Abortion: A State Issue, a National Nightmare

News broke recently that Florida Senator Marco Rubio plans to sponsor a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.  With Rubio’s reputation recently taking a hit in conservative circles, a cynic might be excused for considering this a political move instead of a principled stand.  Principled or not, there are two questions that Rubio has apparently not considered: is it rational to argue this issue at the national level and is such a bill constitutional.

To answer if it is rational, let’s run through a quick hypothetical scenario.  Let’s say you’re walking down your street and come upon one of your neighbors lying dead in his driveway with a knife sticking out of his back.  As your neighbors crowd around the scene, you see someone dialing their phone.  Who do you think this person is calling?

Maybe they’re calling the President of the United States.  After all, many murders happen across the country every day, clearly making this a national issue that demands the president’s attention.  Or, if not the president, maybe they’ve dialed the offices of federal senators and representatives to let them know about the murder.  When it’s time to prosecute the assailant, where does the trial take place?  Well, an issue as important and widespread as murder certainly demands the attention of the Supreme Court.

Preposterous, right?  Of course a local crime commands a local response.  It would be irrational to use national machinery to address a local or state issue like a violent crime of one individual towards another.

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An Anniversary worth Remembering

On July 14, 1798, the Sedition Act became law. Jefferson and Madison responded with the heroic Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, calling for nullification.

I’ve given many talks on nullification, and written a book on it. But this is my favorite one. The last 15 minutes in particular.

Some resources I put together on nullification here:
http://www.libertyclassroom.com/nullification/

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NSA Seizures: Papers, Effects, and the Constitution

Randy Barnett has an interesting op ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the NSA’s seizure of voluminous data on U.S. citizens was unconstitutional and that the approval of the seizure by the secret FISA court was also unconstitutional.

Randy makes several important points:

1. “By banning unreasonable “seizures” of a person’s “papers,” the Fourth Amendment clearly protects what we today call ‘informational privacy.’”

2. The FISA Court’s approval of the “blanket seizure of data on every American” represents “indiscriminate data seizures” that “are the epitome of ‘unreasonable,’ akin to the ‘general warrants’ issued by the Crown to authorize searches of Colonial Americans.”

3. The program’s approval by the FISA Court violates due process, because “secret judicial proceedings adjudicating the rights of private parties, without any ability to participate or even read the legal opinions of the judges, is the antithesis of the due process of law.”

These are powerful arguments and the entire essay is well worth reading.  I am not entirely sure if Randy is using an originalist methodology here.  If he is, here are my thoughts regarding each of his three points.

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