A new article shows how we can use 18th century law books to answer constitutional questionsDetails
Constitutional commentators who are ignorant of Latin and its effects on 18th century English have done a great deal of interpretive damage.Details
It is clear officers can be impeached and removed for major crimes, but what is a “high . . . Misdemeanor?”Details
The American Founders, as a rule, believed in decentralization, free enterprise, and competition. How did it happen, therefore, that they created a U.S. postal system that was centralized, socialized, and operated as a monopoly?Details
After a year of delays,* an article on how the Constitution uses the word “emoluments” has finally appeared. The study indirectly absolves President Trump of claims that he is violating the Constitution by receiving profits from enterprises whose customers include foreign governments.Details
Chief Justice John Marshall (in office 1801-1835) is often identified with an expansive “big government” interpretation of the Constitution. Fans of big government cite him as an ally; opponents as an enemy.
This view of Marshall is a caricature.Details
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.Details
The Constitution requires the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This “take Care” language came from 18th century commissions and formal instructions by which higher officials delineated what lower officials were to do. The premier examples were royal instructions to colonial governors, but the Continental and Confederation Congresses used the same language in instructing civil and military officials.
The Constitution’s language is both a grant of enumerated power to the President and a mandatory duty imposed on him.