Bastille Day is Bunk

Idiocracy

Bastille Day is Bunk

The American civil calendar is not alone in being festooned with holidays celebrating poli...
They Really Meant It

Law

They Really Meant It

[Editor’s note: see also rounds 1-3 of our debate on originalism, interpretation, an...
The Genuine Article

Law

The Genuine Article

Austin Bramwell says that I argue, "€œthe Constitution grants the Federal government [si...
Phony Originalism

Law

Phony Originalism

Since the days of Ronald Reagan and Edmund Meese, the Republican Party's position has been...
The Frank Ricci Indecision

Law

The Frank Ricci Indecision

On Monday, June 29, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the plaintiffs, a group of white...
When Tom Met Sally

Love

When Tom Met Sally

People often ask me how I can write about Thomas Jefferson or James Madison, Abraham Linco...
A Dubious Victory

Guns

A Dubious Victory

With its decision in Nordyke v. King last week, in which the recent Supreme Court Heller d...
The Book of Ruth

Law

The Book of Ruth

Ohio State University's law school recently held a symposium marking Ruth Bader Ginsburg's...
Faith of Our Fathers

Uncategorized

Faith of Our Fathers

Two years ago, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham published American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. There, as in his public appearances and journalism since, Meacham argued that the United States were founded on a Madisonian vision of secular government. Meacham of course did not blaze any new trail making that argument. In fact, since the Supreme Court’s decision in Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township (1947), Americans have lived under a system in which local and state ordinances recognizing the traditional Christianity of their culture are apt to be invalidated by federal courts. Usually, the decisions striking such ordinances down come wrapped in decisions purporting to instruct the hoi polloi in the error of our ways.

The Obamanoid Constitution

Uncategorized

The Obamanoid Constitution

It might have come as a relief for proponents of constitutional government, then, to see Bush return to Texas. It might have, but it didn”€™t. The electoral defeat of the Republican Party in 2008, after all, meant the replacement of a party that at least talks the originalist talk by one that holds originalism (also known as “€œlaw”€) in contempt. Already in the first weeks of the Barack Obama administration, Democrats in Congress and in the Executive Branch have taken several steps along the road of absolute constitutional nihilism. Since the U.S. Constitution stands for federalism, republicanism, and limited government, their program is essentially to ignore it. Given majority power, the Democratic Party feels entitled to adopt whatever initiatives come to mind, and those initiatives tend toward further centralization, empowerment of unelected officials, and statism.

The Birth of a Notion”€”National “€œPurpose”€

Uncategorized

The Birth of a Notion”€”National “€œPurpose”€

Plutarch hoped that his readers could learn something of how to behave in seeing the wages of eminent men’s (mis)behavior. American readers, however, seem to have adopted an attitude of “€œI just like to know what they did. They were so great!”€ Perhaps nowhere is the tendency to lick one’s subject’s boots more in evidence than in relation to Abraham Lincoln. New Orleans may have decided that it was inappropriate for a public high school to be named for slave-master George Washington, John Adams deservedly earns criticism for the Sedition Act, and Franklin Roosevelt unthinkingly carried a cigarette in public, but Abraham Lincoln is not to be criticized in any way.

Too Early To Tell

History

Too Early To Tell

In the latest issue of National Review, one finds a laudatory review of a new doorstop bio...
Bad Paper”€”How the Fed Bailed on the Constitution

Uncategorized

Bad Paper”€”How the Fed Bailed on the Constitution

Since the Truman administration, Democrats have called for the nationalization of the health-care industry. The Democratic Party’s position, stressed more strongly at some times than at others, has been that the average Joe should not have to sacrifice much to pay his family’s medical bills. For Republicans, this has been sacrilege. Sometimes, Republicans explained their hostility to socialized medicine economically; Sometimes, they explained it in terms of inefficiency. And sometimes, the Republican opposition was couched in constitutional terms: “€œWe can”€™t do this,”€ they said, “€œbecause there’s nothing in the Constitution that says we can.”€ Democrats insist that this last argument is really just a mask for class interests. Republicans, they say, don”€™t really care about the Constitution, which even the rubes know hasn”€™t bound us since the 1930s (at least) anyway. Comes now the team of George W. Bush, Ben Bernanke, and Henry Paulson to prove once and for all that at least in the case of New York and New England Republicans (as an adopted Texan, I insist that the Bushes are from Connecticut), the cynics are right. It is about class interest.

The Myth of the Conservative Legal Movement

Uncategorized

The Myth of the Conservative Legal Movement

Steven Teles set out to write a book explaining how conservatives in the law achieved stature and success and transformed a profession that had become monolithically liberal. What The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement reveals, however, is that reports of liberalism’s demise have been greatly exaggerated and just how far away we are from a conservative and constitutionalist legal culture.

Taking Back the Constitution”€”A Case for Impeaching George W. Bush

Uncategorized

Taking Back the Constitution”€”A Case for Impeaching George W. Bush

On Saturday, March 8, 2008, President George W. Bush vetoed a congressional bill that would have explicitly banned interrogation techniques like waterboarding. In doing so, Bush cemented his worthiness of impeachment. The impeachment power allows Congress to keep the other two branches from grasping at powers that the Constitution gives to the Legislative Branch. Congress is described in Article I of the Constitution, and its structure was the chief issue in the Philadelphia Convention. Why? Because in a republic, it is to be the most important branch.

The U.S. Constitution is Not Democratic”€”and Why That’s a Good Thing

Uncategorized

The U.S. Constitution is Not Democratic”€”and Why That’s a Good Thing

Sanford Levinson is very upset. As he sees it in his new book, the United States’ founding document is clearly lacking and needs to be updated for the 21st century. What are the principles this new national Constitution is supposed to further? They include achieving “€œa more perfect union”€ and “€œpromoting the general welfare.” Also fundamental are equality and democracy. But in all this, Levinson is blind to the fact that the “undemocratic” aspects of the Constitution are indispensable in securing liberty and promoting good governance.


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