Examining Biden's First 100 Days in Office

During his first 100 days in office in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed fifteen major bills into law and issued a series of executive orders directed at pulling the nation out of economic depression. Ever since, presidents have taken office with high public expectations for their first 100 days. The 100-day marker is likely a poor overall gauge of a successful presidency: Abraham Lincoln is among the greatest presidents of all time and, yet, during his first 100 days in the White House, the country split apart. Recognizing the deficiency of the measure, John F. Kennedy sought to end 100-day evaluations. After reciting a list of pledges in his own inaugural address in 1961, Kennedy said: “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” Yet voters do not wait a lifetime for results—and presidents cannot even avoid the scrutiny that Day 100 brings.

When President Joe Biden took office on January 20, 2021, COVID-19 had already killed 400,000 Americans. Two weeks before Biden’s inauguration, a violent mob stormed the Capitol, where Congress was meeting to count the electoral college votes and certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, falsely claimed the election had been stolen because of widespread fraud and cheating. As Biden took the oath of office, millions of Trump supporters held fast to the belief that the election was rigged and Trump’s departure an injustice. At the other extreme, some Democrats, mistaking election for revolution, called for truth commissions, purges of enemies, and other tools suited only to actual political transformations.

“I will work to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify. I won’t see red states and blue states, I will always see the United States.”

Joe Biden - November 8, 2020

Symposium authors

Jason Mazzone
Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Nolan Miller
Daniel and Cynthia Mah Helle Professor in Finance and Director of the Center for Business and Public Policy at Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Julian Reif
Assistant Professor of Finance, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Senior Scholar, Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois
Frank Pasquale
Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Richard Kaplan
Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law, University of Illinois
Michelle Layser
Assistant Professor of Law, University of Illinois
Sean Anderson
Teaching Professor of Law, University of Illinois
Rummana Alam
Teaching Assistant Professor, University of Illinois College of Law
Margareth Etienne
Associate Dean and Carl L. Vacketta Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law
Pratheepan Gulasekaram
Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law
Anil Kalhan
Professor of Law, Drexel University Kline School of Law; Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Law and Society, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Melanie Wilson
Lindsay Young Distinguished Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law
Jon Gould
Foundation Professor of Criminology, Justice and Law and Director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University
Jared Hamernick
J.D. Candidate 2021, University of Illinois College of Law; Managing Articles Editor, University of Illinois Law Review, 2020
Elizabeth Joh
Professor of Law, U.C. Davis School of Law
Rob Mikos
Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University
Jonathan Hafetz
Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law
Scott Roehm
Washington Director, the Center for Victims of Torture
Hina Shamsi
Director, ACLU National Security Project; Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School
Michael Helfand
Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Faculty & Research, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law; Visiting Professor and Oscar M. Ruebhausen Distinguished Fellow, Yale Law School; and Senior Fellow, Shalom Hart-man Institute of North America
David Noll
Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School
Zach Clopton
Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
RonNell Andersen Jones
Teitelbaum Chair & Professor of Law, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
Lisa Grow Sun
Howard W. Hunter Professor of Law, Brigham Young University Law School
Heidi Kitrosser
Robins Kaplan Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School; Newton N. Minow Visiting Professor of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
Art Leonard
Robert F. Wagner Professor of Labor and Employment Law at New York Law School
Lesley Wexler
John D. Colombo Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law
Heidi Hurd
Ross and Helen Workman Chair in Law and Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois College of Law
Jeff Lambert
Teaching Assistant Professor, University of Illinois College of Law Library
Amber Polk
Teaching Fellow, Program in Environmental Law & Policy and Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School
Verity Winship
Professor & Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, University of Illinois College of Law
Ron Lee
Associate Professor, Political Science, Rockford University
Derek Muller
Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
Derek Bambauer
Professor of Law, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
Eric Goldman
Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law, and Co-Director of the High Tech Law Institute, Santa Clara University School of Law
Nathan Cortez
Callejo Endowed Professor of Law, Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow, Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law
Jacob Sherkow
Professor of Law, College of Law, and Affiliate, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Permanent Visiting Professor, Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law, University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law
Ed Larson
Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law, University Professor of History at Pepperdine University
Josh Blackman
Professor, South Texas College of Law Houston
Seth Barrett Tillman
Lecturer, Maynooth University Department of Law, Ireland (Roinn Dlí Ollscoil Mhá Nuad)
Joshua Braver
Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School