The Tea Party movement started from a belief that Washington is out of control. This belief led Tea Party after Tea Party to adopt the core value of limited government under the Constitution. But there is a type of local and state agency that is also out of control, and offends our core values, as well.
I’m talking about local and state human rights commissions. Critics say they are runaway trains, run by left-wing political hacks, untrained, who think nothing of trampling on the separation of powers, free speech, and due process rights. Masterpiece cake baker Jack Phillips was the victim of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Some of the commissioners stated their view that there is no room for religion in the public sphere and, further that Phillips’ faith was “despicable”. They compared his widely-held religious views to defending slavery or the Holocaust. The Supreme Court struck down their enforcement action against Phillips because they were openly hostile to religion.
Phillips is not the only victim. Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania human rights commission took upon itself the power to puff up a state statute forbidding discrimination on the basis of ‘sex’ to include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘transgender’ claims. Also this month, the Connecticut human rights commission ordered all employers in the state not to discriminate against job applicants with dishonorable discharges from the military. I don’t know about you, but these sure sound like questions for the state legislature to me.
A recent panel presentation reviewed a number of other cases from around the country. In Fort Worth, the commission has the power to investigate and issue determinations. In New York City, the commission can levy fines and file criminal proceedings. In Orange County, California, the commission was prepared to condemn a university instructor for hate speech without ever watching the videotape of the event in question. In Anchorage, Alaska, the head of the commission swore out a complaint against an attorney who was representing someone before the commission for remarks the attorney had made to the media.
In Oregon, the staffers bringing the claims and the administrative law judge – who is not a lawyer - work for the same agency, breaching separation of powers. Procedural safeguards are limited – discovery is minimal and the rules of evidence don’t apply – you can be done in by hearsay. In one case, the commissioner had made prejudicial statements to the media, but a motion to disqualify him for bias was rejected. In another instance, the defendants had a gag order placed on them – they could not defend themselves or discuss their beliefs in the media while the case was pending.
This is just a sampling of what has been going on with these commissions. So what can be done about it?
Republicans in Colorado introduced legislation to change the way human rights commissioners are appointed, beef up the oversight they receive, and allow parties to skip the commission altogether and go right to court. They later agreed with Democrats just to increase the size of the commission and subject it to a legislative audit. I don’t know where things stand in Colorado at the moment, but now would be a good time for activists to agitate for stopping unelected runaway commissions in other states that are misusing 14th Amendment Equal Protection to engage in social engineering and impose their left-wing political agendas on the rest of us.
2A: Expert John Lott demolishes study claiming ‘U.S. has the most mass shootings’; U.S. ranks 58th; study author hiding data and won’t debate Lott
1A: Federal judge voids California’s 1923 ban on handgun advertising as violating free speech
1A: student sues Wisconsin community college for preventing her from handing out religious-themed Valentine’s Day cards
1A: Rochester gives up on trying to enforce injunction relating to abortion clinic free speech buffer zone against a non-party
Free expression: ‘report your friends and neighbors to the police for making insulting comments’. Soviet Union long ago and far away? Nope. UK today.
2A: California to ratchet up ammunition controls next year; already, residents must buy their ammo in-state from state-approved vendors.
2A: California bill (AB2888) expanding list of people who can ask for gun violence restraining orders advances to Governor’s desk
2A: left-wing group funding public radio advocacy ‘journalism’ aimed at refining how to get gun control measures passed. #ExposeTheirMethods
5A: terror suspect claims Trump tweets calling for death penalty makes a fair prosecutorial decision impossible
8A: 9th Circuit rules prosecuting the homeless for sleeping outside is cruel and unusual punishment
Sovereign immunity: Supreme Court to hear issue of whether a state can be forced into another state’s courts
AG Jeff Sessions speaks against nationwide injunctions which used to be rare, but have hampered Trump 25 times in 2 years
Editorial: 9th Circuit intellectually dishonest in donor disclosure case; ignored record evidence of lack of necessity, state’s failure to safeguard names, and threats against AFP Foundation donors
Shame on John Brennan for calling on Deep State resisters to disobey Presidential order to declassify documents. This would overturn the Constitutional order. None dare call it treason.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Anyone who watches TV in America can recite these words in their sleep. But what they actually mean in practice can surprise you.
