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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Originalism and the Two Narratives of Halbig

Halbig v. Burwell, the ACA subsidies case, has two competing narratives.  In one version, it is an epic battle between textualism and contextualism.  The statute (says one side) clearly says subsidies are available only for insurance exchanges “established by [a] State” and the federal exchange is obviously not established by a state.  But (says the other side) surely Congress could not have intended a situation in which subsidies were not available on the federal exchange, so to make sense of the statute one should not read it narrowly but with regard to what makes the most sense of Congress’ intent.

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Electronic Data Protection Act Blocks Practical Impact of Federal ICReach Database

A new report from The Intercept shows that  850 billion records of metadata can be accessed by intelligence and law enforcement agencies through a search engine created by NSA. ICReach is expansive, but it’s not invincible.  States can block some of the effects of this program in practice by passing the Electronic Data Privacy Act.

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Police Throw Up Roadblocks to Much Needed Reform

The excessive use of force in Ferguson focused attention on the danger of police militarization. But there is another consequence that doesn’t show up on gritty streets of any-town USA. To understand it, you need to roam the clean safe halls of America’s state capitols. There you will see that the impact of police militarization on the legislative process.

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Obama Administration Punishes Oklahoma for Rejecting Common Core

The Obama administration has punished the state of Oklahoma for repealing the Common Core standards despite assertions that the standards are entirely “voluntary.” Last week Oklahoma became the second state to lose its waiver from the disastrous Bush-era No Child Left Behind (NCLB) scheme. Washington State was the first, losing its waiver in April after the state legislature failed to come up with a solution that would allow the state to tie its student test results to teacher evaluations.

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