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Archive for the 'USH: Constitution' Category

10 Great Resources on the Electoral College

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Well not all 10 are great. But all of these interactive maps will help you understand the convoluted process.

The Constitution Packet

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Here is the Constitution packet. New and improved.

Is Our Economy Too Complicated for Our 18th-Century Political System?

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Can a democratic system function efficiently in an advanced economy in our modern, globalized world? A system based, say, on a couple of 18th century documents updated occasionally by nine people in black robes and a two-chambered legislature that must devote at least as much time to the raising of funds to re-elect itself? I think it can—eventually—but not everyone agrees.

Originalist Sin: the Founding Fathers not only supported mandates, they passed laws imposing them

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

The five conservative justices on the Supreme Court—Thomas, Alito, Scalia, Roberts and Kennedy—cloak themselves in the myth that they are somehow channeling the wisdom and understanding of the Founding Fathers, the original intent that guided the drafting of the Constitution.  I believe the premise of their argument is itself suspect: It is not clear to me how much weight should be given  to non-textually based intent that is practically impossible to discern more than 200 years later. Most of the issues over which there is constitutional dispute today could not even have been envisioned when the document was drafted.

One Document, Under Siege

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Here are a few things the framers did not know about: World War II. DNA. Sexting. Airplanes. The atom. Television. Medicare. Collateralized debt obligations. The germ theory of disease. Miniskirts. The internal combustion engine. Computers. Antibiotics. Lady Gaga.

People on the right and left constantly ask what the framers would say about some event that is happening today. What would the framers say about whether the drones over Libya constitute a violation of Article I, Section 8, which gives Congress the power to declare war? Well, since George Washington didn’t even dream that man could fly, much less use a global-positioning satellite to aim a missile, it’s hard to say what he would think. What would the framers say about whether a tax on people who did not buy health insurance is an abuse of Congress’s authority under the commerce clause? Well, since James Madison did not know what health insurance was and doctors back then still used leeches, it’s difficult to know what he would say. (Time)

Seth Waxman dropped the butt-bomb

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

The issue before the court is not whether the FCC can regulate obscenity. It can. The issue is whether the FCC can regulate “indecency,” as defined in a seminal 1978 case about a daytime radio broadcast of George Carlin’s “Filthy Words” monologue as “language that describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities and organs” between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children might be watching.

Interpreting The Constitution In The Digital Era

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

GPS monitors can track your every movement. Brain scans can now see lies forming in your brain. And advancements in genetic engineering may soon allow parents to engineer what their children will look and be like.

These new technologies are “challenging our Constitutional categories in really dramatic ways,” says George Washington University law professor Jeffrey Rosen. “And what’s so striking is that none of the existing amendments give clear answers to the most basic questions we’re having today.”

Listen to this episode of Fresh Air, where Rosen, the co-editor of the  Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change, details how technological changes that were unimaginable at the time of the Founding Fathers are challenging our notions of things like personal vs. private space, freedom of speech and our own individual autonomy.

Barnes v. Glen Theatre and Kitty Kat Lounge

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

“Respondents are two establishments in South Bend, Indiana, that wish to provide totally nude dancing as entertainment, and individual dancers who are employed at these establishments. They claim that the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of expression prevents the State of Indiana from enforcing its public indecency law to prevent this form of dancing. We reject their claim.”

Read this Supreme Court decision written by Chief Justice Rehnquist.

Your Bill of Rights

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

In 1789, the United States sought to make the union more perfect, drawing up 10 amendments to the Constitution now known as the Bill of Rights. In this series of ten short videos, TIME brings to life the words of the Founding Fathers and explores how these deeply felt ideas about liberty and property have evolved into the amendments as we interpret them today.

Supreme Court Rulings 2010-11

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The US Supreme Court is rendering rulings on the cases from this year’s docket. There are several interesting cases.

Here are all of the slip opinions.

Here is some top-notch editorializing on the rulings from Slate’s Dalia Lithwick who, in my humble opinion, offers remarkably insightful yet accessible court journalism.

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