Tag: Constitution

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You get the political genie arising from the very bottle of ink with which the Constitution was scribed. You get three wishes consistent with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and you get them forever if you want, what would they be? What are the two or three things that […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: State of the Union

 

File:Federal Hall 2011 New York City.jpg“He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;” — U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 3

President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address to Congress on 8 January 1790. Congress was then meeting in Federal Hall, in New York City. Our first president addressed themes that we will hear President Donald Trump address, on 5 February 2019, the new date Speaker Pelosi invites him to take the floor of the House:

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America get a kick out of CNN commentator Areva Martin telling radio host David Webb his success is a result of white privilege – until Webb tells her he is black. They’re also aghast as 59 percent of registered voters support a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the nation’s highest earners, including 45 percent of Republicans. And they shake their heads as Beto O’Rourke openly wonders whether our “empire” can “still be managed by the same principles that were set down 230-plus years ago.”

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see some liberals embracing the conclusion that the executive branch – and the presidency in particular – has accumulated far more power than our founders intended. They just wonder whether lefties will still have these concerns once one of their own is in the White House. They also regret the news that the “Weekly Standard” will soon cease publication. And they’re a bit bewildered as President Trump’s personal attorney-turned-adversary, Michael Cohen, tells ABC News that he hopes his legacy will be that he helped to unify the nation.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Originalism in Theology and Law: Venerating Authoritative Texts

 

Ever since Marvin Olasky quoted SCOTX Justice Nathan Hecht on Harriet Miers’ originalism, I’ve been aware that there are connections between originalism in law and religion. I’ve done a bit of writing on the subject, including a failed unpublished essay and a draft of a chapter in a book that isn’t published either. Unlike the essay, the book is not a failed project; it’s just new and unfinished.

Mark Eckel, and I have agreed to be co-editors. Inshallah, we’ll put together our own chapters, the introduction chapter, and a proposal and get things underway sometime next year with a call for proposals from other possible authors. My finished chapter uncovers an important insight: Originalism in biblical theology is a bit more of an intentionalism, and originalism in American Constitutional law is a textualism, and there’s a reason for that difference.

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This relates to Professor Epstein’s post The Shaky Case for Birthright Citizenship. I’m starting a new thread because I couldn’t figure out what was bugging me until last night, and I’d appreciate feedback on my thoughts. This is not a post advocating birthright citizenship as a policy. I find merit in the argument that the “born […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Founders Series #3: John Marshall

 

Historian Richard Brookhiser returns to the podcast for our third conversation on a Founder–in this case, the man most responsible for the Supreme Court–John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice, a log cabin Federalist, a patriotic soldier in the Revolution and a very successful lawyer, who then served in all three branches of government. (You read that right: The first three CJs thought the job wasn’t worth it…) Mr. Brookhiser is just publishing his biography of Marshall, the last of the great Federalists, out the week after the election, so go order it, buy it, read it, and let everyone know! We’ve already covered two great Federalists — Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris — so by now we can show fairly well what it was like to be the first party in government in American history.

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For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, my guest was Rich Higgins. Higgins, an expert in unconventional warfare and combatting terrorism with over 20 years experience at senior levels of the Defense Department, and early supporter of President Trump, served as director for strategic planning in President Trump’s National Security Council (NSC). Preview Open

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Next Brouhaha: Impeachment

 

The Left’s threats of impeachment of Trump have affected me in a number of ways: annoyance, incredulity, outrage, and weariness. They have been banging that drum since Trump was elected and, for the most part, I’ve ignored the noise. But the drums are beating louder, in spite of the Democrat leadership’s call to simmer down until after the elections.

Leftist Tom Steyer, a California billionaire determined to remove Trump from office (in addition to pursuing other foolish endeavors), has generated enough attention that he recently published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. I thought it was a good opportunity to learn his agenda for impeachment. I must say, I was both disquieted and angry.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Emanate Penumbras When There’s a Ninth Amendment?

 

Our Founders, in rebelling against Mother England, claimed for themselves “nothing but the liberty and privileges of Englishmen in the same degree, as if we had continued among our brethren in Great Britain”. Along with Blackstone, our Founders treated natural rights as A Thing. They drafted the Constitution as a document constraining the federal government to enumerated powers, and recorded in the Ninth Amendment that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” We’re all familiar with the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and the affirmation in the 14th Amendment that these rights are good against the federal government, too. But whatever happened to the unenumerated rights mentioned in the Ninth Amendment?

