Archive for the 'Tenth Amendment' Category

Bennett-Burr “Bipartisanship” = Yet Another Federal Power Grab

Posted by on Jan 01 2014 | congress, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Economics, federalism, Growth of Government, Health Care, Natelson Rob', obamacare, Op-eds, Rob Natelson, supreme court, Tenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

When politicians start talking about “bi-partisan cooperation,” smart citizens get nervous. It usually means another transfer of freedom and taxes to the federal government at the expense of individuals, families, localities, and states.

Case in point: a Denver Post op-ed by two U.S. Senators (or their staffs) on their latest “bipartisan” deal. The Senators are Michael Bennett (D.-Colo.) and Richard Burr (R.-N.C.). The op-ed is pure political blather, a haze of almost incomprehensible feel-good rhetoric. But the upshot is this: The two distinguished solons are very proud of themselves for managing yet another transfer of authority from the states to the federal government.

You can read the op-ed here. As you can see, it is filled with mind-deadening phrases refined by pollsters and focus group research: “we have worked with,” “bipartisan,” “ensure the safety,” “stakeholders,” “pragmatism and hard work,” etc., etc.

As for the law itself, it has the kind of title we have come to expect from Congress in recent years: The Drug Quality and Security Act. (Doesn’t that title make you feel good?) Of course, many of these labels have about as much correspondence to the real world as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

The text of the measure is almost impossible for anyone without legal training to understand. (You can see for yourself here.) Essentially, however, it transfers to the federal government areas of drug compounding and distribution traditionally controlled by the states. It imposes new obligations, licenses, and/or paperwork on manufacturers, repackagers, wholesalers, and your local pharmacy. It takes major steps toward federal control of our state pharmacy boards, and restricts state regulatory choices in the areas it covers.

The bill is also about revenue: It authorizes the federal government to collect various new “fees.” (I put the word in quotation marks because those “fees” are really taxes.)

Like the op-ed, the text of the law is filled with mind-numbing, and sometimes deceptive, language. Consider this provision:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt State requirements related to the distribution of prescription drugs if such requirements are not related to product tracing as described in subsection (a) or wholesale distributor and third-party logistics provider licensure as described in subsection (b) applicable under section 503(e) (as amended by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act) or this subchapter (or regulations issued thereunder).

At first, you might think the bill leaves state regulations in effect. But look closer: The provision really is about where federal law does preempt: “requirements . . . related to product tracing . . .. [and] wholesale distributor and third-party logistics provider licensure.” Another passage makes it clear that much state flexibility is gone:

Beginning on the date of enactment of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, no State or political subdivision of a State may establish or continue any standards, requirements, or regulations with respect to wholesale prescription drug distributor or third-party logistics provider licensure that are inconsistent with, less stringent than, directly related to, or covered by the standards and requirements applicable under section 503(e).

The measure does not set forth its constitutional justification. In other words, it does not cite any of Congress’s enumerated powers as the basis for the authority it claims. Occasional mentions of “commerce” suggest that it relies on the Constitution’s much-abused grant of power to “regulate Commerce . . . among the several States.” In fact, however, the bill sweeps deeply into in-state commerce and into activities that really are not “commerce” at all.

The op-ed touts the bill’s “strong [meaning "intrusive"], uniform” [meaning "centralized"] standards. But the Constitution limited congressional powers precisely to protect us from too many centralized standards. The federalism created by our Constitution is about local control, responsiveness to local preferences, better government, diversity, and the ability of each state to learn from the experience of others. Moreover, as the Supreme Court has pointed out repeatedly, federalism is also about fracturing power to preserve freedom.

Our Founders and generations of Americans have concluded that human freedom and the other benefits of federalism are worth the occasional inconvenience arising from lack of uniformity. This should be particularly true today, when technology has reduced both the benefits of uniformity and the costs of diversity.

“The Drug Quality and Security Act,” however, appears to have been the product of one of those classic deals among politicians and lobbyists. The two Senators assure us that all the “stakeholders” (i.e., groups with lobbyists) were consulted.

