Tag: Constitution

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.

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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? More

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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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

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.

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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.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Nation Building

 

This is a question to our members with a grounding in political science and history. I have no idea what the answer is, which is why I’m posting the question.

People in the United States, especially those of the centre-right persuasion, often cite the genius of the founders of their nation in creating a constitutional system in which the powers of government were separated into legislative, executive, and judicial branches, which were independent and, at some level, adversaries of one another. This was intended to prevent a concentration of power in one branch. The system of elections was “first past the post” which, while not intended at the time, ended up reinforcing a two party system in which the parties had an incentive to move toward the centre in order to assemble an electoral majority. A bill of rights was quickly added to the constitution to enumerate pre-existing rights which the government was prohibited from infringing.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What’s the Sneakiest Thing You Ever Did as a Parent?

 

A few neighborhood kids stopped by today. We were blessed with lots of kids in the neighborhood — my children’s childhood was much like my own with most of their time spent outside.

My granddaughter had a particularly obnoxious (read: noisy) toy and I mentioned it sounded like an ice cream truck. All the kids had a vague recollection of a popsicle or two — hardly a regular occurrence. I came clean and admitted I slipped the ice cream truck driver a 20 at the beginning of every summer to avoid our block.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Beauty of Sacrifice: Holy Thursday

 

Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper may be one of the most famous paintings in the world, but I confess it does not stir my soul. Perhaps this is because of Leonardo’s focus on Judas’s treachery — the painting depicts the Apostles’ reaction when Christ reveals one of them will betray Him. Even Fra Angelico’s austere fresco — in the midst of Christ leaning over to give the host (Himself) to a bowing Apostle — inspires greater pathos.

Consider instead Peter Paul Rubens’s 17th Century masterpiece (shown below), in which a light-emanating Christ lifts bread with His eyes raised to heaven in gratitude and a hint of trepidation — fusing the unbloody sacrifice of Melchizedek with His own bloody sacrifice as the Paschal Lamb. Judas is the only man looking directly at the viewer, with an expression that pierces the soul, as if to indict all generations with a glance. In an instant, we are reminded of our own betrayal of Him and yet swept up into the light of His sacrifice and salvation.

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Did the Obergefell decision open the floodgates for judicial activism? From Howard Slugh at National Review Online: In Obergfell, Justice Kennedy did far more than merely discover a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. He wrote that judges have an ongoing “duty” to identify and protect new “fundamental rights.” He maintained that judges should institute new […]

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Back in February 2010, the Democrats held a majority of seats on the US House. Immediately following the Scott Brown’s upset victory in the US Senate race in Massachusetts’ special election, the Democrats held a 59 to 41 majority in the Senate. With Barack Obama in the White House, the senate filibuster was the only piece of […]

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This week on OppCast, we let the legal nerds take over. With the marathon Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Neil Gorsuch finally in the bag, it’s not totally clear what was learned, what was accomplished and what to expect moving forward. That’s why we brought in special guest Shoshana Weissmann, digital media director of Opportunity Lives and a card-carrying legal nerd, along with the Cato Institute’s Senior Constitutional Scholar Ilya Shapiro, to geek out on what you may have missed. (And perhaps a little mutton-busting while we’re at it.)

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ricochet – Where Entrepreneurial Teams Are Born

 

I’ve been a Ricochet member since June of 2010 and never really approached the site as a place to connect with other members to pursue business opportunities. But I’d certainly recommend that now to anyone who thinks that Ricochet is only a discussion site to hash out political or cultural issues.

In December of last year, I received a message from the owner of a firm that I had commissioned product design work from over the last couple of decades for some of the high-tech companies where I had worked. The owner conveyed to me that they had a client who was working on developing an interactive, safe gun-training system to be launched on a crowdfunding site and that the inventor/engineer needed some marketing and product launch help and would I be interested? I was, but I knew that I would need the help of someone who was an expert on firearms, knew the gun industry, had marketed firearms products before, understood the various vertical markets within the gun industry, trained people on gun skills and safety and wrote regularly about guns, gun training, the Second Amendment and gun rights. I reached out to Ricochet Contributor, Kevin Creighton (@kevincreighton).

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I see the “super-precedent” canard has reemerged in the Gorsuch hearing. First, let’s do what Senator Feinstein fails to do, and define the term. As a former Pennsylvania, I’m afraid this is another of the late Senator Specter’s “magic bullets.” More

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We are always told of the filibuster’s supreme importance for the safeguarding of liberty against mob rule by whichever political party is at that particular time serving in the minority in the US Senate. The Senate is a cooling saucer, so we are told. Our founding fathers so distrusted democracy that they believed no issue […]

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As of this morning, there are two competing narratives over alleged spying and tampering with the Presidential election: the Russian Government hacking of the Democratic National Committee and now, the White House ‘wire-tapping’ the phones in Trump Tower. I wonder which of these is worse? Which will be the bigger story? More

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