Why it was good that we broke away from Britain

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Some say that the American revolution was not really necessary.  That staying with Great Britain would not mean the loss of freedoms or succumbing to tyranny.  Great Britain and its former colonies that are now autonomous members of the Commonwealth under the monarchy are quite free today.  If the American colonies didn’t have their revolution, today they would be like Canada.  And is that so bad?

What do you think of that argument?  After the jump, consider three examples of how the British system makes the state far more powerful over individual citizens, whose rights have far fewer protections, than in the American system. [Read more…]

There may be adverse aspects to each of our rights

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Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was one of the Congressman at the baseball field attacked by the “progressive” gunman.  He was asked the inevitable question about whether the incident changed his mind about “the gun situation” in America.

That is to say, you Republicans support the Second Amendment right to keep and to bear arms.  Now here you are getting fired upon by a man with a gun.  If he wasn’t able to get a firearm, no one would have been hurt because the attack would never have taken place.  So now, since you and your colleagues were victims of gun violence, are you ready to embrace some sort of gun control?

The congressman’s answer was masterful and definitive.  See what he said after the jump. [Read more…]

Other rights are not equal to religious liberty

2519766036_d988be0058_z (1)The hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court got started.

Judge Gorsuch is so clearly qualified that it’s hard to see the basis the left will use to try to shoot down his nomination.  Evidently, the criticism will be that he rules too frequently in favor of religious liberty.  For example, he ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that the owner’s religious convictions outweigh the Obamacare mandate that female employees should be given free birth control.

Today the key assaults on religious liberty are being made in the name of other rights that are assumed to be equal to, or to outweigh the protections of the First Amendment.  Thus, the right of a customer to buy a cake for a gay wedding is often thought to deserve more consideration than the Christian baker’s qualms about participating in a ceremony that violates his or her religious convictions.

David French, a constitutional lawyer among his other talents, explains why ‘fundamental rights”–that is, inalienable rights specifically listed in the constitution–must always take priority over subsidiary rights granted by government power.

Thus religious liberty has to trump (sorry) the right to buy a wedding cake from the baker of your choice, or the right to free birth control, or the right of an atheist to hold office in a religious group, etc. [Read more…]

Do foreigners have constitutional rights?

constitution-1486010_640The Supreme Court has taken up a case that will decide whether or not foreigners–even those outside of American soil–have constitutional rights.

On the one hand, how could they?  Non-citizens cannot have the same privileges as citizens.  Foreigners in this country will be treated according to this country’s laws, which means no one will be allowed to mistreat them.  But how can a nation’s laws be applied outside its borders?

On the other hand, doesn’t the Declaration of Independence say that human rights are universal?  They are “inalienable,” not granted by a government but “endowed” by God.

The case, Hernández v. Mesa, has to do with a border control agent shooting a rock-throwing teenager who was on the Mexican side of the border.

So what do you think?  Do foreigners have constitutional rights?  Is there a difference between constitutional rights and human rights?  Explain. [Read more…]

“Fundamental” vs. “nonfundamental” rights

In a column on the Supreme Court agreeing to hear a case involving a California law requiring that political donor lists be made public, George Will describes a curious legal distinction between “fundamental” rights that cannot be abridged and lesser “nonfundamental” rights that can be abridged if there is a “rational basis.”  This current case, according to Will, would take the dangerous step of applying the “rational basis” criterion to a fundamental right. [Read more…]

You can now give to as many candidates as you want

The Supreme Court struck down the limits to the number of candidates a person is allowed to give money to and the total amount you are allowed to give.   Left standing is the limit a person can give to one candidate–$48,600–but the law had limited total giving to $123,200.  That meant that a donor wanting to give the maximum amount could only support nine candidates.

I know that critics of the ruling are claiming that this opens the door to political corruption and gives rich people the opportunity to buy candidates.  But are there any constitutional grounds for objecting to this ruling?  Aren’t limitations of political activity unconstitutional on the face of it? [Read more…]