As Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott spoke with evident pride about how many times he’d sued the federal government. The total came to 31, and invariably the lawsuits challenged actions that Abbott believed violated federal statutes or the Constitution. Now, as Texas governor, he is no longer in court but has hardly quit objecting to federal overreach. In a speech last month to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Abbott declared it's time for state legislatures to address the problem by amending the Constitution.
Note that Abbott is focused on state legislatures. There is a reason for that.Read more
The Constitution provides that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." But, as Gary Scott Smith of Grove City College writes in his new book, Religion in the Oval Office, "Throughout American history many citizens have viewed strong faith as an asset, if not a requirement, for politicians, especially presidents."
The biography of faith, such as it is, of the Republican presidential candidate who has led the polls for six months starts with First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens. That is the church Donald Trump's parents attended and in which he was baptized.Read more
Ben Carson remains in the presidential race notwithstanding the conventional wisdom that the retired neurosurgeon and first-time-candidate-for-any-office wouldn’t last this long. Indeed, the most recent polls show Carson leading Donald Trump in Iowa, which kicks off the presidential primary season with its caucuses on February 1.Read more
To the eye of Charles Murray, the situation is grim—grimmer than you realize. Our government is increasingly corrupt. The legal system is lawless. The regulatory agencies possess tyrannical levels of power.Read more
Consider that in Republican Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, we have a presidential candidate who during his high school years in Houston was among several students who met twice a week to read the Constitution and the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers and the even more obscure debates on ratification. All of that while also memorizing the entire Constitution in shortened mnemonic form.Read more
Because presidential politics are as much about in-group signaling as actual policy, Ben Carson is locked in a media-generated controversy about whether or not he’d be down with having a Muslim president. Carson was asked about this deeply-important question on Meet the Press. He said no.Read more
One of the most disturbing aspects of living through the Obama presidency is reading every week or two about some new decision that has been decreed by the executive branch rather than voted upon by the legislative branch. Time and again, things that — in a constitutional republic — should be decided by the people’s representatives are instead being decided by a man who never again has to face the people’s verdict, or by those serving underneath him and at his discretion. This is not the way America is supposed to work.Read more
Ted Cruz, who in 1996 clerked for then-chief justice William Rehnquist and is now a first-term senator and GOP presidential candidate, has assumed the leadership of conservatives aiming to rein in a Supreme Court they fault for imposing on the country rights not found in the Constitution. This is hardly a new issue for conservatives; in a past now faraway, it was also an issue for some liberals.Read more
In Africa today, President Obama said that he think he's a "pretty good president." So good, indeed, that if he ran for a third term, he "could win." But he cannot, he acknowledged, because it's against the law.Read more
In his new book on the Constitution, Senator Mike Lee, the first-term Utah Republican, recalls his decision to run for the upper chamber in 2010. “It bothered me that even in the Republican Party, far too many elected officials have been reluctant to engage the public in a meaningful constitutional discourse . . . one that attempts to identify limits on federal power and extends beyond a facile assessment of how likely the courts might be to invalidate a particular law.”Read more
In explaining the process of design to an audience at Harvard, Charles Eames once resorted to parable. In India, he explained, people of the lowest caste would eat off banana leaves. People a bit higher up the social scale would eat off a ceramic dish whose shape was inspired by the banana leaf. Moving even farther up the social scale, these dishes—talis—might be elegantly glazed or made of fine bronze.Read more
According to Miles's Law, "where you stand depends on where you sit." And so when Vice President Joe Biden hyperventilates over Republican senators' criticism of the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran, we must take him with a grain of salt. He used to have a seat in the Senate; now he stands behind President Obama.Read more
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming address to Congress, at Congress's invitation, is drawing significant criticism -- that much is no great surprise. What does surprise, however, is one particular criticism: that the event will be not just bad policy, but even unconstitutional.Read more
President Obama quietly issued 12 pardons and 8 commutations late yesterday afternoon, which happened to be one of the busiest news days of the year.
Here are the dozen folks pardoned:Read more
In Thursday’s lead editorial, the Wall Street Journal argues that congressional “Republicans can’t win by shutting down the government”; thus, they should not attempt to deny President Obama the funding he needs to carry out his unconstitutional executive amnesty for 5 million illegal immigrants. Instead, Republicans’ “goal should be…to form coalitions with as many Democrats as possible to put pro-growth reforms on Mr. Obama’s desk,” while accepting that “they aren’t likely to overturn his immigration decree unless they take the White House.”Read more
Former White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted on CNN that President Obama has indeed flip-flopped on executive amnesty--and that the actions he's taking now are ones he previously called unconstitutional. Here's video:
CNN host Anderson Cooper asks, after playing a montage wherein Obama calls executive amnesty unconstitutional, "So, I mean, other than his frustration, what has changed? I mean, he's a constitution scholar. What has changed that allows him to do this?"Read more
White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri defended President Obama's planned executive amnesty by saying it "doesn't" shred the Constitution:
Asked the MSNBC host, "What's your response to the Washington Post editorial that said that the president's frustration with Congress 'doesn't grant the president license to tear up the constitution'?"Read more
The White House says "the constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office disagrees" with the Supreme Court's decision today on the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare:Read more
Two and a half years ago, President Obama tired of the Senate's refusal to confirm several of his nominations. Dissatisfied with the Constitution's general requirement that the president make appointments only after receiving the Senate's "advice and consent," he chose a more direct route.Read more
In NLRB v. Noel Canning, whatever the differences between the bare majority of five justices led by Justice Breyer and the four dissenters for whom Justice Scalia wrote, there is no question between the contending sides that President Obama acted unconstitutionally in making three ostensible recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.Read more
If there is any realm of policy that the American Founders were most firmly committed to having be decided by the most representative branch — the Congress — it was presumably the realm of taxation. Those who wrote the Constitution were not content even to let the Senate initiate tax policy. Instead, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution specifies, “All Bills for raising RRead more
Nancy Pelosi is fundraising to amend the Constitution of the United States.
"You might miss out on history," she writes in an email sent out on the Mother Jones email list.
"931,561 people and counting have added their name calling for a Constitutional amendment to end Citizens United.Read more
From 2005 through 2008, legal scholars and Democratic politicians heaped relentless scorn upon the Bush administration for arguing that the president's constitutional commander-in-chief powers superseded statutes that might limit his discretion.Read more
It is becoming increasingly hard to tell whether Obamacare is the law of the land, or just the law of the parts of the land that don’t reside in (or aren’t in the good graces of) the executive branch. One wonders: Is it really too much to expect an administration that championed the passage of a 2,700-page overhaul of American medicine to live by the same law it was so eager to impose on others?Read more
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