But were you?

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How a Conspiracy Cracked a Monopoly

Posted by on Dec 01 2013 | Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, federalism, Health Care, health control law, Individual Mandate, Internet, Law schools, Legal professor, Natelson Rob', obamacare, Popular Constitutionalism, Rob Natelson, Spending Clause, supreme court, Taxing and Spending Clause, Tenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Anyone interested in the constitutional debate over the “Affordable Care Act” should pick up a copy of the new book, A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case.

This “conspiracy” was not a political plot or an illegal combination. Rather, it is one of the nation’s two top constitutional law websites—a blog called the Volokh Conspiracy, founded by UCLA law professor Gene Volokh.

The book is about more than constitutional arguments over Obamacare. It is also about the cracking of a monopoly (or more precisely an oligopoly): the grip on constitutional discourse by a relatively small, and overwhelmingly liberal, cohort of professors who teach at certain elite law schools. These schools include the University of Michigan, Columbia, the University of Chicago—and most notably Harvard and Yale.

Faculty at elite law schools tend to dominate constitutional discourse for a number of reasons. Their prestige attracts a disproportionate amount of legal talent—bright students who later take influential positions as judges, advocates, and policymakers. (Disclosure: I was admitted to several of these institutions, but nevertheless elected to attend Cornell Law School, which is considered very good but not in the “top ten.”) The mainstream media seeks out these professors, largely to the exclusion of other legal experts.

The elite professors also dominate, indirectly, the highly influential law journals published by their own law schools. These journals are edited by law students, who lack the knowledge necessary to measure the quality of a submitted article. Hence, in deciding whether to publish a submission they often rely on the attitudes of their own faculty and/or where the article’s author teaches or attended law school. My own publication career offers two (negative) illustrations of the monopoly’s methods: (1) As a student I resigned from from my own law review in disgust because the editorial board, in imitation of the elite journals, was running the review with a leftist agenda, and (2) as a law professor, I saw all my earlier constitutional articles—including those that ultimately proved most influential—uniformly rejected by the Harvard-Yale axis.

When the Obamacare law was first challenged in court, the Harvard-Yale axis pronounced it “obviously” constitutional. The six authors of this book dared to disagree, and most of the book consists of their postings. In addition to the Independence Institute’s own Dave Kopel, the authors include five full-time law professors, none of whom work at Harvard or Yale. They are Randy Barnett of Georgetown, Jonathan Adler of Case Western, David Bernstein and Ilya Somin of George Mason, and Orin Kerr of George Washington University. All lean libertarian except Kerr; his dissents add spice to the discussion.

Of course, these authors ultimately were vindicated. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual insurance mandate as a “tax” was a 5-4 squeaker. The Court also held that the mandate was outside the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause, and that the Obamacare Medicaid expansion was partly unconstitutional. As you make your way through the book, you can see how the winning arguments evolved. My favorite was the realization that the Supreme Court’s “substantial effects” test is a (mis-) application not of the Commerce Clause but of the Necessary and Proper Clause.

At the end of the volume is a section called “Postscript and Concluding Thoughts.” It encompasses six original essays in which the authors discuss the Obamacare case and its outcome. Probably the longest of these is Dave Kopel’s. I personally found it most interesting because it provides historical context and tells the story of the Independence Institute’s participation in the case.

A Conspiracy Against Obamacare is published by Palgrave MacMillan and edited by the Cato Institute’s Trever Burrus. Paul Clement, the former U.S. Solicitor General who argued the case against Obamacare in the Supreme Court, has written an engaging Foreward.

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Reasons to Get High… No Really

Posted by on Nov 21 2012 | Drug Policy, Economics, Polls, Popular Constitutionalism, Popular Culture, PPC, Public Opinion, Regulation, Tenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

There are some good reasons to get high on pot.

The Independence Institute held no position on Amendment 64, legalizing recreational marijuana. And I know not everyone is thrilled about Colorado becoming the Amsterdam of America. But like it or not, it is in our state constitution.