Take the highly publicized case of Brendan Dassey who was convicted of murder and other offenses based on a confession he made when he was 16. His story was made into a miniseries on Netflix. His lawyers argued that Brendan is intellectually challenged and susceptible to suggestion. Brendan has a low IQ and tests in the 7th percentile. They say detectives spoon-fed him answers that were incriminating and consistent with the evidence, which Brendan then adopted. No lawyer or parent was present. The session was recorded and one report said he appeared to be unaware of the gravity of his situation. A judge would later write, “What occurred here was the interrogation of an intellectually impaired juvenile.... Dassey was subjected to myriad psychologically coercive techniques....” One of those techniques was detectives repeatedly saying they already knew what had happened. This judge called Dassey’s conviction “a profound miscarriage of justice.”
Was this a voluntary and truthful confession, or was it coerced? The Supreme Court acted on the case earlier this year, but before turning to that, let’s first look at the Constitution and the history of the right against self-incrimination.
The Fifth Amendment states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself....” The right against self-incrimination applies in state criminal cases through what is called the incorporation doctrine. [Chemerinsky, Constitutional Law (4th ed.), p. 516]
The history of compulsory self-incrimination goes back at least as far as the Spanish Inquisition. It was used in England for 400 years after the Magna Carta. [The Making of America, pp. 705-06] The English Star Chamber used torture to obtain confessions. In 16th and 17th century England, anyone refusing to swear their innocence was considered guilty. Suspected Puritans were pressured to take the oath and reveal the names of other Puritans. The Puritans began to resist the interrogations and brought the idea of a right against self-incrimination with them when they fled to the New World, where the right ended up in our Constitution.
Back to Brendan Dassey and the question of whether his confession was voluntary, a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his conviction in June of 2017, but the full court reinstated it in December of that year. The Supreme Court turned down the case in June of this year, declining to hear it.
In arguing for that result, the state of Wisconsin asserted that the confession was voluntary and properly obtained. The detectives were sympathetic and encouraged Dassey to be truthful. Another judge along the way wrote:
Dassey was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse. He was sentenced to life in prison and won’t be eligible for parole until 2048. He still has supporters, though, who hope to spring him before then.
One final note: Tomorrow is Constitution Day. Celebrate the fact we have a Constitution that prevents tyranny and protects our rights, like our right against self-incrimination. Sure, there are tough cases where it’s hard to decide whether a confession is voluntary or coerced but, still, having the right sure beats being tortured in the Star Chamber, doesn’t it?
9th Circuit orders disclosure of AFP (Koch Brothers) donors to state of California (Constitution news round-up)
1A: 9th Circuit orders disclosure of AFP (Koch Brothers) donors to state of California; says donors won’t be deterred from donating or face harassment
1A: Trump’s exhortation "get 'em out of here" during 2016 campaign rally did not incite to riot, 6th Circuit rules
1A: cheerleaders prevail against school district which attempted to ban Bible verses on banners at football games
Justice Department to meet with state AGs to discuss whether social media companies are “intentionally stifling” free speech
100+ Facebook employees form group to promote space for ideological diversity within their ‘intolerantly liberal’ company
1A: Ben Shapiro and conservative student group sue UMinn for viewpoint-based discrimination in refusing to offer speech venue on main campus
Executive Overreach: federal judge refuses to kill DACA at preliminary injunction stage, but makes clear he thinks it’s unconstitutional
2A: 3D gun blueprints for sale on flash drives after judge blocks free release online
14A Affirmative Action – Justice Department joins suit against Harvard for suppressing Asian-American applicants
14A: feds reopen case against Rutgers for creating a hostile environment for Jewish students
14A: Local and state rights commissions are runaway trains, untrained left-wing political hacks trampling separation of powers, free speech, and due process; have power to entrap, fine, investigate and gag (podcast)
14A: Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission arrogates to itself the power to puff up ‘sex’ to include ‘gender’ to broaden reach of statute to cover sexual orientation and transgender discrimination claims
14A: federal appeals court tosses lower court’s injunction against Michigan law eliminating straight-ticket voting, finds no evidence law (which many states have) was racially motivated
14A Fundamental Rights: U.S. judge strikes down Texas law requiring dignified burial of abortion remains – ‘unduly burdens abortion right’ (Casey analysis)
1A Religion: Masterpiece baker seeks to expand Supreme Court ruling beyond hostility to religion by certain officials to hostility by government in general
4A: Texas Medical Board engaging in warrantless searches of doctor’s offices in ‘back-door gun control’ effort
Eminent Domain: South African constitution does not limit “property” to land; changing it would authorize confiscation of homes, trademarks, pension funds, etc. without compensation
8A: Oregon attorneys argue sentencing juveniles for murder to 30 years with possibility of parole after that amounts to unconstitutional life sentence for juveniles
9A: Kavanaugh rejects ‘fountain of rights’ theory of 9aA; would limit declaration of unenumerated rights to those ‘rooted in history and tradition’
Political bias in Public Accommodations: Houston Starbucks boots customers for wearing ex-Muslim t-shirts
Chevron: deference is a many-splendored thing and will remain covertly even if Chevron is overturned; courts will defer to agency findings of fact, etc.
