The Limitations of the Law

Featured image Scott and Paul rightly express skepticism over George Will’s optimism that the Supreme Court will follow the plain language of the Constitution’s “origination clause” when it comes to Obamacare’s “tax.”  I mean, after all this time, why start following the Constitution now? Whether and how the judiciary should be “activist” in defense of liberty is a question that divides conservatives and has a long history, but let’s step back for »

Eric Holder’s idiotic praise of Justice Sotomayor

Featured image As I noted here, Justice Sotomayor dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision upholding what should be a truism: the Constitution permits a state to prohibit race discrimination by public institutions. Sotomayor was joined by the ultra-leftist Justice Ginsburg. However, she failed to persuade the only moderately leftist Justice Breyer, who joined the 6-2 majority. Attorney General Holder calls Sotomayor’s dissent “courageous.” Her dissent is lots of things — verbose and »

Essence of the Constitution

Featured image In his column today, George Will lauds a short new book by Timothy Sandefur, The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty. Will provides a short course in the original understanding of the Constitution and the Progressives’ effort to remake it in the name of “democracy.” Please check out his column. The column presents a useful reminder of the difference between modern liberals and »

Speech, corruption, and the Republican form of government

Featured image Thomas Jefferson recorded a dinner conversation in which John Adams argued that if the British government could be purged of “corruption,” it would become the most perfect government ever devised. Alexander Hamilton shocked Jefferson and Adams when he replied that if purged of corruption, the British system would fall. By corruption, Hamilton apparently had in mind the Crown’s ability to influence the House of Commons. He also had in mind »

Ineffable limits of executive power

Featured image As we all know, President Obama has suspended the enforcement of various provisions of federal law for blatantly political purposes, Obamacare foremost among them. It doesn’t seem to be within the purview of the man (or woman) whose constitutional charge is to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed….” As Nancy Pelosi might put it, we had to elect him president “so that you can find out what [was] »

Reynolds on Obamacare standing

Featured image When the Obama administration unveiled one of its improvisations in Obamacare last week, HHS posted a handy cheat sheet. The cheat sheet summarized regulations promulgated by the Department. In his Forbes column “Government takeover,” Avik Roy posted a link to the regulations (interim final rule) here. I found the regulations to be a highly questionable exercise in rule by decree. Cloaked in an air of emergency, they strongly urge the »

Whatever happened to the Constitution? cont’d

Featured image The Progressive assault on the Constitution of limited government and divided powers succeeded in the creation of the apparatus of the administrative state. In the administrative state, executive branch agencies exercise judicial and legislative powers. The assumption of royal or dictatorial powers by the president has grown up along with the administrative state. President Obama has accelerated the process and aggravated the phenomenon. We have previously quoted Professor Jean Yarbrough: »

Whatever happened to the Constitution?

Featured image The Progressive assault on the Constitution of limited and divided powers gave us the sixteenth amendment (authorizing the income tax) and the seventeenth amendment (providing for the direct election of United States Senators) to the Constitution. This past week Paul Moreno decried the impact of these amendments in the column “How the states committed suicide.” When it comes to the damage done to the original Constitution by the Progressives, I »

Justice Thomas speaks: The video

Featured image Our friends at the Federalist Society have posted a comprehensive set of links to the videos of this year’s National Lawyers Convention programs here. As promised, they have posted the 51-minute video of Justice Thomas’s interview with Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Sykes this past Thursday evening at the Federalist Society’s annual dinner. Those of us in attendance that night knew we had been witness to something special. Responding to the »

Dershowitz Versus Cruz (and J. Madison)

Featured image While we wait for the dust to settle to get a clear view of the damage from the budget and debt deal currently hanging fire in Washington, I thought it worth taking note of Alan Dershowitz on CNN last night, who, while praising Ted Cruz as one of the best and brightest students he ever had at Harvard Law School nonetheless goes on to make a terrible argument that Cruz’s »

David Gelernter: To the Inglewood airheads

Featured image David Gelernter is professor of computer science at Yale. He is the author of books including Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion, Judaism: A Way of Being, and, most recently, America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats). Last week he contributed the still timely post “How to talk to liars.” Today Professor Gelernter writes in response to the news that Halloween has been called off »

More Madison on the Budget Fight

Featured image A couple days ago I brought to our attention James Madison’s thoughts on representative deliberation from Federalist #37, and why he wouldn’t be surprised at all about the current standoff in Congress. There’s another reflection of Madison that we should take on board as we watch the scene, but first a brief set up: Harold Pease argues that because all tax bills must originate in the House, per Article I, »

Where is the Constitution?

Featured image Today is Constitution Day, as set in federal law. I didn’t know that — I didn’t know we had such a day — until reading the column in honor of the day by Professor Wilfred McClay, published here in the Oklahoman over the weekend. Professor James Ceaser also observes the day in “Celebrating Madison in Jefferson country.” As befits a historian, Professor McClay stepped back to explain the designation of »

A word from Jean Yarbrough

Featured image Steve Hayward inducted Jean Yarbrough into the Power Line 100 early on in his series. Professor Yarbrough teaches government at Bowdoin College and holds the Gary M. Pendy Sr. Professor of Social Sciences chair at Bowdoin College. She is the author, most recently, of Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition, winner of the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for the best book published on the U.S. »

The lonesome death of Buckyballs

Featured image I want to draw attention to Sohrab Ahmari’s Wall Street Journal weekend interview with Craig Zucker: “What happens when a man takes on the feds.” It is a profoundly disturbing tale of the Age of Obama. The tale calls to mind (to my mind anyway) the Leninist question: What is to be done? I wish I knew. UPDATE: Professor Jean Yarbrough helps me out and comments here. »

Rand Paul embarrasses himself again

Featured image Immigration reform isn’t the only issue as to which Rand Paul is embarrassing himself these days. The Senator’s “Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013” represents a stunning combination of ignorance and hysteria. Andy McCarthy demonstrates Paul’s ignorance. He writes: [T]he bill is unacquainted with the Fourth Amendment — either the one given to us by the Framers or even the one enlarged over time by Supreme Court jurisprudence. . . »

Live from the Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute

Featured image I’m attending the two-day Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute in St. Paul this year. It’s a great program that attracts leading practitioners from all around the country. I have attended several times in years past, but this year I’m here because I need the continuing legal education credits (including Minnesota’s offensive get-your-mind right elimination-of-bias requirement) before June 30. The institute program draws a large audience which begins with plenary sessions »