Archive for the 'Constitutional Amendments' Category

Dave Kopel on the Aurora Theater Shooting

Posted by on Jul 25 2012 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, guns, Kopelization, Media, PPC, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

When any tragic event erupts anywhere around the country involving a firearm, our Research Director and Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel is in high demand for commentary. Below you’ll find the synopsis of Dave’s commentary on the Aurora theater shooting thus far. I’ll continue to update this page as more comes out.

Aurora Theater Shooting Coverage:

PBS News Hour.
July 23, 2012. Kopel appears at 4:04, at start of a 10 minute segment.

Colorado Inside-Out.

Patricia Calhoun, Mike Littwin, April Washington, and Kopel discuss the Aurora murders. July 20, 2012. 27 mins.

: more on the murders.

Don’t turn Aurora killer into celebrity
. USA Today.
July 19, 2012.

Kopel and Eugene Volokh quoted in New York Times, on Colorado gun laws.
July 20, 2012.

Brady Campaign staff and Kopel webchat on USA Today. July 19, 2012.

Size of ammunition cache not unusual, say gun experts.
By Joey Bunch. Denver Post. July 22, 2012.

Kopel and Piers Morgan agree: Thursday would have been the better day for a gun control debate. CNN. July 19, 2012. Transcript.

CNN Reliable Sources. Howard Kurtz bemoans “a troubling thing that television does,” namely the rush to “turn such an atrocity into ideological fodder while the victims are still being treated.” As an example, plays Morgan/Kopel interchange, with Morgan insisting a gun control debate must take place on the night of the crime. July 22, 2012. Transcript. Video.

A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths.
By Max Fisher. The Atlantic. July 23, 2012. Discusses Kopel’s
article on Japanese gun control. (Spanish text of the article available here.) The article is an excerpt from a chapter in Kopel’s book The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy: Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? The book was named Book of the Year by the American Society of Criminology, Division of International Criminology.

Public health leaders ‘afraid to say guns’. By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon and Diane Carman. Health Policy Solutions. July 24, 2012.

Tuerie d’Aurora: armes à feu à profusion. By Nicolas Bérubé. La Presse (Montreal). July 23, 2012.

Denver sörjer offren efter skjutningen. Swedish National Radio. July 22, 2012.

USA’s vapenlagar ohotade trots Denver-skytten
. Swedish National Radio. July 22, 2012.

NPR: Talk of the Nation, hosted by Neal Conan. July 25, 2012.

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This First Amendment Defense Fails

Posted by on Feb 14 2012 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, First Amendment, Health Care, health control law, obamacare, PPC, U.S. Constitution

The religious and conservatives among us might not want to hear this, but I think it’s important to point out. Our Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson just wrote on the contraceptives and Catholic Church controversy. Many are making a First Amendment case against the Obamacare mandate forcing the church to provide products and services they find immoral. After all, the First Amendment protects religious freedom. However, Rob disagrees with this particular defense. He writes,

Does the mandate forcing Catholic hospitals to offer abortifacients and contraception violate the First Amendment? The surprising answer is: Probably not.

Read Rob’s constitutional arguments on his blog. You might be surprised to see that not all religious refuge can be taken in the First Amendment. A big thanks goes out to Rob for being true to objective constitutional scholarship – even if it means not giving an answer people want to hear.

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Some Quick Wednesday Hits

Posted by on Feb 08 2012 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Economics, Economy, energy, Environment, obama, PPC, Taxes, The Founders, Transportation

I remarked the other day that Amy Oliver and Michael Sandoval of our Energy Policy Center have been doing some fantastic work lately. Not sure why energy policy doesn’t get as much play as other policy areas but I certainly think energy is sexy. Their latest article scrutinizes the Obama administration’s love affair with China. The relationship is not simply a trade friendly “I give you something, you give me something” type of deal. It has more to do with China’s rare earth minerals and the ability of said minerals to produce “renewable” energy – which Amy and Michael once again prove is anything but green (and often times deadly).

We just released a new Issue Paper that tackles the perennial question: how much are we taxed here in Colorado? Many on the Left presume it’s not enough. When our researcher Anthony Gonzalez really dug into it and looked at the whole picture (state AND local taxation), Colorado it turns out sits right in the middle of the nation at 26th. Take a look at our first Issue Paper of 2012, How Colorado’s Tax Burdens Rank Nationally.

In his latest blog post, our Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson shares his thoughts on the recently signed into law National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Many believe the NDAA codifies the Executive Branch’s ability to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial. What does Rob think? Check it out here.

Keep your eyes on this developing story: Democratic lawmakers are putting RTD’s toes to the fire on building out the Northwest corridor. RTD made a promise many years ago and the folks up in the Longmont area have been paying for a rail system that has yet to be delivered. How long can RTD hold out? How long will the Northwest corridor take it? Time will tell…

Finally, there is a really cool economics fundamentals class being held at our building this Saturday the 11th. I encourage all of you to take a look at the details here. For those still not on Facebook, here is some information:

Are you a liberty activist who loves free markets, capitalism and limited government – but have a difficult time describing its myriad benefits and merits when talking with others?

