Civil rights must be “preeminent” over religious liberty

The U. S. Commission on Civil Rights is recommending that civil rights be made “preeminent” in American jurisprudence.  Specifically, that civil rights claims–for example, those regarding sexual orientation and gender-identity–should always trump religious freedom claims.  There would thus be no religious exemptions, because newly-coined rights would have priority over constitutional rights. [Read more…]

The government funneling money to its friends

Banks being punished for their part in the mortgage bubble disaster must pay restitution to the tune of, in some cases, billions of dollars.  But the obligation may be satisfied, in part, by contributing to Democratic-leaning advocacy organizations.

That money could go into the U. S. Treasury, but instead it goes to favored private agencies.   Congress is considering a bill that would stop this practice.  After the jump, George Will explains the important constitutional issues at stake. [Read more…]

Our unchecked, unbalanced Presidency

Donald Trump couldn’t really do all of the off-the-wall things he is calling for, some of his defenders are saying.  He’d have to have Congressional action.  Congress and the courts would keep him in line.  Well, the modern presidency has expanded its powers so much, says Marc Fisher, that he actually could do most of them.

In fact, thanks to recent presidents–including Barack Obama–our Constitutional system of each branch of the government checking and balancing each other, is seriously out of whack.  Fisher concludes with a chilling sentence:  “’Today’s system of checks and balances,’” [law professor Neal Devins] said , ‘is an abject failure.’”

This is part of what conservatives mean when they call for a “limited government.”  Our government today is unlimited.  And the powers of the presidency are becoming unlimited.

[Read more…]

A call to repeal the Second Amendment

In a piece for Rolling Stone, Drexel constitutional law professor David S. Cohen calls for repealing the Second Amendment.  He argues that the right to keep and bear arms “is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact.” [Read more…]

Obamacare funding ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that the mechanism for subsidizing insurance companies under Obamacare violates the Constitution.  That document reads, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” (Article 1.  Section 9).  The Obama administration has been paying that money without Congress having passed an appropriation to do so.  The ruling is on hold, pending appeal. [Read more…]

Hoping for a deadlock in the electoral college?

Many Republicans are hoping for a deadlocked convention in which no candidate gets the majority of votes.  And if that doesn’t work, say some, maybe we could have a deadlocked electoral college.

If Donald Trump has the nomination “stolen” from him, to his mind, he may run as a third party candidate.  Or if he gets the nomination, surely other third part candidates will emerge, whether Republicans (who would have a challenge to get on state ballots) or candidates from parties such as the Libertarians or the Constitution Party that are already on the ballot in many states.

A credible third party candidate could prevent either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump from winning a majority of electoral votes.  Which means that the vote would then go to the House of Representatives. Which is controlled by Republicans, who could choose anyone they wanted.

Would that be a crisis for our democracy?  Or would that simply be our Constitution in action?

UPDATE:  Thanks to Todd for quoting to me the 12th Amendment, which requires the House of Representatives, in the event that no one wins an electoral majority, to choose from the top three candidates. So theoretically, a third party candidate could be chosen in the House.  The Republican majority would have to go against its own party’s candidate, which could possibly happen.  But there is not much hope for this option. [Read more…]


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