstein is also the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous books including The Dubious Morality of the Modern Administrative State; The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government; Supreme Neglect: How to Revive the Constitutional Protection of Property Rights; and Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain.

Professor Epstein has taught courses in administrative law, antitrust law, civil procedure, communications, constitutional law, contracts, corporations, criminal law, employment discrimination law, environmental law, food and drug law health law and policy, legal history, labor law, property, real estate development and finance, jurisprudence, labor law; land use planning, patents, individual, estate and corporate taxation, Roman Law; torts, and workers’ compensation.

John Berlau is a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and is the author, most recently, of George Washington, Entrepreneur. Berlau’s work at CEI focuses on how public policy affects access to capital, entrepreneurship, and investments made by the public and business community alike. He has studied the consequences of financial reform efforts passed by Congress like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, and the placement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. Before joining CEI, Berlau was an award-winning financial and political journalist.

Devin Watkins is an attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He previously worked at the Cato Institute as a legal associate and interned at the Institute for Justice. At the Cato Institute, Watkins worked on a variety of Supreme Court cases, including a brief cited by the Court. Watkins holds a Juris Doctor cum laude from George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, where he was the development editor on the Mason Law Review. Watkins is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Bar, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Bar.

Kent Lassman is President and CEO of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He oversees strategy for the organization, including management of a team of policy, communications, and fundraising staff. Prior to joining CEI, Lassman spent eight years as vice president at a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C., counseling clients on campaign approaches to issues ranging from telecommunications to privacy to biotechnology and state licensing.

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