So let me throw out this idea – even if you hate pot being legal, there are some great victories for limited government hidden inside this issue.

First, we finally have a state-rights issue that the Left can, must and will understand and fight to preserve.

Marijuana is still very illegal by federal law, but now it’s protected by our state constitution. I am no legal expert on the U.S. Constitution, but I don’t see anything in it that gives the Feds power over Colorado on this one. But what the hell do I know? I didn’t see anything in it that could let the Feds tax us for not buying health insurance.

Pardon me for stealing this phrase, but, this is a great teachable moment. This is a massive opportunity for those of us who fear the growing central authority in D.C. Some portion of the Left will now agree with us. We need to embrace this challenge and take a lead in educating Coloradans about the Tenth Amendment before the Left tries to pervert it somehow.

In order for those who support pot to keep in legal in Colorado, they MUST embrace the Founders’ ideal of Federalism. And I believe we need to help them understand the power of this simple ideal, and why it applies to a whole lot more than weed.

But if you hate Amendment 64 and wish it smothered out of existence, the only way that can happen now is if you embrace what the Left embraces: federal power trumping the expressed wishes of a sovereign state. Perhaps, like health insurance, the Feds can tax us for not purchasing dope, but they’ll have to pervert the Constitution (again) to override the vote in Colorado.

Here’s the second little prize in Amendment 64. Legalized pot MIGHT force some on the Left to face their hypocrisies, like their confusion on property rights and freedom of association.

In Colorado, it is illegal for an owner of a private establishment to allow tobacco smoking in their bar or restaurant. No one here is free to enjoy a cigar and a steak, or a cigarette and a cup of coffee, in the same place and time. Smokers cannot freely associate with other smokers, enjoying their legal product, in private establishments. Smokers are treated like lepers. My elitist hometown of Boulder is about ready to make smoking outdoors on the Pearl Street Mall illegal. Now that about 65% of Boulder voted for pot, will pot smokers and their business owners be treated like their tobacco-smoking brethren?

Tobacco is taxed at an exorbitant rate, regulated to the point of making it a controlled substance. State cigarette tax windfalls are spent on childhood reading programs and building sidewalks. Will the state heap wild sin taxes on pot and spend that money in ways that have nothing to do it?

I am looking forward to owners and customers of pot businesses opening their eyes (if they can pry their baked eyes open) to how abusive regulation destroys what they are trying to build.

We have a problem getting our message of limited government outside of our own echo chamber. If you doubt that, I’ll remind you of the last election. Well, here’s an uncomfortable opportunity to try something different.

Let’s channel our best Voltaire: I disagree with your decision to legalize pot, but I’ll defend to the death your state’s right to do it.

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After the election: What now?

Posted by on Nov 09 2012 | Commerce Clause, congress, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Growth of Government, Health Care, health control law, obama, obamacare, Presidency, Tenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Constitution

The November 6 election outcome has many friends of the Constitution dispirited. As so often before, they hoped that by defeating federal candidates contemptuous of constitutional limits and replacing them with others, they could help restore our Constitution.

Obviously, that decades-long strategy has failed—spectacularly.

They also have long hoped that by appointing the right people to the U.S. Supreme Court, they could win case decisions restoring constitutional limits. But after 40 years, that campaign has produced only indifferent results. Actually, worse than indifferent: When, through the 2010 Obamacare law, federal politicians overreached further than they ever had before—by imposing a mandate ordering almost everyone in the country to buy a commercial product—the Court didn’t even hold the much-weakened line. Rather, the Court upheld the mandate.

The fundamental fallacy behind the federally-centered strategy lies in assuming federal politicians and federal judges will somehow restore limits on federal power. That is implausible as an abstract proposition. And practical experience over many decades also shows that strategy to be a failure.

There are several reasons for the failure of the federal election strategy. First, for this approach to work, you have to elect a majority—actually a super-majority (at least 60 in the Senate)—of constitutionalists to Congress. You also have to elect a person of similar views to the presidency. And you have to do this so they are all in office at the same time.