A socialist command economy is incompatible with limited government having only specified powers under the Constitution
Shame! Beto O’Rourke campaign asks VFW to take down U.S. flags for campaign appearance; VFW Commander says “hell, no.... I can’t believe any American would ask us to do that”
Penn State campuses to celebrate Constitution Day with extensive activities including posters, free pocket Constitutions, bus trip to Flight 93 Memorial
A speech he gave last year gives a pretty good indication of the judicial philosophy of Brett Kavanaugh, the man likely to be the next Supreme Court justice.
Kavanaugh led off his speech with this: “The Framers believed that in order to protect individual liberty, power should not be concentrated in one person or one institution.” Bingo! That is the key point – preventing the concentration of too much power in too few hands. That he led off with this point is encouraging. He elaborated by showing a healthy respect for the separation of powers and federalism.
Then he took up the all-important question of who should be in charge of changing the Constitution. Kavanaugh said he believes “that changes to the Constitution and laws are to be made by the people through the amendment process and, where appropriate, through the legislative process—not by the courts snatching that constitutional or legislative authority for themselves.” In other words, no living and breathing Constitution made up by the courts. Instead, Kavanaugh said, the Constitution lives and breathes every time the amendment process is used and our elected representatives play their part.
More clues come from his discussion of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, whom Kavanaugh calls his “judicial hero”. Kavanaugh spoke favorably of how Rehnquist retrenched from the rulings of the activist Warren court of the 1960s. Rehnquist opinions carved out exceptions to the exclusionary rule that keeps evidence out of criminal trials. Rehnquist also found exceptions to Miranda rights which keep prosecutors from using statements of criminal defendants made before they are advised of their right to remain silent and to an attorney. Rehnquist criticized the notion of separation of church and state, and wrote opinions much friendlier to religion than his predecessors did. Rehnquist also wrote opinions that ‘put the brakes’ on the power of the federal government under the Commerce Clause, starting with the first principle that the Constitution limits the federal government to a few defined enumerated powers. Rehnquist also shied away from the Supreme Court declaring willy-nilly new fundamental rights under the Due Process Clause. Rehnquist refused to find an unenumerated federal right to assisted suicide because it was not “deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition.” In other words, the Supreme Court should not be engaged in social engineering. Rehnquist tried to rein in federal agencies, writing in dissent that delegating agencies too much power to decide important policy questions is unconstitutional and that the big stuff should be up to Congress, not the agencies.
If you’re looking for more clues as to how Judge Kavanaugh will rule, he gave a second speech last year outlining the difficulties with viewing judges as mere umpires who should just call balls and strikes. Statutes are ambiguous and constitutional rights have exceptions. There’s no objective way to come up with the right answer in cases involving each. Judges can’t help but bring their subjective policy preferences to the interpretation of both. At the end of the speech, Kavanaugh says he doesn’t have all the answers.
