Sense and Severability

Tobias A. Dorsey *

When I was asked to speak about severability at the 2011 Allen Chair Symposium, I wasn’t sure I should, or even that I could. But the more I thought about it the more I realized I might be a good person for the task. First of all, I am not a scholar. I am a practitioner. I spent ten years working for Congress in the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Counsel of the House of Representatives. That means I spent a lot of time working with policymakers in Congress, helping them think through their policies and turn them into written proposals. I have advised clients about severability hundreds of times.

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*     Special Counsel of the United States Sentencing Commission and a former Assistant Counsel in the Office of the Legislative Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. J.D., 1993, UCLA School of Law; B.A., 1989, Cornell University. These remarks were originally presented as a speech at the 2011 Allen Chair Symposium—“Everything But the Merits” presented by the University of Richmond Law Review