Second, constitutionalists face inherent handicaps running for federal office: Most are by nature non-political, and therefore don’t make good or persistent politicians. Their views prevent them from promising farmers more subsidies, seniors more health care, or students more loans. And those views also discourage campaign contributions.

Third, even when constitutionalists do achieve federal office, a critical proportion of them forget or weaken their commitments amid the enticements of Washington, D.C. and the fleshpots of power.

The Founders foresaw this sort of thing. That’s why they inserted in the Constitution’s Article V language allowing the states to respond to federal abuse by amending the document. At the behest of 2/3 of the states, all convene together to propose constitutional amendments, which 3/4 may ratify.

This provision was designed explicitly to enable the states to bypass federal politicians.

Incredibly, however, the convention method of proposing amendments has never been used. This largely explains why our governmental system is so unbalanced today.

Year after year, well-meaning people have rejected the convention approach in the vain hope that federal elections are the answer. In the light of Tuesday’s results, they need to re-assess. This reassessment is now more urgent than ever, because even more than the Constitution is at stake. So also is our national solvency.

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Please Stand Up for Colorado!

Posted by on May 15 2012 | Drug Policy, federalism, PPC, Tenth Amendment

As an organization married to principles, not politics or politicians, we at the Independence Institute have it easy. We stand unequivocally for the ideals presented in the Declaration of Independence – the document that inspired our name. Part of my job as head of the Institute is to lead the fight for free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. Part of that last principle about limiting government is adhering to the 10th Amendment  – even when inconvenient! What I mean is that even when a state does something stupid like RomneyCare, we should respect that state’s right to conduct a failing experiment for all to see. After all, the federal government has specific, enumerated powers and for everything else, it’s up to the states. Likewise, when states like ours and California legalize pot for medical use, we need to respect the experiment. Now I’m not saying that we can’t criticize a state’s experiment or that states don’t have bad ideas. Lord knows I’ve criticized Romney and his socialized medicine experiment ad nauseam. What it does mean is that we must fight on behalf of the state against federal overreach. We must take a stand for limited and enumerated powers at the federal level. Otherwise, the feds just have a blank check.

We conservatives make the case day in and day out that the feds are constantly overstepping their bounds. One way in which they do that is precisely this case – trampling on states that exercise their 10th amendment rights. In most cases we fight back in unison. But in cases where we don’t like the state law or don’t agree with the policy, many on our side fail to speak up on behalf of the state. Take for instance medical marijuana. Like it or not, our state can and has made medical pot legal. Whether you agree with that or not only makes a difference in your criticism of our STATE law. It should have no bearing on whether you stand up for Colorado against the feds.

Take a look at this: Our Colorado delegation voted recently on whether to continue funding the federal government’s war against the legal medical pot industries in states like ours. A principled defender of the 10th Amendment would vote against funding federal encroachment on state affairs. Unfortunately, our Colorado Republican delegation all voted FOR funding the federal war (Colorado dems voted against). Medical pot advocates have rightly pointed out the Republican hypocrisy regarding their “love” for the 10th Amendment as simply “selective.” I could not agree more. It is selective.

It’s very simple folks: the 10th Amendment applies universally – even for state laws you don’t like. Go ahead and criticize state laws if they are bad. But please stand up for our state when the feds decide that their prerogative reigns supreme over our state law when we have jurisdiction. The states created the federal government, not the other way around.

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Reducing the Drug War’s Damage to Government Budgets

Posted by on May 14 2012 | Constitutional History, Criminal Law, federalism, Proposed Legislation, supreme court, Tenth Amendment, War on Drugs

That’s the title of an article that I have co-authored with the Cato Institute’s Trevor Burrus, in a symposium issue of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. The symposium is “Law in an Age of Austerity,” and includes contributions from Charles Cooper (Treasury Dept.’s authority to index capital gains for inflation), John Eastman (state authority to enforce immigration laws), and others.

