Constitution

The Courts and the New Deal, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 The system of laws and courts in the United States today hardly resembles that system that came about in the wake of the founding of this republic. This sea change in the law is not due — as some might claim — to the complexities of ... [click for more]

The Courts and the New Deal, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 In the next few years of the George W. Bush administration, it is almost certain that there will be a number of contentious battles between Democrats and Republicans and between the White House and the U.S. Senate over certain federal court nominees. While the issues will ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Reserved Powers

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The Constitution brought into existence the most unusual government in history. It was a government whose powers were limited to those enumerated in the document itself. If the power wasn’t enumerated, the government could not exercise it. Fearful that the newly formed government might try to break free of that ... [click for more]

A Federated Republic or One Nation?

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The controversy over the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance overshadows an old, long-forgotten issue regarding the Pledge. When it was first published in 1892, the Pledge did not contain the words “under God.” Congress added these words in 1954 as a Cold War response to atheistic communism. Nevertheless, ... [click for more]

Don’t Forget Roosevelt’s Attack on the Judiciary

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Republican attacks on the judiciary bring to mind what unquestionably was the fiercest attack on the independence of the federal judiciary in American history — the infamous “court-packing scheme” of Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While there certainly had been instances of government regulation and welfare prior to FDR’s ... [click for more]

Schiavo Case Affirms Rule of Law

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At first glance the case of Terri Schiavo can look like a horrible miscarriage of justice. This is understandable. Reasonable and compassionate people are reluctant to believe that a brain-damaged young woman has no hope of recovery, and they naturally want to err on the side of life. When someone ... [click for more]

The Schiavo Case Is Not Judicial Murder

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Contrary to popular opinion, the Schiavo case does not involve “judicial murder” or even euthanasia or assisted suicide. Instead, it is a case that turns on a factual determination in a court of law regarding Terri Schiavo’s intent with respect to the conditions under which she would want to be ... [click for more]

Rule of Law Damaged by Schiavo Bill

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The events surrounding the life of Terri Schiavo are tragic enough. Now congressional Republicans and President Bush have made things worse. In one weekend they disabled federalism, the separation of powers, and the rule of law. These principles were embraced by the Founding Fathers because they tend to ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Bail, Fines, and Cruel and Unusual Punishments

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Like the Sixth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment deals with the administration of criminal justice. The Eighth Amendment reads as follows: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. This is how bail works: When federal officials arrest someone suspected of having committed a crime, they are required to take him promptly ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: The Rights of the Accused

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Among the legitimate purposes of government is the punishment of those who violate the rights of others through the commission of violent or forceful acts, such as murder, rape, robbery, theft, burglary, or trespass. As the Framers understood, however, the matter does not end there because an important inquiry immediately arises: How do we ensure that people are not ... [click for more]

How the Enemy Combatant Label Is Being Used, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 On Monday, October 4, the Supreme Court declined to consider a petition filed by Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri. Al-Marri is perhaps the least well known of the three persons who have been held in the United States as enemy combatants. The decision was unsurprising yet still disappointing. Al-Marri, who has been waiting for nearly three ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Trial by Jury

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The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in part as follows: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.... Trial by jury is one of the essential prerequisites of a free society. As our ... [click for more]
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