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

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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December 14, 2010

A Repeal Amendment Would Be A Benefit, But A Limited One

I’m a bit late to the party, but significant discussion has been made about a potential “repeal amendment” to the Constitution. Advocated by Randy Barnett, he suggests that it is a necessary counterpunch to the 16th and 17th Amendments, which together increased the Federal government’s ability to raise revenue to do what it likes while [...]

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 7:33 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Constitution,Fiscal Policy,Separation Of Powers,Strategies For Advancing Liberty
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September 30, 2010

Nolan Exposes McCain’s Antipathy for Civil Liberties in Arizona Senate Debate

David Nolan, co-founder of the Libertarian Party and author of “The World’s Smallest Political Quiz” (to which the result is plotted on the “Nolan Chart”) is running against none other than the most recent Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain for his senate seat. KTVK-3TV hosted a debate last Sunday which included Sen. McCain along [...]

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September 20, 2010

Ken Buck’s “Radical” Proposal to “Rewrite” the Constitution

I do not support Ken Buck in the Colorado senate race and I will not vote for him. Actually, between his extreme position on abortion, on banning common forms of birth control, and his sexist comments he made about his primary opponent, I think he is quite a jackass. But even as much as I [...]

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August 19, 2010

Counterpoint: Civil Disobedience Or Not, Nullification Is Unconstitutional

In his post that started this debate, Brad Warbiany makes this point about the idea that the individual states have the power, or at least the right, to make declarations as to the Constitutionality of Federal laws: Nullification is the civil disobedience of Federalism. Is it legal? No. After all, the Supremacy Clause and judicial [...]

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August 17, 2010

Point: Nullification Is The Civil Disobedience of Federalism

This post is a part of our continuing series Point/Counterpoint. I am taking the position that state Nullification of federal law is a legitimate action, and Doug Mataconis will respond tomorrow with a rebuttal. In memory of James Kilpatrick, we’ll dedicate this installment to him. In federal politics, states are party to an uneasy compact [...]

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August 12, 2010

Obama: Judge, Jury, and Executioner in Chief

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject [...]

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June 30, 2010

Yes, the Second Amendment really means what it says… and that means you too Chicago

This past Monday, Samuel Alito, writing for the majority (with separate concurring opinions from Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia) in the case McDonald vs. City of Chicago and Village of Morton Grove; handed down what in 30 years will I believe, be held as one of (or perhaps half of a pair of, or the [...]

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June 22, 2010

CounterPoint: Yes, Virginia, States Really Do Have Rights

This is a segment in The Liberty Papers’ continuing “Point/Counterpoint” series. This post is the rebuttal to my co-contributor Michael Powell’s post here, making the point that “states’ rights” are an antiquated and poisoned concept. When I saw Michael’s post this morning, I was a little bit surprised. I was expecting him to make the [...]

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May 17, 2010

Modern Jurisprudence is PROFOUNDLY Broken

Two contrasting stories out of the Supreme Court today, that bring home the fact that jurisprudence in this country is profoundly… hopefully not irreparably… broken. First, from the New York Times: NO MORE LIFE SENTENCES FOR MINORS WHO HAVEN’T MURDERED…. In yet another 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court said this morning that incarcerated minors can’t [...]

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March 20, 2010

Is “Deem And Pass” Constitutional ? Neither The Question Nor The Answer Are As Simple As You Think

As the debate over health care reform approaches it’s final hours in the House of Representatives, there’s been much discussion over the past week over a rather obscure topic — the internal operating procedures of the House of Representatives, and specifically the apparent intention of House Democrats to use something that has been called “deem [...]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 5:43 am || Permalink || Comments (15) || TrackBack URI || Categories: Constitution,Healthcare,Legal,Politics,Separation Of Powers
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January 27, 2010

Opening the floodgates…

From tonight’s State of the Union address: “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said. “Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by [...]

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January 11, 2010

President Obama establishes Council of Governors by Executive Order

Brad just asked what people are reading today.  President Obama just provided some interesting reading material indeed. Here’s the opening text from an Executive Order dated January 11, 2010: EXECUTIVE ORDER ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States [...]

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December 12, 2009

Earmark And Healthcare Wars: Ron Paul vs Jeff Flake

A recent article in the Washington Examiner by John Labeaume details the differing approaches to earmarks that two of most libertarian members of Congress have. This difference came out in a vote on an amendment that Flake wrote to H.R. 3791 which was the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2009. The Flake amendment would ban [...]

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November 9, 2009

Will The Supreme Court Finally Start Reining In The Necessary And Proper Clause ?

One of the most pernicious clauses of the Constitution that has, through creative interpretation led to an expansion of the power of the Federal Government far beyond where it was intended is the Necessary and Proper Clause, which sits at the end of Article I, Section 8 and states as follows: To make all Laws [...]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 9:06 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Constitution,Separation Of Powers
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November 2, 2009

Gene Healy Talks About The Cult Of The Presidency

Recently, Cato Institute Vice-President Gene Healy, author of , which I recently reviewed, spoke on Freedom & Prosperity Radio about his book and the rise of Executive Branch power in the United States. The whole interview is worth listening to.

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 8:22 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Constitution,Separation Of Powers,Theory and Ideas
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October 31, 2009

The Cult Of The Imperial Presidency

Over the past 30 years, America has seen Presidential scandals ranging from Watergate to Iran-Contra to Travel-gate, Whitewater, the Lewinsky scandal, and the Valerie Plame affair. We’ve learned the truth about some of the truly nefarious actions undertaken by some of most beloved Presidents of the 20th Century, including the iconic FDR, JFK, and LBJ. [...]

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September 22, 2009

Quote Of The Day

From Ian Millhiser, who derides “tenthers”, the folks who actually believe the 10th Amendment was designed as a meaningful check on the federal government. More important, there is something fundamentally authoritarian about the tenther constitution. Social Security, Medicare, and health-care reform are all wildly popular, yet the tenther constitution would shackle our democracy and forbid [...]

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:26 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || TrackBack URI || Categories: Constitution,Quote of the Day,Separation Of Powers,The Bill Of Rights
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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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