The major part of the Article details some recently-enacted criminal law and sentencing reforms in Colorado, which mitigate the fiscal damage of the drug war. The second part of the Article summarizes the fiscal benefits of ending prohibition. Finally, the Article looks at some of the legal history of alcohol prohibition, and suggests that current federal drug prohibition policies are inconsistent with the spirit of the Tenth Amendment, including  state tax powers.

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Independence Institute brief on Medicaid mandate

Posted by on Jan 19 2012 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Health Care, Spending Clause, Tenth Amendment

On behalf of the Independence Institute, Rob Natelson and I wrote an amicus brief on the Medicaid mandate currently before the Supreme Court. (The ACA requirement that states must drastically expand Medicaid eligibility, or lose all their federal matching funds for Medicaid.) Here’s the Summary of Argument:

By imposing the Medicaid mandates in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), Congress exceeded the scope of its enumerated powers. If allowed to stand, those mandates could be the death-knell for the Constitution’s finely calibrated system of federalism. The states truly would be little more than agencies for Congress to “commandeer” at will.

The Founders created and the People ratified a Constitution protecting the States’ role as limited “sovereigns.” As this Court has ruled repeatedly, the states’ sovereign “independence” entitles them to make decisions within their sphere based on their own policy judgments, free of federal coercion. As explained below, this rule and the closely-related principle of federal non-coercion is of particular constitutional importance in financing health and social services.

In sustaining the Medicaid mandates, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overlooked both Founding-Era constitutional principle and modern Supreme Court doctrine. It also overlooked aspects of the Medicaid mandates that particularly aggravate their coercive qualities. Insofar as the ACA authorizes withdrawal of all Medicaid funds from States that choose not to submit to the Medicaid mandates, that statute slashes at the heart of American federalism. It is unconstitutional and void.

Intelligent comments are welcome, although experience suggests that there will also be plenty of comments from twits who have not read the brief, yet proclaim their absolute certainty about supposedly fatal errors in its legal reasoning. Rob’s summary of brief is available on his blog.

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Supreme Court: “Obviously, direct control of medical practice in the states is beyond the power of the federal government.”

Posted by on Dec 01 2011 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Health Care, Taxing and Spending Clause, Tenth Amendment

So said the unanimous Supreme Court in United States v. Linder, 268 U.S. 5 (1925). The opinion was written by McReynolds, and joined by the progressive Justices Brandeis and Holmes, along with the rest of the Court.

At issue was the federal Harrison Anti-Narcotic Law, which taxed opium and coca leaves, and their derivatives. Ostensibly as part of the tax scheme, the Act also required registration of those drugs. A physician lawfully dispensed one tablet of morphine and three tablets of cocaine to a female patient who was an addict. The trial court instructed the jury that Dr. Linder’s actions would be lawful if the drugs were dispensed as painkillers for stomach cancer or an ulcer, but not simply because the patient was an addict. As the Supreme Court observed, the indictment “does not question the doctor’s good faith nor the wisdom or propriety of his action according to medical standards. It does not allege that he dispensed the drugs otherwise than to a patient in the course of his professional practice or for other than medical purposes. The facts disclosed indicate no conscious design to violate the law, no cause to suspect that the recipient intended to sell or otherwise dispose of the drugs, and no real probability that she would not consume them.”

The Court pointed out that “Congress cannot, under the pretext of executing delegated power [here, the Tax Power], pass laws for the accomplishment of objects not intrusted to the federal government. And we accept as established doctrine that any provision of an act of Congress ostensibly enacted under power granted by the Constitution, not naturally and reasonably adapted to the effective exercise of such power, but solely to the achievement of something plainly within power reserved to the states, is invalid and cannot be enforced.” This was supported by a string cite starting with McCulloch v. Maryland.

