• Stare Decisis: Precedent vs the Constitution
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    Stare Decisis: Precedent vs the Constitution

    Precedent does not trump the constitution, even when the court says it does. Stare decisis is Latin for “to stand by things decided.” In short, it is the doctrine of precedent. According to the Supreme Court, stare decisis “promotes the evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles, fosters reliance on judicial decisions, and contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process.” In practice, it is the judicial policy of sometimes adhering to a prior decision even when it was wrong. As the majority put it in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood vs Casey, it is the practice of adhering to a prior decision “whether or…

  • Treating the Constitution Like Silly Putty
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    Treating the Constitution Like Silly Putty

    A lot of people treat the constitution like silly putty. If you’ve ever played with silly putty, you know you can stick it on newsprint and it will pick up a mirror image of the page. A lot of people think they can do the same thing with the constitution. They stick on to whatever political opinion they like and imagine the constitution just picks it up. Then they pull on the edges to create new and interesting forms that were never approved by the people who gave it legal force. This is pretty much what people are doing when they claim the constitution is living and breathing and was…

  • “But nullification isn’t listed in the Constitution!”
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    “But nullification isn’t listed in the Constitution!”

    Nullification isn’t specifically listed in the Constitution. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Every once in awhile, someone tells us, “The Constitution doesn’t say anything about nullification. That means states simply can’t do it.” But they’ve got things totally backwards. It’s true that the federal government has limited powers and is only authorized to do the things delegated to it in the Constitution. As James Madison put it in Federalist #45, “the powers delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” If a power isn’t delegated, the federal government simply is not authorized to do it. On the other hand, states have reserved…

  • Joshua Lyons Monologue/Mark Kreslins Commentary 011610 (Guard the Constitution)
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    Joshua Lyons Monologue/Mark Kreslins Commentary 011610 (Guard the Constitution)

    it is imperative to the long-term survival of our Republic that we vigorously guard our Constitution for we the people have regrettably become complacent over the past many decades maybe even a century we have not acted properly as designed as the forth some may say fifth branch of government and the other three branches have taken notice we must recognize that our Constitution is not a self enforcing document over time if one or more of the branches neglects its responsibilities of being guardians of the Constitution we find ourselves in a perpetual breaking down of the limitations defined in our charter document this situation it’s the root of…

  • 44,000 Bombs in 2017: The Result of Ignoring the Constitution on War
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    44,000 Bombs in 2017: The Result of Ignoring the Constitution on War

    Give government an inch and they always take a mile. Especially when it comes to war powers. Under the Constitution, Congress has the power to determine if the country will declare war and against whom. Only after that decision is made by the Congress, the President takes charge of waging that war. James Madison put it this way, “The constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the legislature.” Hammering things home, Madison pointed out that the Constitution gave the…

  • Thomas Jefferson: “The Foundation of the Constitution”
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    Thomas Jefferson: “The Foundation of the Constitution”

    Thomas Jefferson saw the Tenth Amendment as the foundation of the Constitution. In a 1791 opinion against the constitutionality of a National Bank, he wrote: “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the States or to the people”

  • The Bill of Rights
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    The Bill of Rights

    Today, we will learn about the first 10 amendments which, we call the Bill of Rights. Amendments are changes to the Constitution so, they come at the very end. We have 27 amendments but, today we will learn about just the first 10. Let’s jump right in with the First Amendment the First Amendment protects some of our most basic freedoms in the United States, it gives us freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. This mean we get to choose our own religion and can speak freely about our beliefs, we can also meet or assemble peacefully in group and contact or petition the government for help against…

  • War isn’t an Executive Decision under the Constitution
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    War isn’t an Executive Decision under the Constitution

    When it comes down to it, opinions are just opinions. Constitutionally, war and peace aren’t the president’s decision. The founding generation went out of their way to ensure this kind of unilateral decision-making would never happen. Under the constitution, the power to make decisions about whether to go to war or not is delegated to Congress. The founders wanted to ensure that a body directly accountable to the people made these decisions, not a single individual subject to emotional whims. This is how James Madison described it in a letter to Thomas Jefferson. He wrote: “The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the…

  • Articles

    Constitution 101: Definitions Don’t Change Over Time

    Don’t rely on a modern dictionary to understand the words of the Constitution. Like any legal document, the words of the Constitution have the same meaning today as they were understood to mean the day it was ratified. While some of those words mean the same today as they did back then, some of them are totally different than what you’d expect. For example, in Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the Constitution, Congress is delegated a power to “establish Post Offices and post Roads.” Some people make the logical conclusion that a “post Road,” in support of “Post Offices,” is any road over which the mail might travel.…

  • Edmund Randolph on the General Welfare Clause
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    Edmund Randolph on the General Welfare Clause

    Does the Constitution empower Congress to pass any and every law for the “general welfare?” Many Americans think it does because of the general Welfare clause, but supporters of the Constitution during ratification said it did not. Edmund Randolph was a delegate to the Philadelphia convention. He was initially opposed to the Constitution and refused to sign it. He later changed course and became a strong advocate at the Virginia ratifying convention. During those debates, he forcefully countered Patrick Henry’s assertion that the general Welfare clause would give the new government sweeping power. He said, “But the rhetoric of the gentleman has highly colored the dangers of giving the general…