In this episode of IITV, Independence Institute Research Director Dave Kopel speaks with legendary music critic, journalist, syndicated columnist, and civil libertarian Nat Hentoff. They discuss the current state of civil liberties in America and Nat explains why Obama has been the worst president of all-time when it comes to our individual freedoms.
Archive for the 'Civil Rights' Category
Advocates of freedom and constitutional rights won a victory today when Senator Evie Hudak resigned to avoid being recalled.
For years, people have asked me, “When a Member of Congress repeatedly violates his or her oath of office, what can we do?” Because Congressmen can’t be impeached (and their colleagues rarely expel them), my answer always has been, “You have no alternative but oppose him or her in the next election.”
But for Colorado elected officials, we do have an alternative: recall. And after long failure to use that tool, the voters finally have deployed it—three times this year.
Recall elections work because in recall elections, unlike general elections, issues aren’t “bundled” together in inseparable packages. You vote on one office, and on the record of one politician. Of course, the political class doesn’t like that: They like it when government is involved in so many matters and election campaigns are so muddled that you don’t really have a clear “yes” or “no” vote: So you just re-elect the person whose name you know—the incumbent.
But a recall, like a voter initiative, offers the electorate a much more focused choice. It’s democracy at its finest.
In some other states, the political class (sometimes through the courts) have gelded the recall process by requiring adequate “cause” for a recall. In those states, whether there is “cause” is decided by (guess who?) the politicians or judges. In light of what has happened this year, look for an effort to limit recall in Colorado, too. If they do try to limit recall, just remember: In a republic, lawmakers are the agents of the people, and the only judges of whether an agent has been faithful are those who hired him.
In the case of Evie Hudak, the signs were that a majority of her district believed she had been faithless: Contrary to her oath of office and contrary to her employers’ instructions (as set forth in the state and federal Constitutions), she had attacked our right to keep and bear arms. Because of this, she deserved to be gone, just as much as if she had attacked our right of free speech or our state constitutional right to vote on tax increases.
The Colorado Legislature is considering repealing a very old, unenforced law banning adultery and criminalizing innkeepers for renting rooms to unmarried couples. Looking for a trusted leader of morality and virtue in our community, the sponsor of the bill repealing the law asked me to testify for it.
Let me make very clear that the Independence Institute doesn’t wade into social issues and has no official stance on the bill. So allow me to speak solely for myself on this issue.
There are busloads of married women who wish to sleep with me but are prevented from doing so solely by this outdated law. Binders full of them. And no, this is not just bravado speaking. In some of their applications for restraining orders against me they have mentioned this law specifically.
Oh yes, there is a limited government argument here as well. Having laws on the books that are not enforced leaves them open to abuse, to be used for selective harassment. The law, and its enforcement, should apply to all, not just to a few. Inn-keepers shouldn’t have to worry that if they become crosswise with some government official, an obscure law can make them a criminal. And while this legislature is now passing similar harassment laws to be selectively used against gun owners, the least they can do is repeal some old ones.
But that’s not why I support its repeal.
Here is a partial list of the married women I plan to make time with should this bill pass:
The young Sophia Loren
The old Sophia Loren
That chick in the bikini from the “Tab” commercial when I was a kid
Blondie Bumstead (what’s she doing with Dagwood I’ll never understand)
Aunt Bea, but I’ve been in therapy for that.
The latest episode of Devil’s Advocate. State Senator Pat Steadman and Rep. Mark Ferrandino, sponsors of civil unions legislation, discuss the policy and politics behind the bill with Jon Caldara ahead of Colorado’s special session.
Our resident Constitutional Law and Second Amendment expert Dave Kopel weighed in on the hot issue of personal liberty vs. national security in this issue of La Voz (Colorado’s #1 Hispanic publication). With the passing of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 just days ago, the Patriot Act has taken center stage once again. Take a look at what Dave thinks about the national security measures we’ve taken in the last 10 years.
Our friends at the libertarian litigation firm the Institute for Justice (IJ) are trying to fight the insane world of civil asset forfeiture laws. Where the police can take your property without arrest, without prosecution, and without much of a reason. Where you must prove that you are innocent while fighting the presumption of guilt. Talk about turning the justice system on its head! Take a look at how ridiculous this crazy world is in this new IJ video:
In their massive Policing for Profit report, IJ graded each state’s asset forfeiture laws, and how they protect citizen’s property. Unfortunately, only 3 states in the entire country received a grade of “B” or better, with Colorado getting a hard-earned “C.” Our Justice Policy Initiative Director Mike Krause wrote briefly about the report and Colorado’s asset forfeiture laws in this article.
Freedom is not Enough: The Moynihan Report and America’s Struggle over Black Family Life–from LBJ to Obama
I interviewed Brown University history professor James T. Patterson about his book examining the tragic rise of illegitimacy rates, and the American political elite’s refusal to address the problem for decades. MP3, 50 minutes. During the course of our discussion, I mentioned my own writing about successful early intervention programs for at-risk children; that writing is contained in this Barry Law Review article, text at notes 214–28. (A much more detailed analysis is contained in my book Guns: Who Should Have Them?).
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