Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

October 15, 2014

“Bad” or “Wrong” or “I don’t like it” is not equivalent to “Unconstitutional”

In a comment on someone elses post, another reader wrote “The DEA is an unconstitutional and illegal agency”. This bugs me… We frequently see these sorts of statements made about the DEA, the ATF, the federal reserve (where ok, there’s at least a rational and reasonable though flawed argument to be made… most of the […]

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January 15, 2013

The Mind of an Anti-Gun Loon

I’m a defender of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms but let’s face it: there are some loony gun owners on our side. The anti-gun media loves to try to hold these people up as typical supporters of the 2nd Amendment, the castle and stand your ground doctrines. If they cannot find the loon […]

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July 1, 2012

Do We Really Want the President to Enforce ALL Federal Laws?

The Rule of Law, theoretically at least, is superior to the arbitrary Rule of Men. For most of human history, the law has been subject to the whim of a head of state be s/he a monarch, czar, dictator, emperor, etc. James Madison and the framers of the U.S. Constitution wisely determined that the document […]

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June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act

As Quincy notes below, the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act today by relying upon an argument that most people had not been paying attention to: WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday left standing the basic provisions of the health care overhaul, ruling that the government may use its taxation […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 7:58 am || Permalink || Comments (3) || TrackBack URI || Categories: Commerce Clause,Constitution,Politics,Taxation,Tea Party
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April 9, 2012

On Judge Jerry Smith’s “Homework Assignment” And Judicial Deference To The Legislature

Last Tuesday, a federal judge in the 5th Circuit, Jerry Smith, blasted a DOJ lawyer on an ObamaCare case in the wake of Obama’s comments on judicial activism. The Judge assigned the lawyer a three-page, single spaced homework assignment to draft a position on whether the judiciary has the legitimate right to overturn Unconstitutional legislation. […]

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April 4, 2012

How far we have fallen…

Reading the point/counterpoint posts on the question of how the supreme court would decide on Obamacares constitutionality, was quite disturbing to me in several ways. On the one hand I was heartened, because clearly both Brad and Doug are sane and rational folks with a reasonably solid background in both law and politics, and a […]

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Counterpoint: The Supreme Court Will Find The Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

Earlier this week, Brad Warbiany started out the latest in our occasional series of Point-Counterpoint exchanges by arguing that the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold the Constitutionality of the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. I’ll start off by saying that this is not an all implausible. Indeed, I’ve argued myself in the […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 1:19 pm || Permalink || Comments (3) || TrackBack URI || Categories: Commerce Clause,Constitution,Point/Counterpoint,Separation Of Powers
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April 3, 2012

Point: How The Supreme Court Will Find The Individual Mandate Constitutional

This is part of The Liberty Papers’ continuing Point/Counterpoint series, where two contributors (or a contributor and a guest) argue competing sides of an issue. In this installment, I will argue that the Supreme Court has a realistic defensible argument to find the Individual Mandate in ObamaCare Constitutional. Tomorrow, Doug Mataconis will respond with a […]

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June 15, 2011

Montana Firearms Freedom Act: Tilting At Windmills

While I laud any state trying to expand the freedom of its residents while simultaneously thumbing it’s nose at Washington, I can’t see this ending well: On October 1, 2009, Montana passed the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, the purpose of which was to regulate guns manufactured and kept within Montana state lines under a less […]

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February 2, 2011

South Dakota Lawmakers Confused By Federal/State Distinction — Embarrass Selves

[shakes head] A group of South Dakota lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require almost everyone in their state to buy a gun once they turn 21. Turns out it’s not a serious attempt. Rather, the lawmakers are trying to make a point about the new health care law — that an individual mandate […]