He may not have all the answers but still, after reading both speeches, I have a hard time seeing Brett Kavanaugh evolve over time into something unrecognizable, as has happened on the Supreme Court before. Mark Levin wrote in Men in Black about the leftward drift of Justices Harry Blackmun and Anthony Kennedy. For the moment, at least, it looks like Brett Kavanaugh will uphold the Tea Party core value of limited government under the Constitution while on the Supreme Court, which puts us in a whole lot better place than if it had been a President Hillary Clinton getting to make this nomination.
1A: judge rules Steele dossier is protected free speech; Russian oligarchs failed to show Steele acted in reckless disregard of the truth regarding them
Article II: Trump exceeded his authority in 3 executive orders meant to curb union power in federal workplace
Article I, Section 8: no ‘space force’ in the Constitution. Constitutional? Air Force not ‘army’ or ‘navy’ either.
Equal Protection: Labor Department issues guidelines to stop discrimination against religious federal contractors
14A: federal court knocks down North Carolina congressional map (again), but Supreme Court has never struck partisan gerrymandering thus far
8A: California becomes 1st state to end bail before trial in some cases
4A: Airbnb sues New York arguing law requiring detailed info about owners amounts to seizure of business records without a warrant based on probable cause
Speech Suppression: Credit card companies back off attempt to shut off donation processing services to David Horowitz’ Freedom Center; blow struck against SPLC’s hateful ‘hate group’ designations
Credit card company attack on David Horowitz’ Freedom Center is another instance of political bias in public accommodations – is FDIC involvement in credit card bank deposit insurance enough to trigger ‘state action’ requiring 14A equal protection?
Robert Spencer book shows how the authoritarian intolerant Left helps Islamists enforce sharia blasphemy codes to further its own purposes in shutting down freedom of expression
1A Religion: New Florida law requires ‘In God We Trust’ be displayed in all public schools; author takes direct aim at ‘separation of church and state’
1A,14A: lawsuit hopes to add tuition for religious schools to school choice program in Maine
4A: tight handcuffs can be an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment, 6th Circuit finds
5A Takings: a taxi medallion is not an exclusive right to provide transportation services; diminution of value by allowing Uber-type rides is not a ‘taking’ (3rd Circuit)
6A: An attorney has the right to be informed of the right to an attorney (6th Circuit)
7A: Supreme Court’s approach to guaranteeing jury trials in suits at common law (as opposed to equity) heavily criticized
14A Equal Protection: Idaho discriminated against landowners by forcing them to sell their oil and gas to a Texas company without a meaningful way to fight the decision, federal judge rules
14A Equal Protection: HUD sues Facebook for allowing homeowners and landlords to limit viewing of their ads based on race, religion, gender, etc.
14A Equal Protection: Cautionary tale for Harvard – San Francisco schools forced to drop their anti-Asian quotas 20 years ago
14A Due Process: courts reshaping the way campus sexual assault cases are handled, requiring more questioning of
each other when it’s ‘he said, she said’
Dormant, Foreign Commerce Clauses: U.S. court upholds local ordinance prohibiting bulk loading of crude oil onto tankers
Economic freedom lecture series starts at Arizona State U
Economic freedom – Legal institute criticizes Georgia law requiring licensure of lactation consultants, 2 years of college and 300 hours of clinical experience
Economic freedom has been great for women; household appliances have freed them from drudgery and jobs have given them economic independence
State Constitutions: proposed Ohio amendment would restrict profits and increase regulation at dialysis centers
Chinese enthralled with ‘constitutionalism’ but their ‘guarantees’ of free speech, press, and association are meaningless and unenforceable without true Rule of Law
Podcast describes the life and work of abolitionist Frederick Douglass
Shame on Robert Reich! Wants Trump presidency “annulled” when there is no such thing in the Constitution. Appalling coming from a former cabinet member.
Shame on Beto O’Rourke for praising football players for taking a knee. We don’t need people who tear down the country in public office.
Shame! UC-Irvine student government leader Matthew Guevara pens resolution to ban U.S. flag, but takes taxpayer money for his education from a U.S. government engaged in modern-day “slavery” and “genocide”
Shame on the Georgia high school teacher who teaches her students that 9/11 was America’s fault. If we’re that bad, why do you take our money?