The Founders had good reason to believe in a constitutional order protecting unenumerated rights. After all, the Founders inherited their notions of rights, due process of law, and constitutionality from Mother England. Which isn’t to say they weren’t free to deviate from English traditions of law in declaring independence; obviously they were. But their understanding of law was rooted in English understanding of law, and only then shaped by their explicit deliberations. A reasonable person living at the time of ratification could be expected to understand the nature of law in a pretty English sense, a sense in which rights are discovered by the traditions of common law, and not all rights must be explicitly summarized in order to be respected.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Deep Dive on the Declaration of Independence and Its Relevance Today

 

In honor of Independence Day, for this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast I take a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, discussing:

  • Its unique place in human history and the cause of freedom
  • The link between natural law and natural rights, faith and freedom
  • The Founders’ emphasis on virtue and morality to sustain a free system of limited government
  • Parallels between the charges laid out against King George III in the Declaration and modern America from the administrative state to sanctuary cities
  • The Founders’ views on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and failing to live up to the values and principles of the Declaration
  • The imperative to defend liberty against tyranny
  • And much more

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

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Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and proof that our Constitution is a brilliant political document. It is a model used around the world, especially for Supreme Courts. But is it always necessary to look for countries to adopt written frameworks as a means of becoming a politically liberal society? Preview Open

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Here is a headline that epitomizes the times in which we are living: “The Ninth Circuit Just Allowed Children To Sue Trump Over Global Warming.” When you see a headline like that, all you can do is shake your head in exasperation and scream out into the ether, “Of course it did!” Because it’s the […]

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Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy watching new Republican ads tying incumbent Senate Democrats to Hillary Clinton’s trashing of Trump voters. They also respond to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who says individual gun rights should have vanished at the same time as state militias and that the second amendment ought to be repealed. And they get a kick out of the New York Times breathlessly revealing that state laws designed to limit abortion are all part of an effort by pro-life activists to reverse Roe v. Wade.

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AND the Bill of Rights, you self-righteous, finger-pointing, screaming, hate-mongering, divisive—oh, I think you get the idea. Where do you get off telling me about ‘rights’ discovered in these documents in the last decade that scholars and lawyers have been unable to find in the preceding 22 decades? Same-sex ‘marriage’, a fine that’s a tax […]

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California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra (D-CA), has threatened private citizens in California with prosecution and fines should they help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in identifying illegal aliens for incarceration and possible deportation. Said Becerra in response to a question about the announcement: “There are new laws in place in California now in 2018 with the […]

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Recently Mitch McConnell refused to say whether he would agree to seat Roy Moore if Moore is elected in the special Alabama senate race next month to fill Jeff Sessions’ old seat. Could the Senate refuse to seat someone who has been elected? Let’s read the Constitution to find out. Hmm, ok, that was slightly […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Free Speech in the Crosshairs

 

In his weekend interview in the Wall Street Journal, my friend and editor Tunku Varadarajan wrote an elegant and gracious account of my views on freedom of speech in the wake of the recent, tragic events in Charlottesville. In this essay, I will elaborate on some of the themes developed there.

When it comes to free speech, the Constitution speaks in broad generalities that start the conversation off in the right direction, but which, standing alone, do not fill in all the missing pieces in a complex puzzle. The relevant text announces that Congress may pass “no law abridging the freedom of speech or the press.” That seemingly strict command is essential to guard against government suppression or censorship of political protests. But the incompleteness of the text raises two difficult questions. First, just what kinds of activities enjoy this constitutional protection? And what justifies limits on that constitutional freedom? Both of these gray areas came into play in Charlottesville, and both will prove more intractable as political strife in the United States deepens. In this dire climate, it is best to return to first principles.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Liu Xiaobo’s Two Prisons

 

China’s 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has been imprisoned by authorities since 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power.” (At the Nobel awards ceremony, he was represented by an empty chair.) His wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest since his prison sentence began, in spite of not being charged with a crime.

Mr. Liu has recently been diagnosed with liver cancer and refused permission to leave China to seek treatment. My understanding is that the Chinese authorities will allow him to have acupuncture and other traditional Chinese medicines but say it is too late for surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy treatments.