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March 27, 2010

Will The Supreme Court Strike Down ObamaCare ? Don’t Be So Quick To Say Yes

The New York Times’ long-time SCOTUS reporter Linda Greenhouse takes a look at how the current court might look at the challenges to the health care reform law: The challengers invoke and seek to build upon the Rehnquist court’s “federalism revolution” that flowered briefly during the 1990’s. In a series of 5-to-4 rulings, the court […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 6:24 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Commerce Clause,Constitution,Federalism,Founding Fathers,Healthcare,Legal,Liberty,Politics
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March 23, 2010

Thirteen States File Suit Against ObamaCare

Well, that didn’t take long: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Attorneys general from 13 states sued the federal government Tuesday, claiming the landmark health care overhaul bill is unconstitutional just seven minutes after President Barack Obama signed it into law. The lawsuit was filed in Pensacola after the Democratic president signed the bill the House passed Sunday […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 9:01 am || Permalink || Comments (5) || TrackBack URI || Categories: Commerce Clause,Constitution,Federalism,Freedom,Healthcare,Legal,Politics
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Will The Courts Strike Down ObamaCare ? Don’t Count On It

Over at The American Spectator, conservative lawyer Stacy Cline points out that the legal challenges to ObamaCare have the odds, and the case law, against them: Last night’s passage of the greatest expansion of the federal government since the Great Society is a sad day for our country, not only because it may bankrupt our […]

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March 22, 2010

Lawsuits Await As ObamaCare Passes

Shortly, ObamaCare will be the law of the land, then the next round in the battle begins: WASHINGTON — The battle over health care is poised to move swiftly from Congress back to the country as Democrats, Republicans and a battery of interest groups race to define the legislation and dig in for long-term political […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 9:31 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Commerce Clause,Constitution,Federalism,Healthcare,Politics,Supreme Court
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March 21, 2010

ObamaCare, The Constitution, And The Next Round In The Health Care Wars

The Constitutionality of ObamaCare is apparently a subject that neither Nancy Pelosi, nor any other Member of Congress has given any consideration to. In today’s Washington Post, however, Law Professor Randy Barnett takes a look at the probable Constitutional challenges to the health care bill: Can Congress really require that every person purchase health insurance […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 4:55 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Commerce Clause,Constitution,Federalism,Healthcare,Individual Rights,Legal,Liberty,Politics,Supreme Court
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November 9, 2009

On promises made and broken

In the lead up to the vote on H.R. 3962, the “Affordable Health Care for America” Act (scare quotes intentional), Barack Obama offered this encouragement to legislators to vote for the bill: “This is their moment, this is our moment, to live up to the trust that the American people have placed in us,” Obama […]

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October 22, 2009

Is An Individual Health Insurance Mandate Constitutional ?

Over at Findlaw, Cornell University Law Professor Michael Dorf criticizes the libertarian argument that a government requirement that every citizen purchase health insurance is unconstitutional: A federal statute that was already in effect in 1994 provides that “all citizens shall have . . . an obligation to serve as jurors when summoned for that purpose.” […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 4:27 am || Permalink || Comments (6) || TrackBack URI || Categories: Commerce Clause,Constitution,Federalism,Healthcare,Individual Rights
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September 28, 2009

Republican Senator Expresses Support For Mandatory Health Insurance

Former Republican Senator Bill Frist starts out the U.S. News And World Report article in which he comes out in support of a government requirement that each American have health insurance with what can only be described as a fair degree of irony: I believe in limited government and individual responsibility, cherish the freedom to […]

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September 18, 2009

Are Health Insurance Mandates Constitutional ?

After a piece last month in the Washington Post, which I wrote about here, lawyers David Rivkin and Lee Casey are back with a piece in the Wall Street Journal expanding on their argument that a requirement that every American buy health insurance would be unconstitutional. This time, they argue that, even under current commerce […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 9:43 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Commerce Clause,Constitution,Federalism,Separation Of Powers,The Nanny State
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September 17, 2009

Happy Constitution Day

Two Hundred Twenty Two years ago in Philadelphia, the Constitution Convention in Philadelphia completed it’s work. At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished, asked him directly: “Well Doctor, what have we […]

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