Then this is the educational training course for you!

Liberty on the Rocks is looking for leaders in the liberty movement (current or future) who are interested in obtaining insights into the basic fundamental principles of free market economics by attending a half-day educational course in Denver. **Tickets to attend are $10**

On Saturday, February 11th from 1:30-6:30pm, Liberty on the Rocks will present an exclusive hands-on, discussion and activity-driven economics session. During this half-day course, attendees will learn and/or better understand:

-The role economics plays in the advancement of liberty

-How to make the case for freedom from an economic and philosophical perspective

-How prices work in a market place

-Different ways of looking at public policy from an economic perspective

-The essential arguments for why socialism can’t work

RSVP today by purchasing tickets at:

Email Amanda Muell for even more info.

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VIDEO: Constitutional Guide to Fighting Federal Overreach

Posted by on Oct 18 2011 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Continuing Legal Education, Events, Kopelization, obamacare, Originalism, PPC, supreme court, The Founders, U.S. Constitution

What an event! I can’t begin to describe to my readers how incredibly epic our Constitutional Law event was last month. Our two resident ConLaw scholars Dave Kopel of the University of Denver Law School and Rob Natelson, formerly of the University of Montana Law School wow’ed the crowd with their presentations. We completely sold out the Antlers Hilton auditorium down in Colorado Springs with hundreds of liberty loving nerds who wanted to learn more about the supreme law of the land – our Constitution. In case you missed it, or wanted to relive it again, we’ve got the entire event posted on YouTube. You can find the playlist here.

I also wanted to post the schedule of the event that you will see on the videos, including the lecture titles from Rob and Dave. Here is what was presented in order:

  • Registration and Greeting
  • Why A Written Constitution? Explaining the Founding and correcting myths – Rob Natelson
  • Key provisions in the Constitution—what they really meant—Rob Natelson
  • What happened? How “progressives” abused the Constitution and undermined limits on Government—Dave Kopel
  • Tools the Founders gave us to protect liberty—Rob Natelson
  • A practical roadmap for taking back America—Dave Kopel
  • Commentary on the “practical roadmap”—Rob Natelson
  • Discussion and questions
  • Below are the 4 videos from the event:

    PART 1:

    PART 2:

    PART 3:

    PART 4:

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    The Original Constitution, 2nd Edition is Available

    Posted by on Sep 27 2011 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Necessary and Proper, Originalism, PPC, Religion and the Law, Taxing and Spending Clause, Tenth Amendment, The Founders, U.S. Constitution

    Constitutional scholar and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence Rob Natelson released a fantastic book last year called The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant. The book was and is a huge hit. What the book did was fill a gap that was left by constitutional scholars who never got around to writing a comprehensive look at our nation’s founding document aimed at the lay person. Sure there are a lot of books out there on particular parts of the Constitution, but none that cover the whole shebang and none of them were written with your average Joe (or Jane) in mind. Rob Natelson stepped up and filled that gap.

    Turns out however that Rob was not satisfied the first time around. He went back and re-worked his first edition and created and even bigger and better second edition to his book. You can find the second edition both on and the Tenth Amendment Center’s store. So how is this second edition different than the already fantastic first edition? Rob explains all that in this podcast with one of my minions Justin Longo. You can also go to Rob’s blog – – to see what Rob has to say about his second edition.

    It’s difficult to improve upon a great thing. But somehow Rob did it with this new book. Thank you for all your hard work Rob. You are doing an incredible job educating us mere mortals on our nation’s founding era history.

    Speaking of education… don’t forget that THIS FRIDAY is our huge Constitution event down in Colorado Springs at the Antlers Hilton. There are a few spots remaining, so please RSVP as soon as you can. Do not miss this opportunity to see constitution scholars Rob Natelson and Dave Kopel in action!

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    Independence Files Amicus Opposing TABOR Lawsuit

    Posted by on Sep 08 2011 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, History, PPC, TABOR

    Governor Hickenlooper and Attorney General John Suthers have teamed up to challenge the lawsuit against our Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR). I’ve discussed earlier why this lawsuit isn’t just about bringing down TABOR. It’s about trying to bring down the whole citizen initiative process. To help the cause, the Independence Institute filed an amicus brief (friend of the court) opposing the lawsuit and encouraging dismissal. Much of the content of the amicus comes from Rob Natelson’s research into what the Founders meant when they used the words “republican form of government.” Rob discusses the brief in a blog post he wrote on Additionally, Rob sat down with one of my minions to record a podcast on the subject. You can find the podcast over on Editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette, Wayne Laugesen, read our amicus brief and described it as masterful. Thanks Wayne!

