• Using the Constitution to Save the Constitution
    Articles,  Blog

    Using the Constitution to Save the Constitution

    Isn’t the benefit of this in part that you are using the Constitution to save the Constitution? That’s right. It’s the Founders’ own methodology. People will talk about nullification and all kinds of extra-constitutional methodologies for fixing the problem of the runaway federal government, but the Constitution’s own solution which is to say the Founders’ own solution is right here. And they said, ‘Let’s use the structure of the states to reduce the power of the federal government’ because of a very simple principle: no branch of government should have the final say about how much power that branch has. And when we let Washington, D.C., decide how much power…

  • Executive Removal Power Part I: The Decision of 1789 [No. 86]
    Articles,  Blog

    Executive Removal Power Part I: The Decision of 1789 [No. 86]

    The first Congress had a debate over the removal power, the power of the President to remove executive officials. The removal power is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution. Congress’s conclusion about the removal power in 1789 is often called the Decision of 1789. It was Congress’s interpretation of the Constitution’s provisions. The first Congress was tasked with creating the first executive departments, so they created the Department of Foreign Affairs or State, the Department of War, and the Department of Treasury. Each of these departments was headed by a principal officer or a secretary. The question arose whether the president had a constitutional power to remove these principal officers at…

  • The Clean Power Plan: The EPA & Climate Change Policy
    Articles,  Blog

    The Clean Power Plan: The EPA & Climate Change Policy

    President Obama issued an executive order containing a climate action plan that directed EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that produce electricity. The Clean Power Plan was the culmination of that executive action. It was a regulation promulgated under EPA’s authority to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that would be combusted for power in favor of renewable sources. Traditionally, most electricity in the United States was made through combusting coal or natural gas and power plants. The Clean Power Plan required a significant reduction in the amount of energy that could be generated in that way. It’s not really a pollution control program, it is an…

  • How Article V Works
    Articles,  Blog

    How Article V Works

    The Founders gave us two ways to propose structural changes to the federal government if it exceeds its power or there are other problems that arise through experience. The first way is that Congress proposes the amendments and the states ratify. The second way was given to us by George Mason who said, ‘Look it, guys. Some day this government’s going to abuse its power’ ‘and there won’t be anything to ratify if we’re counting on Congress to reduce the power of the federal government.’ ‘So we need to give the states the ability to reduce the power of the federal government through the Article V Convention process.’

  • Articles

    The Clean Power Plan: The EPA & Climate Change Policy

    President Obama issued an executive order containing a climate action plan that directed EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that produce electricity. The Clean Power Plan was the culmination of that executive action. It was a regulation promulgated under EPA’s authority to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that would be combusted for power in favor of renewable sources. Traditionally, most electricity in the United States was made through combusting coal or natural gas and power plants. The Clean Power Plan required a significant reduction in the amount of energy that could be generated in that way. It’s not really a pollution control program, it is an…

  • What experiences shaped the Founders’ perception of executive power? [No. 86 ]
    Articles,  Blog

    What experiences shaped the Founders’ perception of executive power? [No. 86 ]

    So, in 1776, the framers of the American colonies and of the Declaration of Independence were very opposed to executive power. And in fact, most of the Declaration of Independence is a list of grievances, all directed at the king and things that the king had done. The colonists didn’t believe parliament had any power over them because they weren’t represented in it, but they did think the king was their chief executive, and the list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence expresses their disagreement with the idea that the king has what’s called prerogative power. That is to say a power to legislate to fill in the gaps…

  • Articles

    The Clean Power Plan: The EPA & Climate Change Policy

    President Obama issued an executive order containing a climate action plan that directed EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that produce electricity. The Clean Power Plan was the culmination of that executive action. It was a regulation promulgated under EPA’s authority to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that would be combusted for power in favor of renewable sources. Traditionally, most electricity in the United States was made through combusting coal or natural gas and power plants. The Clean Power Plan required a significant reduction in the amount of energy that could be generated in that way. It’s not really a pollution control program, it is an…

  • Articles

    The Clean Power Plan: The EPA & Climate Change Policy

    President Obama issued an executive order containing a climate action plan that directed EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that produce electricity. The Clean Power Plan was the culmination of that executive action. It was a regulation promulgated under EPA’s authority to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that would be combusted for power in favor of renewable sources. Traditionally, most electricity in the United States was made through combusting coal or natural gas and power plants. The Clean Power Plan required a significant reduction in the amount of energy that could be generated in that way. It’s not really a pollution control program, it is an…

  • How Did the Founders Decide on the Separation of Powers? [No. 86]
    Articles,  Blog

    How Did the Founders Decide on the Separation of Powers? [No. 86]

    Article 1 says that, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.” And Article 2 begins by saying, “The executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States.” And Article 3 begins by saying, “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Those three vesting clauses of Article 1, Article 2, and Article 3 recognize the separation of powers in the US Constitution. And the separation of powers…

  • Centralized Power is the Problem, not the Solution
    Articles,  Blog

    Centralized Power is the Problem, not the Solution

    Whenever you give government power to do something you like, you’re also giving your opponents the power to do the opposite. Sometimes people tell us we are missing opportunities to expand liberty by insisting on decentralization of power, and refusing to turn to Washington D.C. for solutions. They tell us that sometimes we need federal power to keep States from violating our rights. For instance, a lot of conservatives have put their faith in federal courts to protect our gun rights from strict state regulations. Others will point to successes, such as the Supreme Court decision that struck down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages. Every once in a while, the…