There Is A Constitutional Right to Privacy

The nomination of Brett Cavanaugh to the Supreme Court has raised a perennial issue to the forefront of political debate. Under question is the issue of the right to privacy. Cavanaugh has previously expressed support for the federal government’s metadata collection program, writing in an opinion, “in my view, the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.” His reasoning is not unusual: Kavanaugh considers seizure of data from third-party metadata providers…

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Syrian Military Strikes: Good Cannot Be Done at Expense of Constitutional Order

Humanitarian impulses are often the guise under which intervention is sold to the peoples of the world. One is told that any opposition to state action that has, as its sanction, an unassailable moral impulse desirous of relieving the suffering borne of despotic political regimes betrays the finer human feelings that are supposed to underscore the collective of humanity. The insinuation is clear: a stand against intervention, whether in the form of millions of dollars…

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The Trouble With the Executive Branch

Article II of the Constitution—which sets the bounds of executive power—is notoriously short; the document imbues remarkably scant powers to the executive, and to the president in particular. Much of the text outlines procedural mechanisms, to do with the time, place and manner of elections, and behavioral limitations: duties the president is either compelled to perform or forbidden. The president is effectively tasked with five primary powers: the power to veto legislation passed by both…

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The Senate is Broken, But Republicans Didn’t Break It

Senate Republicans invoking the nuclear option and requiring a simple majority for the approval of Supreme Court nominees has engendered a great deal of hysterical handwringing. Indeed, the terminology seems to demand such an overly dramatic response. The histrionics gets one point correct: the integrity of the Senate as a body has been utterly destroyed. However, it was not Republicans (who in fact were simply expanding a precedent Harry Reid set in 2013) who bear…

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Current Political Culture Undercuts Separation of Powers

The nascent Trump presidency is a veritable labyrinth comprised of twisting scandals and the pitfalls of internecine quarrels. Yet, the true crisis of modern government is missing from the gossip-driven scandalmongering that has become the exclusive domain of the daily news cycle. This is the clear lack of understanding from many members of the media and high-ranking members of the Republican leadership that the legislative and executive branches are separate and, most importantly, coequal branches…

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How the death of federalism has affected understanding of the Bill of Rights

Debate over the Constitution has devolved over the past couple of centuries from an eloquent discourse, sometimes sophistic, to petty academic quibbling over whether emphasis on the Bill of Rights belongs to the powers denied the federal government or to those unenumerated and left in the hands of the states and people. The context of this latter position has been further obliterated since New Deal days as a shift in Constitutional interpretation has emphasized the…

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The Anti-Federalists were right

It is couth in intellectual political circles to speak of the Anti-Federalists as well-intentioned but ultimately wrong in their predictions of the doom that the Constitution spelled for freedom in America. Their often emotionally-saturated arguments are talked of as fear-mongering propaganda, a pejorative classification usually not attached to Federalist arguments for the Constitution. Perhaps this rather biased view can be accounted for with several sad and simple truths about how individuals reason. First, positive arguments…

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