Constitution Articles

A New Constitutional Convention?

Greg Abbott's plan to limit federal power.
Feb 08, 2016

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.

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The Religion of Trump

Will evangelicals balk at pulling the lever for him?
Jan 25, 2016

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.

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Reading Carson

The candidate’s commentaries on the Constitution.
Nov 09, 2015

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.

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Against Leviathan

Book Review: 'By The People,' by Charles Murray.
9:24 AM, Nov 07, 2015

To the eye of Charles Murray, the situation is grimgrimmer than you realize. Our government is increasingly corrupt. The legal system is lawless. The regulatory agencies possess tyrannical levels of power.

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Swearing by the Constitution

Ted Cruz’s lodestone.
Oct 12, 2015

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.

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Would a Muslim President Be Good on Gay Marriage?

6:06 AM, Sep 22, 2015

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.

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On Constitution Day

7:45 AM, Sep 17, 2015

In 1878, William Gladstone described the U.S. Constitution as “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.” Gladstone was right.

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The President Who Gets to Name Mountains

9:02 AM, Sep 01, 2015

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.

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Fixing the Court

Priority number one for the next president?
Aug 10, 2015

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.

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Obama: If I Ran for a 3rd Term, 'I Could Win'

'I actually think I'm a pretty good president.'
6:45 AM, Jul 28, 2015

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.

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Remembering the Constitution

Senator Mike Lee thinks we’ve forgotten some important parts.
Jun 15, 2015

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.”

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America’s Blueprint

Words and pictures for your parents’ Constitution.
May 18, 2015

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.

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Biden Was For The Senate's Constitutional Power Before He Was Against It

5:56 AM, Mar 10, 2015

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.

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'The Battle of Ann Arbor'

12:31 PM, Mar 07, 2015

The Constitution Doesn't Let President Close Congress's Doors to Israel

3:26 PM, Jan 26, 2015

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

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U.S. Returns Magna Carta to England

A catalyst for civilization and good governance.
10:05 AM, Jan 20, 2015

Today, America bids farewell to the Magna Carta. The 800-year old document returns home to Lincolnshire, England, after six months in America. It landed at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in July, and spent the past few months at the Library of Congress.

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Harry V. Jaffa, 1918-2015

11:44 AM, Jan 11, 2015

Bill Kristol reports that Harry V. Jaffa passed away yesterday:


Harry V. Jaffa, 1918-2015. More sad news: Harry Jaffa, the great interpreter of Lincoln (and much else) has died, age 96.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 11, 2015


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David Brooks on Walter Berns's Making Patriots

11:45 PM, Jan 10, 2015

Here's David Brooks's review of the late Walter Berns's 2001 book, Making Patriots, from our May 21, 2001 issue:

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Obama Quietly Grants 12 Pardons and 8 Commutations

11:51 AM, Dec 18, 2014

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:

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WSJ to Congress: Cede the Power of the Purse

7:34 AM, Dec 05, 2014

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.”

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Jay Carney: Yes, Obama Is 'Literally' Doing What He Previously Called Unconstitutional

6:31 AM, Nov 21, 2014

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?"

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WH Laughs: 'It Doesn't Tear Up the Constitution'

8:47 AM, Nov 20, 2014

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'?"

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Supporter to Obama: 'Announce a State of Emergency' To Get Around GOP Congress

8:12 AM, Sep 01, 2014

In 2014, President Obama has made much of his pen-and-a-phone strategy to accomplish his goals in the face of what he calls an "unprecedented pattern of obstruction" from Republicans in Congress.

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WH: 'The Constitutional Lawyer in the Oval Office Disagrees'

12:41 PM, Jun 30, 2014

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:

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In Noel Canning, Another Unanimous Defeat For Claims Of Unchecked Power

9:05 AM, Jun 27, 2014

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.

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Supreme Court Knocks Down Obama's Unconstitutional Power Grab

12:34 PM, Jun 26, 2014

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.

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The Flimsy Justification for Obama’s Usurping of Legislative Power

3:51 PM, Jun 13, 2014

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 R

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Pelosi Tries to Amend Constitution Via Fundraising Email

12:32 PM, Jun 10, 2014

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.

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Tortured Defenses of Obama's Presidential Power

12:05 PM, Jun 03, 2014

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.

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The Administration Has Missed 25 Statutory Deadlines Under Obamacare

7:02 AM, Apr 24, 2014

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?

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