Victory! Atlanta school drops plan to replace Pledge of Allegiance with wolf-pack chant
It was reported this last week that CNN and MSNBC used the word ‘impeachment’ 222 times in a single day. Tonight, we take a closer look at the constitutional standards for impeachment.
Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution says the President, the Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate for treason, bribery, or other “high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. Treason and bribery are fairly clear-cut, but what are high Crimes and Misdemeanors?
Basically, they are whatever Congress says they are, because impeachment is at root a political process, not a criminal process. But this should not mean that anything goes when impeaching a President.
The Framers of the Constitution quite consciously borrowed the term from England where it was a well-established legal term of art in use for 400 years. It was used to describe a delegation of power to legislative bodies to determine and punish official misconduct on the part of a wide variety of executive and judicial officers. Over those 400 years in England, the term was used in practice to check the power of the King’s ministers and judges for disobeying the laws, infringing the rights of the people, interfering with the prerogatives of Parliament, abusing the power of the office, and being incompetent or corrupt. This went well beyond criminal offenses, to political crimes like subverting the system of government.
Interestingly, our Framers went beyond the English practice and applied impeachment to the chief executive, whereas the British did not subject their King to this remedy.
The Framers considered other terms – “malpractices or neglect of duty”, “corruption”, “corrupting his electors”, “treachery”, “abusing his power”, “perfidy”, “peculation” (which means self-dealing), “oppression”, “betray(ing) his trust to a foreign power” - but ended up rejecting them all. George Mason argued that these other terms were not broad enough and left many grave offenses out, like “subverting the Constitution” short of treason. “Mal-administration” was considered, but it was decided it was too vague. So they settled on “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” in part because it was defined by 400 years of English usage and practice to include important concepts like abuse of power, and to exclude ordinary political disagreements. Thus, it is clear that the term does NOT mean crimes and misdemeanors in the ordinary sense of today’s criminal law.
This broad understanding of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” was reflected in the ratification debates in the states after the U.S. Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. But we will have to wait for our own history to unfold further before we will know the precise meaning of the term in American constitutional law.
“The Original Meaning of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” (2 parts)
Government trying to force Facebook to break encryption, allow wiretapping of messenger (Constitution news round-up)
4A: in case under seal, government trying to force Facebook to break encryption, allow wiretapping of messenger
Article II: Constitutional showdown looms if Mueller subpoenas Trump
1A: Brennan could challenge loss of security clearance on grounds he has a right to be protected from government retaliation for exercising free speech
1A: federal appeals court sends D.C. transit authority ban on anti-Islamist ads back to trial court to consider whether there is a legitimate reason for the ban
1A: David Daleiden seeks dissolution of gag order blocking release of more Planned Parenthood baby parts videos after plaintiffs drop several claims (prior restraints are supposed to be rare)
2A: Louisiana bars Citi, Bank of America from state bond sale because of actions the banks took against gun manufacturers
1A: Pennsylvania high court rules rap song urging violence against specific named police officers is a “true threat” not protected by First Amendment
1A: National Park Service admits mistake in barring ‘Abolish ICE’ t-shirts from Statue of Liberty; illegal viewpoint discrimination
Satanic goat idol unveiled at Arkansas Capitol building to push separation of church and state
“How Some Muslim Activists Are Using Speech Codes to Subjugate the West and How to Respond“
1A Press: Florida judge scolds newspaper for printing confidential information about Parkland shooter, threatens prior restraint in the future, but the law appears to be on the newspaper’s side
1A Religion: religious charity to appeal ruling that upheld Philadelphia’s ban on families holding traditional views of marriage from becoming foster-parents.
2A etc. – federal appeals court upholds Texas concealed carry law against challenge by professors who do not want guns in their classrooms
4A: Smart meters (disclosing home/away, sleep patterns, etc.) are a “reasonable” search not requiring a warrant (7th Circuit)
4A: ‘private search reconstruction’ doctrine validates government search of computer file that recreates previous private search (5th Circuit)
4A: Iowa high court criticizes U.S. Supreme Court, uses state constitution to knock down inventory searches of cars without a warrant
14A Due Process: federal judge rules election officials can’t toss absentee ballots that fail to match signature card without giving voter notice and opportunity to contest
Ex Post Facto – taking away ‘good time’ credits already earned by prisoners violates ex post facto clause (6th Circuit)
5A, Copyright: legal institute takes case of tiny family–owned publisher who prints public domain books on demand; Copyright office wants copies and has threatened big fines
State Constitution: Georgia high court rejects appeal from state House candidate who was removed from the ballot because she had not been a Georgia citizen for 2 years
Rights to healthcare, jobs, free tuition, etc. - Soviet constitution? Nope. Democratic Socialist agenda.