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    What To Do When Congress Won’t Rein In Itself

    Posted by on Aug 10 2011 | congress, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Government Largess,, PPC, U.S. Constitution

    I’ve talked a number of times about how we can tackle our federal government’s spending problem. Each time the subject gets brought up, I must make mention of the Constitution’s solution to the problem. Our Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson puts it like this: the Founders envisioned a time when the problem would be Congress itself. So what to do when Congress is out of control and won’t rein in itself? Well then it’s up to the states to take control.

    The next logical question is: how do the states take control? Answer: A convention for proposing amendments! The states must come together and address the issue of runaway spending by our runaway Congress. Rob has been talking about this solution for quite some time, but after a couple years of incredibly in-depth scholarship, he’s written his masterpiece for Tennessee Law Review: Proposing Constitutional Amendments By Convention: Rules Governing The Process.

    Rob’s article contains the most in-depth look at our Founding era’s historical record on Article V conventions ever put down on paper. I suggest giving it a read if you’d like to become educated on this topic so riddled with fallacies and misconceptions. Additionally, check out this podcast Rob did this morning with my minion. It’s probably the best overview of the subject you could get in around 20 minutes time.

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    TABOR Still Doesn’t Violate the Constitution

    Posted by on Jul 27 2011 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Petition Rights, PPC, TABOR, U.S. Constitution

    The Legislative Council’s executive committee, consisting of 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans, took a vote the other day on whether to oppose the TABOR lawsuit. You might recall that our Taxpayers Bill of Rights is going to court soon to determine whether it violates the Constitution’s guarantee of a “republican form of government.” As with anything TABOR related, the vote came down 3-3 along party lines. You might be thinking, “so what?” This vote was purely symbolic. It doesn’t mean anything. And you would be right, this vote doesn’t change anything. It is also true that this lawsuit against TABOR is purely symbolic. As I’ve stated before, this lawsuit isn’t about TABOR. It’s about our right to petition our government. What this lawsuit argues is that citizens do not have a right to petition their government and vote on constitutional amendments. Thus, it endangers all of our citizen enacted amendments to our state constitution – not just TABOR. Our resident constitutional scholar Rob Natelson disagrees. He argued in this Colorado Springs Gazette op-ed that the evidence is solidly on the side of petition rights and of TABOR. The Founders would have had no beef with citizens voting on constitutional amendments. In fact, they were quite fond of it in their day. So while this latest effort to undermine TABOR might result is some more public trashing of its good name, it won’t result in anything substantial.

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    Time Magazine: Meet Professor Rob Natelson

    Posted by on Jun 27 2011 | Commerce Clause, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Economic LIberties, health control law, obama, obamacare, PPC, U.S. Constitution

    The fiery debates over our national debt, ever expanding undeclared wars, and Obamacare have resurrected a new found interest in Constitutional matters. This is great for us because we happen to have one of the leading scholars on the Constitution in our Independence Institute offices, Senior Fellow in Constitution Studies Rob Natelson. He writes a great blog for us over at and does weekly podcasts with a minion of mine over at

    I’d like to point out his blog post for this week that completely eviscerates the cover article on our Constitution by Richard Stengel in Time Magazine. In it, Rob deconstructs some points Mr. Stengel was trying to make in regards to the meaning of our Constitution. As an expert on the meaning of the Constitution, Rob was able to point out the many flaws in Mr. Stengel’s points. The Time Mag article is instructive as I believe it reflects many people’s thinking about our founding document. As such, Rob wrote an entire book exploding many of the common myths that Mr. Stengel repeats tirelessly in the article. To keep yourself from making many of these popular mistakes, keep following Rob’s work on

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    Fight Federal Overreach With Us!

    Posted by on May 05 2011 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Events, federalism, Originalism, PPC, The Founders, U.S. Constitution

    If you’ve ever dreamed of being in the same room as not one, but TWO real life geniuses, then you’ll want to attend our program for the grassroots on Sunday, May 15th, from 1:15 to 5pm at the Red Rocks Community College. Both constitutional law professor Rob Natelson and our Second Amendment expert and constitutional law professor Dave Kopel will be educating the class on how to use our constitution to fight federal overreach. By the time the program is over, you will know the constitutional information you need to restore liberty and constitutional government in America! And maybe have a higher IQ through osmosis.

    The program discusses:
    * Why the Constitution was adopted and what purpose it serves
    * Untruths spread about the Founders and the Founding spread by those who seek to discredit it
    * How the Constitution was to be interpreted.
    * What key provisions in the Constitution really meant.
    * How politicians and courts have destroyed limits on federal power and driven America toward bankruptcy
    * How you can use the tools provided by the Constitution to restore the Founders’ vision
    * And much more!

    Please go to our event page here for more detailed information including the class schedule. Space is extremely limited so please RSVP now!

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