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Not Accountable: Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Employee Unions

Image of Phil Howard and book cover

Event Details

Thursday, March 23, 2023
Noon -1:30 PM PT 

Pepperdine University, LC 159 


For more information about this event, please email sppevents@pepperdine.edu, or call 310.506.7490.

Please join us for an in-person luncheon event featuring bestselling author and chair of Common Good, Philip K. Howard, as he discusses his new book Not Accountable: Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Employee Unions.

In Not Accountable, Howard argues that public employee unions have undermined democratic governance and should be unconstitutional. American voters elect governors and mayors who, under union agreements, have been disempowered from managing schools, police departments, and other public agencies. This is why schools cannot work, bad cops cannot be fired, states struggle under the weight of unaffordable pensions, and frustrated voters reach for extremist solutions. Politicians cannot break the union stranglehold because, among other reasons, they have sold their souls for union political support.

In this searing five-point indictment, Howard makes a case that constitutional government cannot work when elected leaders lose control over public operating machinery. The Constitution requires a “republican form of government” where elected executives are empowered to run government operations. Under the Constitution, public employees have a duty to serve the public, not organize politically to harm the public.

Registration is required, and seating is limited.

The event is cosponsored by the Pacific Research Institute


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Keynote Speaker

 Philip K. Howard

Philip K. Howard is a leader of government and legal reform in America. He is Chair of Common Good and a bestselling author, and has advised both parties on needed reforms. In his new book, Not Accountable (Rodin Books, 2023), he argues that public employee unions undermine democratic governance and should be unconstitutional.

Howard is the author of the bestseller The Death of Common Sense (Random House, 1995), The Collapse of the Common Good (Ballantine Books, 2002), Life Without Lawyers (W.W. Norton, 2009), The Rule of Nobody (W.W. Norton, 2014), and Try Common Sense (W.W. Norton, 2019). His commentaries are published frequently in major media outlets. 

In 2002, Howard formed Common Good, a nonpartisan coalition dedicated to simplifying laws so that Americans can use common sense in daily choices. His 2010 TED Talk has been viewed by more than 750,000 people. His 2015 report, “Two Years, Not Ten Years,” exposed the economic and environmental costs of delayed infrastructure approvals, and its proposals have since been incorporated into federal law. Howard has appeared often on television and radio, including several times on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.”

The son of a minister, Howard got his start working summers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner. He has been active in public affairs his entire adult life. He is Senior Counsel at the law firm Covington & Burling, LLP. A graduate of Yale College and the University of Virginia Law School, Howard lives in Manhattan with his wife Alexandra. They have four children.