Constitution 101: What Is Tonnage?

Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 (I-10-3) of the Constitution forbids states from imposing any “Duty of Tonnage” without the consent of Congress.

During the Founding Era, tonnage was a levy imposed on the cargo capacity of ships entering or leaving harbors. As the Constitution’s words indicate, it was a species in a larger class of financial exactions known as duties.

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Eric Holder & Other Overreaching Prosecutors

An important citizen protection against government is the rule that in criminal prosecutions, criminal statutes are interpreted strictly. In other words, if the government wants to punish someone for violating a statute, it has to show that the defendant’s behavior was illegal beyond a reasonable doubt under the clear wording of the statute. Citizens are not held criminally responsible for guessing “wrong” about the meaning of an ambiguous law.

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Necessary and Proper Clause in an Establishment Clause case

I’m pleased to report that this past week the brilliant Justice Clarence Thomas cited my work on the Necessary and Proper Clause in his concurring opinion in Town of Greece v. Galloway, an Establishment Clause case that received wide publicity. This was the thirteenth citation in the third Supreme Court case in the past 11 months.

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