New Flyer Explains How the States Can Use the Constitutional Amendment Process to Curb the Feds (Article V)

The Founders built various checks and balances into the Constitution. One of the most important was the power of state legislatures to propose constitutional amendments to curb an abusive federal government. The Founders placed the procedure in the Constitution’s Article V. The Founders would be astonished—and chagrined—to learn the process has never been used. If…

Details

Can the President Raise the Debt Limit Unilaterally? Hell no! Part II

The claim—partly silly, partly dangerous—that President Obama may raise the debt limit unilaterally without the approval of Congress is again being raised. I addressed it previously here. Now it has been further debunked in a Wall Street Journal op-edauthored by David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey.

Under the Constitution, only Congress may incur debt. The exclusive power of the legislature to do so is one of the central parts of our governmental system, pre-dating the Constitution by centuries, and with its roots in colonial and British practice.

Those seeking this indefensible extension of presidential power argue that the existing level of entitlement benefits are “debt” and that the Fourteenth Amendment requires it to be paid.

Details

A Correction They Didn’t Print: The Denver Post and Judge Bork

A Denver Post article on the passing of Judge Robert Bork (Dec. 20) says, “He advocated a view of judging known as ’strict constructionism’ or ‘originalism.’”Actually, the writer was confused. Those two terms have very different meanings. An originalist believes the Constitution, like other legal documents, should be construed as understood by the people who…

Details

Why States Must Shun the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

During the Obamacare case before the Supreme Court, the Independence Institute argued that the law’s provisions forcing the states to expand Medicaid were unconstitutional. Neither the Constitution nor case law, we pointed out, permits the federal government to use federal spending programs to coerce the states. Seven of the nine justices agreed with us, essentially adopting…

Details

Election: Glass Partly Full

Isn’t it interesting—when Republicans win big, lefty spinmeisters talk compromise and bipartisanship. When Democrats win, even if they win small, lefty spinmeisters just want to crush everyone else.

So, not surprisingly, one of these sublapidarians is now arguing that the size of Obama’s win is a mandate for the “progressive” agenda. Beyond absurd.

The results were bad, but they were not that bad. Keep in mind that:

* Any sitting President gets several million votes from the exposure due to incumbancy—votes that have little to do with policy.

* Despite the celebrated demographic changes, Obama really won by the skin of his teeth—around a 2 percent margin, maybe less.

Details

What now?

The November 6 election outcome has many friends of the Constitution dispirited. As so often before, they hoped that by defeating federal candidates contemptuous of constitutional limits and replacing them with others, they could help restore our Constitution.

Obviously, that decades-long strategy has failedspectacularly.

They also have long hoped that by appointing the right people to the U.S. Supreme Court, they could win case decisions restoring constitutional limits. But after 40 years, that campaign has produced only indifferent results. Actually, worse than indifferent:  When, through the 2010 Obamacare law, federal politicians overreached further than they ever had before—by imposing a mandate ordering almost everyone in the country to buy a commercial product—the Court didn’t even hold the much-weakened line. Rather, the Court upheld the mandate.

Details

America Transformed

originally published at the Electric City Weblog

The claims were that this was a tipping point election, and those claims were not hyperbole. Barack Obama has, as promised, “transformed” America.

Fifty years ago—even 20 years ago—these election results would have been unthinkable. A largely failed President, hampered by deeply unpopular legislation and a stagnant economy, wins re-election against a highly qualified opponent with unblemished character and a distinguished record. An advocate of late term abortion, free contraceptives, and homosexual marriage who is (with some justification) accused of attacking religious freedom, prevails over the opposition of Catholics, Mormons, and Evangelicals united. The architect of impending national bankruptcy beats a celebrated problem-solver.

His winning issues? Spending even more. . . the inherent wickedness of his opponent’s (“sterling” admits Bill Clinton) business career. . . and federally-subsidized sex. Under pressure, Obama won by moving not to the center but further left.

The America that re-elected President Obama is clearly very different from the America that became history’s greatest nation. That was a nation marked by faith, hard work, courage, and independence. But it is clear that we have now been transformed.

Details

Obama’s “American Jobs Act” Ploy Convinces Some, Anyway

The Obama administration’s “American Jobs Act”—a token measure forgotten by all but a few—is back in the news. Just over a year ago, I reported on the constitutional defects of President Obama’s “American Jobs Act” (AJA), a bill clearly designed to force Republicans to vote against it, thereby giving the President political “cover” on his poor…

Details

Supreme Court has chance to end state university ethnic discrimination

By granting certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court has a chance to correct one of the most obnoxious aspects of modern jurisprudence. By that I mean permission given to state universities—in Grutter v. Bollinger(2003)—to use public resources to play racial and ethnic politics.

I worked full time in public higher education for 23 years and part-time for eight years before that. The experience made it clear that (whatever some well-meaning people might believe) university “diversity” policies are not mostly about education, but about indulging ideology and playing ethnic politics.

University “diversity” policies vary in their details. But in their now-prevalent form, they are carefully gerrymandered to skew benefits toward particular groups with left-of-center voting patterns and away from groups without such patterns. For example, the three groups benefited in the Grutter case were African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics—which all just happen to be (surprise!) core constituencies of the National Democratic Party.

Several factors led me to conclude that the correlation between benefits and voting patterns was not merely accidental. They are:

* Those who promote these policies generally have a group-politics-based ideological bent. As a rule, you don’t see the most serious scholars or most rigorous teachers eager to serve on the “diversity” committees.

* There is no effort to address the inconvenient fact some studies show that greater ethnic “diversity” impedes, rather than assists, student achievement (because a class of students with common background has a common vocabulary and cultural platform).

* Groups with histories of discrimination but without the “correct” voting patterns are excluded from benefits. Asian Americans and eastern Europeans are examples.

* The purported benefits of “diversity” don’t induce universities to assure ideological diversity.

Details