Constitution

Natural and “Unnatural” Citizens

Featured image Everyone is skipping right past the deeper meaning of the little detail that the New York “devicer” (I guess “bomber” is now a trigger warning term?—heh) Ahmad Khan Rahami is a “naturalized” American citizen, having immigrated from Afghanistan some years ago. Stop right there, and let’s think for a moment about what the term “naturalized citizen” ought to mean, for in the case of Mr. Rahami, his “naturalization” process clearly »

The Constitution: What Is It Good For?

Featured image I got to spend the week before last with the summer honors students of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), and if you’re interested in helping counter the rot of higher education, ISI should be high up on your charitable donation list. My lecture topic was devoted to explaining why the idea of a “living Constitution” is so crucial to modern liberalism and so dangerous to our liberties and free institutions. »

Randy Barnett on the Declaration

Featured image Randy Barnett, currently professor of law at Georgetown Law School, is one of the most important constitutionalists today. His latest book, Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People, will have a long shelf life as an important treatise on constitutional originalism. Barnett is all the more interesting for having come to his interest in constitutional law indirectly. As he explained in a previous book (Restoring »

Will Speaker Ryan defend the power of the purse?

Featured image Earlier this month, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker issued a statement praising a determination by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that paves the way for completing the privatization of the Internet’s domain name system. Such privatization seems like a highly questionable move as a matter of policy, but the overriding issue here isn’t internet governance; rather it is Article I of the Constitution. Here’s why. NTIA, located within »

The Next President Must Be a White Male Republican

Featured image That is Glenn Reynolds’s modest proposal. And he is right. The supposed watchdogs of the press become toothless lap pets when the president is a Democrat, let alone a black Democrat. Those of us who believe in the Constitution can wish for only thing: a white male Republican, like Donald Trump. Only the victory of such a candidate will cause the liberal commentariat (and maybe the judiciary) to re-awaken to »

The Endless Enigma of Donald Trump

Featured image Trump is likely to be puzzling us long after he finishes his second term in the White House (heh). Is he a would-be fascist, a mere authoritarian, a savvy “deal-maker,” or just an imperious narcissist? Or something else? Paul has already drawn our attention to Robert Kagan’s Washington Post article making the case that Trump is essentially a fascist. Fascism is a word that is hard to define with agreeable »

James Madison’s Ultimate Test

Featured image Given the lack of confidence in either of the two major party presidential presumptive nominees, earlier today I tweeted out the following thought-provoker: What prompted this was a passage from another old unpublished lecture of Harry V. Jaffa from 1996 that I happen to have found during recent book research: [Madison] believed that the statesmanship of the wise and the good that went into the architecture of the Constitution would »

Federal Court Holds Obama’s Insurance Subsidy Payments Unconstitutional

Featured image Today federal judge Rosemary Collyer issued a decision in House of Representatives v. Burwell, the case brought by the House to challenge the legality of the Obama administration’s payments of Obamacare subsidies to insurers, despite the fact that Congress refused to appropriate money for such subsidies. Judge Collyer ruled the administration’s payments unconstitutional. I find her reasoning highly persuasive. Here is the decision in full: HofR Challenge to ACA DCt »

Park Ranger mocks Constitution while leading tour of Independence Hall

Featured image Mary “Missy” Hogan, a National Park Service employee who gives guided tours of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, stunned a group of tourists this week by telling them that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were the product of “class elites who were just out to protect their privileged status.” Christian Adams has the details at PJ Media. Hogan isn’t just a park ranger. She’s the chief of Operations for »

The Man Who Would Be King

Featured image Here at Power Line, we have argued strenuously that President Obama’s orders suspending enforcement of various immigration laws are unconstitutional because they violate the Take Care Clause. Law professor and former appellate judge Michael McConnell makes that point powerfully, reviewing the long struggle in Great Britain over royal prerogatives, the context of the founders’ inclusion pf the Take Care Clause in the Constitution, and its subsequent legal history in the »

Can Obama get Garland on the Court without Senate confirmation?

Featured image Gregory Diskant, an accomplished New York lawyer, argues in the Washington Post that President Obama could appoint Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court without the Senate having confirmed the nomination. How is this possible? Because, says Diskant, the Senate could be deemed to have waived its “advice and consent” role on a Supreme Court nomination if it “fails to act” on the nomination within a “reasonable” time. Diskant’s argument »

A Few Words from Walter Berns

Featured image I’ve spent most of this week immersed in the great works of Walter Berns, especially his very first book from 1957, Freedom, Virtue and the First Amendment. What a splendid and wonderful book! And although much of the proximate subject matter (the Supreme Court’s free speech jurisprudence up to the mid-1950s) is dated, the central arguments of the book are not, which is contained in the central term of the »

Forrest McDonald, RIP [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Sad news yesterday of the passing of one of the great conservative historians of our time, Forrest McDonald, at the age of 89. He taught for many years at the University of Alabama, and was the author of several important revisionist works on American history, including a favorable biography of the great electric utility executive Sam Insull (one of the “economic royalists” that FDR hunted down with mixed success during »

Which Tribe Are You?

Featured image Lawrence Tribe is one of the liberal eminences at Harvard Law School, author of a leading constitutional law casebook (that for many editions failed to include the text of the Constitution, until Ed Meese embarrassed him about that fact back in the 1980s), and a ringleader of the shameless and demagogic mob that derailed Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination back in 1987. But right now Trump and lots of liberals »

The man our founders warned us against

Featured image In the late 1960’s Nicholas Von Hoffman published his portrait of the hippies in San Francisco under the title We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us Against. Von Hoffman’s title was a precursor to the inane messianism of Obama’s “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” though Von Hoffman’s title made more sense than Obama’s shibboleth. In his assumption of monarchical powers and his accompanying demagogy, Barack Obama »

Carson and the constitution — Andy McCarthy’s take

Featured image Andy McCarthy has weighed in on Ben Carson statement that Islam is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution and that therefore he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” Like me, McCarthy disagrees with Charles Krauthammer’s view that Dr. Carson’s statement is inconsistent with the Constitution. Krauthammer’s position is based on the idea that the Constitution isn’t just a legal document, it is a “didactic »

Carson and the constitution

Featured image Ben Carson is under attack from both liberals and conservatives for saying “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation; I absolutely would not agree with that.” Dr. Carson’s comment deserves to be criticized. It is too sweeping. Carson recognized as much. That’s why he later said that what he disagrees with is voting for candidates (of any religion) who want a theocracy. But »