Government playing fast and loose with the Constitution in 100-mile border zone
Separation of church and state, judicial review, and other common myths people believe about the Constitution
Shame on Andrew Cuomo for saying America never great. Every immigrant who came through Ellis Island in his state knew the truth and risked all to come here.
Week before last, two socialist authors were granted space in the august New York Times, no less, to push their poison that the U.S. Constitution is an “outdated relic” expressly intended to subvert democracy.
The authors are an editor and writer at Jacobin magazine, a socialist publication which doesn’t mind engaging in the quintessentially capitalistic practice of selling advertising.
The authors make a number of blithe assertions which I will demolish shortly. But, overall, to hear the authors tell it, you’d think the Constitution had unleashed a bloody Reign of Terror. Oh, wait a minute, that was the Jacobins in France in the socialist French Revolution of 1789. Thanks to the authors’ namesakes, France didn’t have a stable government again for 75 years.
The authors assert that the Constitution is “the foundation for a system of government that rules over people,” rather than a means of popular self-government. This shows a complete misunderstanding of the Constitution. The Constitution begins with “We the People” because we have popular sovereignty. We the People rule ourselves; we don’t have a King George ruling over us.
But the authors are right in one respect. The Constitution did not set up a pure democracy, and good thing it didn’t. The Founders were concerned with preventing mob rule and the tyranny of the majority, both of which develop under pure democracy. Even with all our system’s checks and balances, we’ve had instances in this country where one side has gotten too powerful and rammed stuff down our throats, like Obamacare and the New Deal. Do we really want modern-day Jacobins ramming single payer down our throats with real death panels this time - guillotine squads? That’s why the Founders gave us a Republic, as Ben Franklin famously said - to temper the passion of factions with ways for cooler heads to prevail. Warring factions gave England a dictator-for-life, Oliver Cromwell. The Founders knew this history and worked around it accordingly. Property rights, which the socialist authors criticize, actually reinforce self-government, because property gives people freedom and independence, power they wouldn’t have if the government owned everything as in a socialist system. Property rights are best understood as a pillar of popular sovereignty.
The authors say the Constitution prevents redistribution of wealth and the creation of new social guarantees. This is just crazy talk. The authors act as if as if the New Deal, the Great Society and other redistributionist programs never happened, and that we never racked up a $21 trillion national debt as a result.
The authors criticize “the Bill of Rights’s incomplete safeguards of individual freedoms.” There’s something bone-chilling about Jacobin socialists talking about safeguarding individual freedom. They are the self-proclaimed descendants of the French Jacobins who chopped people’s heads off after so-called ‘trials’ that didn’t have any due process whatsoever, or even pretend to dispense justice. When the masters of mob rule start talking about protecting individual rights, run for the hills.
Newt Gingrich just wrote about the horrors of the French Revolution for Fox News. He referred to a book in which the author recounts a story about the French Revolution that tells you everything you need to know about Jacobin socialists: “a woman was charged with the heinous crime of having wept at the execution of her husband. She was condemned to sit several hours under the suspended blade which shed upon her, drop by drop, the blood of the deceased whose corpse was above her on the scaffold before she was released by death from her agony.” This is the intellectual pedigree of the Jacobin authors, whether they want to admit it or not.
The authors don’t want to throw out the entire Constitution like their more revolutionary comrades farther Left, just amend it. Specifically, they recommend a unicameral one-house legislature, and making it easier to amend the Constitution through national referendum. There are good reasons why the Framers didn’t give us either one.
