James Madison on “Parchment Barriers” and the defense of liberty

Although in the Federalist Papers James Madison urged ratification of the U.S. constitution, he was also concerned about things it left undone. He thought that many of his contemporaries were too focused on the threats posed by the executive branch, which he thought understandable given the fact that they had just fought a revolutionary war against…

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The Constitution and Just War

As President Obama authorizes US airstrikes in Iraq and future strikes anticipated for Syria, it’s important to first ask whether or not the Constitution is being followed. The invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan, and drone strikes in multiple other countries has increased terrorism through blowback. Destabilized areas have become a hot bed for violent extremism.…

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Matthew Lyon: The Sedition Act’s First Victim

The freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights we possess.  This basic natural right is not contingent upon laws or social traditions.  Essentially, it is nothing short of inalienable and universal between all peoples at all times.  However, in practice, it seldom observed as such.  From the early Tolerance Act of 1689 to current “Free Speech Zones” across American universities, men have tried to quell this freedom.

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George Washington on Political vs Commercial Relations with Foreign Nations

As the military leader of the American Revolution and the country’s first president, Washington is a highly revered figure. His Farewell Address from the office of the President is a timely reminder of a tradition of a non-interventionist American foreign policy which was potent in the early years of the new Republic. This passage comes…

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Jefferson and Madison on the Role of the Federal Courts

Today, it is commonly accepted that the U.S. Supreme Court has the sole and final say as to whether or not a federal law is constitutional (after it winds through the lower federal courts).  Recently, for example, the Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional under the auspices that the individual mandate is a tax.  This commonly accepted notion is wrong.

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The Worst Post on Recess Appointments?

I think it is not surprising that the leading current commentaries supporting the President — including the four mentioned above — focus on modern needs or on practice long after ratification. The founding-era meaning is clear and straightforward. Cecere’s weak attempt to show otherwise actually confirms it.

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