Constitution

Strictly for Gluttons: The “Maymester” Lectures

Featured image Last month I presented three informal, non-credit evening lectures here at Boulder for the “Maymester” session, and a few of you (well, okay, one person, with initials T.O.) wondered whether they could be videotaped and posted here.  And so here they are–but only if you really have a lot of spare time on your hands, since each one is more than an hour long, and conducted in my somewhat stream-of-consciousness »

Brown v. Board at 60

Featured image Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom rightly celebrate the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education today in the Wall Street Journal, and while I join them in thinking it the correct outcome of the case, it is a source of lasting mischief that the Supreme Court, led by the dubious new Chief Justice Earl Warren, decided the case on entirely non-constitutional grounds–a sorry fact the Thernstroms note briefly. Say what? »

The case against impeachment

Featured image I have read a galley copy of Andrew McCarthy’s forthcoming book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, discussed by John below. The book will not be published until June 3; this is not a review. I want only to add a few comments to John’s post now that the book has become an issue. Outside his immediate family, I don’t think Andy has admirers who think more »

Is It Time to Start Talking About Impeachment?

Featured image Lately a new theme has entered the Democrats’ fundraising appeals: don’t let the Republicans impeach Obama! This has struck me as strange, since there isn’t any move afoot in Washington to impeach the president, and the idea is scarcely ever mentioned by conservative activists. Today I got this email from the Democratic Party: To: John Hinderaker Reply to: democratic party@democrats.org How can I help? By sending money, of course! No »

Justice Ginsburg: Abolish Mother’s Day

Featured image The Left has been conducting an open campaign lately to persuade coerce Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose health has been shaky the last few years, to retire immediately so that President Obama can replace her with a high octane liberal while Democrats still have a majority in the Senate.  Nothing speaks “confidence” in your prospects more than trying to push a loyal soldier out the door.  So far »

The Problem of the Administrative State, in One Paragraph

Featured image Scott’s mention below of the teachings of Publius in The Federalist about how our modern administrative state tramples all over the separation of powers has seldom been explained better in recent times than in this classic paragraph below from Boston University law professor Gary Lawson, in his 1994 Harvard Law Review article “The Rise and Rise of the Administrative State.”  Savor this with a nice snifter of whiskey: The [Federal Trade] »

The Limitations of the Law, Part 2

Featured image In my obituary notice for Gary Becker the other day, I included this observation from Becker: “Government should do much less so they can concentrate on and do better with the tasks they are most needed for, such as police and military, infrastructure, safety nets, and regulation of activities with big externalities. Regrettably, I am not optimistic that much can be achieved quickly in slimming down governments, given the strong »

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 »