They had the example of the unicameral Pennsylvania legislature which ping-ponged between partisan extremes after each election. This experience and others convinced the Framers that an upper house representing economically successful people was necessary to tame the passions of the bulk of the population who were seen as represented by the lower house. The Framers had the wisdom of the ages on their side on this one. Read the history of political theory from antiquity on down and you will find something called the “mixed constitution” – a government that mixes democracy with meritocracy, that is, the elements of popular representation with some kind of contribution by people who are more versed in governance than the average Jane or Joe. The history of political theory shows that you can’t have political stability without allowing both these elements to participate in government. Leave either element out and you will have nothing but fractiousness and trouble. Our two-house Congress was the Framers’ version of a mixed constitution which succeeded, unlike the French Jacobins, in ensuring political stability.
As for amending the Constitution more easily through national referendums, that would be more problematic than democratic. The Founders deliberately made it hard to amend the Constitution, so people don’t get carried away. But it’s not THAT hard. As I mentioned in a previous webinar [March 19, 2017], it only took one college student 10 years to get the 27th Amendment passed and ratified.
Let me end with three cheers for our Republic and our mixed constitution. It is because of them we have limited government, not the stronger federal government the authors want. No guillotines here.
As for the authors - Off with their heads! Figuratively speaking, of course. Unless I can gather a big enough mob.... Just kidding!
1A Religion: Colorado goes after Masterpiece baker AGAIN, this time for refusing to make special pink-and-blue transgender celebration cake.
Appointments Clause: federal judge upholds Mueller Special Counsel investigation as stemming from valid appointment, despite extraordinary powers that would seem to call for Senate confirmation
5A Due Process: 9th Circuit rules foreigners outside the U.S. are protected by the Constitution. Implications include border agents shooting across the border.
5A Due Process: 19 state Attorneys General demand constitutionally protected right to abortion for illegal immigrants
1A: federal judge orders anonymous online account information of a 2017 Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ organizer be given to another court; anonymity and incitement of violence are issues.
1A, Economic Freedom: federal judge strikes down Charleston’s tour guide licensing requirement as interference with right to speak for a living
1A Speech/Association: U of Iowa shuts down 38 student groups that have faith or ideology requirements for their leaders, gets sued, reverses course while litigation pending
Query: How does it discriminate if everybody gets their own group and chooses their own leaders?
1A: U.S. appeals court strikes Louisiana statute against threatening public officials as unconstitutionally overbroad; sweeps in lawful actions like threatening to sue
1A Press: de Blasio bodyguards eject reporter who tried to ask question at parade event
1A Religion: male Muslim prisoner objects to strip-search by transgender (anatomically female) guard. Intersectionality pretzel: Does transgender trump Muslim, or is it vice versa in the pantheon of rights?
1A Religion: What is a religion? Pussy Church of Modern Witchcraft gets special tax exemption from IRS as a church
2A Hypocrisy Exposed – former congressional candidate in Georgia who pushed gun control shoots her campaign treasurer dead
5A: Threat to property rights from conservation easements is growing
5A: watch short video on sustainable development’s war on private property
5A: another federal court rejects claim that competition from Uber and Lyft is a “taking” of property from taxis
Eminent Domain: South African farmer discusses impending change to constitution to allow government to expropriate land from white people without compensation to give to black people (video)
14A,8A: homeowner fights ordinance requiring her to grow grass in her yard even though she’s allergic. $180K fine, 20 yrs in prison. Precedent recognizes government’s ‘aesthetic interest’
Time to revisit second-class status of U.S. citizens of the “insular” territories (Puerto Rico, Guam)
State Constitution: victims’ rights amendment urged for Pennsylvania constitution
State Constitution: 5 former North Carolina Governors oppose amendments regarding judicial vacancies and appointments to state boards and commissions
“How Religion Defends Freedom”
Impeachment: “The Original Meaning of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” (2 parts)
“Can a Vice President be charged with a crime while in office?” (Burr, Agnew – who’s next?)
For the constitutionalist in your life - U.S. Constitution Full Size Four Page Reproduction. $19.95
Shame! Atlanta school drops Pledge of Allegiance, adopts ‘Wolf Pack’ chant. ‘Too many kids won’t recite’ so the only answer is to give up? Hope you have a country left to have your ‘Wolf Pack’ in.
Yo, socialists! There are reasons we don’t have a unicameral legislature and the Constitution is not easy to amend. Ever think about that?