Podcast 45 – The Power of the Individual


Podcast 40 – First Amendment & Funeral Protests

Podcast 39 – Clarence Thomas

Activist judges?

They aren’t the problem, says Pamela Karlan. It’s unrestrained politicians.

… let’s bear in mind that obligations of constitutional fidelity do not stop at the bench. Judges would be less busy if policymakers took their constitutional responsibilities more seriously. Public officials—national and state; judicial, executive, and legislative—take an oath to support the Constitution. Unfortunately, many fail to take that oath seriously, and laws and policies are adopted out of political expediency by legislators who know that the courts will strike them down….

Politicians have constitutional responsibilities, too. And if they showed more restraint, judges would not have to intervene so often.

But really you should read the whole thing.


Fair weather federalism?

During a recent podcast Brad, Brandon, and I discussed the increased attention (and reverence) that Republican politicians seem to be directing toward the 10th Amendment lately.

At one point this past summer, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) seemed to speak favorably about the potential for Texas’ secession from the United States.Weeks later, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minnesota) similarly suggested that the 10th Amendment might provide an avenue for opponents of health care reform.

These statements and the introduction of “10th Amendment” resolutions in state legislatures (mentioned in the first Politico article linked above), remind me of the mid-1990s. GOP opposition to Clinton administration policies was often framed as overbearing federal regulation and lawmaking at the expense of state and local governmetn prerogatives. On the campaign trail in 1996, presidential candidate Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kansas) frequently referred to the copy of the 10th Amendment that he carried in his shirt pocket.
This has seemed to me to be a bit of hypocrisy on the part of the GOP, since I don’t recall hearing a lot about 10th Amendment issues during the Bush administration. But, am I over simplifying? Let’s look at some data.


The Supreme what? Oh… them

From the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian:

A Cape Girardeau man was arrested for flag desecration today, a case that was dimissed within hours because of a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said that he was unaware of the case, Texas v. Johnson, that invalidated the laws of 48 states, when he filed misdemeanor charges against Frank L. Snider III.

Swingle was elected prosecuting attorney in 1986.


Podcast 6: Discretion in Administration & Law; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Brad, Brandon and Chip discuss discretion in administration and law, as well as the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.