Federalism:

The Disenfranchisement of Rural America

The Disenfranchisement of Rural America

Originally published in Defining Ideas, February 13, 2013 – Small-town Americans are losing the right to govern themselves and their own communities. Anyone who pays even passing attention to American politics is familiar with the map (Figure 1) of the United States showing states in which a majority of voters favored President Obama (colored blue) […]

Tilting at the Federal Windmill

Tilting at the Federal Windmill

Originally published in The Oregonian — August 16, 2012 — Oregon’s marijuana legalization measure would ignite a futile legal battle – By Brendan Monaghan — There are many reasons that a voter might approve a given ballot initiative, but trying to start a fight with the federal government shouldn’t be one of them. Consider Measure […]

Justice Roberts Provides Cover for Congress

Justice Roberts Provides Cover for Congress

Originally published in The Daily Caller — June 28, 2012 – Obamacare ruling is judicial activism of the most pernicious sort – The Supreme Court’s validation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate will be celebrated as a product of appropriate judicial restraint. To the contrary, it is judicial activism of the most pernicious […]

Did Arizona Win or Lose in the Supreme Court?

Did Arizona Win or Lose in the Supreme Court?

As with so many things to today’s reporting on politics, it all depends on your point of view.  MSNBC’s story is headlined “High court strikes down key parts of Arizona immigration law.”   The Wall Street Journal story is headlined “Supreme Court Upholds Key Part of Arizona Law.”  Maybe because they are in the middle (sort […]

Obamacare, Federalism and Liberty

Obamacare, Federalism and Liberty

Originally published in Defining Ideas — June 7, 2012 –   Does liberty depend on the grace and generosity of government power? Given the controversy arising from President Obama’s preemptive strike against the U.S. Supreme Court—the President said he was confident the court would uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because it […]

In Defense of our “Imbecilic” Constitution

In Defense of our “Imbecilic” Constitution

Richard Epstein writes on The Daily Caller:  “The only way to think about governments is to first identify the set of individual rights that they are supposed to protect, after which it is possible to put in place the constitutional provisions on both individual rights and government structure that might best serve to protect those […]

Gay Marriage: Empathy, Rights and Federalism

Gay Marriage: Empathy, Rights and Federalism

In today’s Oregonian, Charles Krauthammer says there are two arguments for gay marriage — empathy and rights.  President Obama started with the case from empathy and moved quickly to rights.  But he also says it should be up to the states.  Krauthammer argues that he can’t have it both ways.  If it’s a right, it […]

Liberty and the Obamacare Mandate

Liberty and the Obamacare Mandate

A Speech Delivered to Portland Rotary — May 1, 2012 –   Can Congress mandate that you and I purchase health insurance on penalty of payment of a fine if we do not?  As a matter of raw political power?   Absolutely.  We saw it happen in 2010, complete with Cornhusker kickbacks and Louisiana purchases. But […]

What the Arizona Immigration Case is Really About

What the Arizona Immigration Case is Really About

IT’S NOT ABOUT INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS OR STATES’ RIGHTS; IT’S ABOUT POWER: Originally published in The Daily Caller — April 26, 2012 – In his coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing on the validity of Arizona’s immigration law (S.B. 1070), ABC News reporter Terry Moran stated that the issue before the court is: “Does Arizona […]

Obama Administration Plays Defense in Second Day of Supreme Court Arguments

Obama Administration Plays Defense in Second Day of Supreme Court Arguments

This report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that the five conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court are skeptical of the government’s claim that the individual mandate of Obamacare fits within prior commerce clause precedent.  Justice Kennedy says there is a “heavy burden on the government.”  Read the story here.

Will the Supreme Court Accept the Challenge of Protecting Liberty?

Will the Supreme Court Accept the Challenge of Protecting Liberty?

INDIVIDUAL MANDATE CASE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN RESTORING FRAMERS’ VISION: Originally published in The Daily Caller — 3-26-12 – Today the United States Supreme Court began three days of hearings on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Challengers claim the law’s mandate that individuals purchase insurance or pay a […]

The Point of American Federalism

The Point of American Federalism

Originally published in The Daily Caller — 03/22/12 — With the biggest federalism case in decades about to be argued before the Supreme Court, the political left and right are clearly divided. Conservatives are hopeful that at least five justices will find the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. If that happens, liberals will […]

Give Congess Less to Fight About

Give Congess Less to Fight About

Writing in The Los Angeles Times, Jonah Goldberg argues that the partisan divide in Washington can be reduced by reducing the federal government’s role in our lives.  It is really a case for restoring the federal system intended by the framers in which local people solve local  problems — what the Europeans call subsidiarity.  Read […]

Daniels Dares GOP Candidates to be Grown-Ups

Daniels Dares GOP Candidates to be Grown-Ups

BY MICHAEL BARONE, WASHINGTON EXAMINER 09/28/11 – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels did not attract as large a crowd when he spoke at American Enterprise Institute (where I am a resident fellow) earlier this week as he did when several months ago, before he disappointed admirers by announcing that he wouldn’t run for president. I saw […]

The Source of Federal Power:  Constitution or Compassion

The Source of Federal Power: Constitution or Compassion

For many conservatives, the steady expansion of federal power since the New Deal is the product of the sort of relentless power grab anticipated by the framers of the Constitution.  It represents a failure of the Supreme Court to enforce the vertical separation of powers anticipated in the constitutional enumeration of the powers of Congress. […]

The Flaw of Unintended Consequences

The Flaw of Unintended Consequences

Epiphanies are rare, especially those of the mass variety. More people are opening their eyes, though, to the fact that actions, even well-meaning ones, do have consequences; most of them unintended, and many of them bad. So begins our climb back up to the shining city on the hill. What Frederic Bastiat called “The seen […]

Should Pell Grants Escape the Budget Axe?

Should Pell Grants Escape the Budget Axe?

As a lifelong educator, I am very sympathetic with Portland State University President Wim Wiewel’s plea (in today’s Oregonian) for no cuts to the federal Pell grant program.  That program provides much needed support for low income college students.  It is a worthy program that yields significant benefits to the beneficiary students. The problem is […]

Appeals Court Obamacare Ruling Highlights Need for Supreme Court Review

On July 1 the Hoover Institution published my article on the recent 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare’s  controversial ‘individual mandate’ requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.   In it I argue that the court’s opinion underscores the need for a clearer definition of the boundary between federal and state power.  […]

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