In the instant case, the power to tax cocaine and morphine carried with it incidental powers to effectuate that tax, and the effectuation of the tax was the sole legitimate use of incidental powers. Incidental powers could not be construed to control a physician’s decision about properly taxed and registered products:

“Obviously, direct control of medical practice in the states is beyond the power of the federal government. Incidental regulation of such practice by Congress through a taxing act cannot extend to matters plainly inappropriate and unnecessary to reasonable enforcement of a revenue measure. The enactment under consideration levies a tax, upheld by this court, upon every person who imports, manufactures, produces, compounds, sells, deals in, dispenses or gives away opium or coca leaves or derivatives therefrom, and may regulate medical practice in the states only so far as reasonably appropriate for or merely incidental to its enforcement. It says nothing of ‘addicts’ and does not undertake to prescribe methods for their medical treatment. They are diseased and proper subjects for such treatment, and we cannot possibly conclude that a physician acted improperly or unwisely or for other than medical purposes solely because he has dispensed to one of them in the ordinary course and in good faith, four small tablets of morphine or cocaine for relief of conditions incident to addiction. What constitutes bona fide medical practice must be determined upon consideration of evidence and attending circumstances. Mere pretense of such practice, of course, cannot legalize forbidden sales, or otherwise nullify valid provisions of the statute, or defeat such regulations as may be fairly appropriate to its enforcement within the proper limitations of a revenue measure.”

Thus, said the Court, Linder was different from previous cases in which the Court had upheld the prosecution of physicians whose prescription of large quantities of drugs was obviously a sham, for no medical purpose, and simply to serve as a conduit for drugs to the general public.

It is not surprising that Linder was relied in several cases finding that Congress had exceeded tax power. U.S. v. Butler (1936); Hopkins Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n v. Cleary (1935); U.S. v. Constantine (1935); Trusler v. Crooks (1926).

Significantly, after 1937, the Court continued to rely on Linder, and in upholding other statutes, to distinguish them from the mis-application of the statute in Linder. “While there has long been recognition of the authority of Congress to obtain incidental social, health or economic advantages from the exercise of constitutional powers, it has been said that such collateral results must be obtained from statutory provisions reasonably adapted to the constitutional objects of the legislation. Linder v. United States.” Cloverleaf Butter v. Patterson (1942).

Linder appears the very first paragraph of a case familiar to many VC readers, United States v. Miller (1939). Citing, inter alia, Linder, the Miller opinion says that the federal tax and tax registration system for certain firearms does not “usurp[] police power reserved to the States.”

In U.S. v. Kahriger (1953), Linder is a “But see” footnote for this sentence: “Unless there are provisions, extraneous to any tax need, courts are without authority to limit the exercise of the taxing power.” I think that’s a misreading of Linder. The Court’s point in Linder was that micro-managing a physician’s decision about when to write a prescription was in fact “extraneous to any tax need.” So Linder and Kahriger are not inconsistent.

In a case decided after Kahriger, the Court upheld a gambling device tax, expressly distinguishing it from Linder, because the gambling tax is “certainly not a mere ruse designed to invade areas of control reserved to the states.” U.S. v. Five Gambling Devices (1953).

The most important case which relies on Linder is Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority (1936) (upholding the TVA). There, the majority opinion by Chief Justice Hughes affirms that “The Congress may not, ‘under the pretext of executing its powers, pass laws for the accomplishment of objects not intrusted to the government.’ Chief Justice Marshall, in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 423; Linder v. United States, 268 U.S. 5, 15, 17.”

Justice Brandeis’s concurrence in Ashwander is, to this day, regarded as the most important guidance for the judicial principles of abstention. Number 7 of the “Ashwander principles” is that a court should attempt to construe a statute so as to avoid a constitutional problem, and for this proposition, Justice Brandeis cited Linder, among other cases.

In short, even if one takes the view that cases upholding certain aspects of the New Deal and the Fair Deal enjoy some sort of supra-precedential status that earlier cases do not, Linder is part of the fabric of those privileged cases.

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Wonk Talk: Judicial Federalism

Posted by on Nov 29 2011 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, federalism, Health Care, iVoices.org, PPC, Tenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Ok, maybe my title is a bit of an overstatement. Granted, podcasts on issues surrounding the law are rarely outside the confines of “wonk,” somehow our resident Constitutional Law scholar Professor Rob Natelson makes constitutional law, legal matters and history consumable even at my level. His latest iVoices.org podcast is on judicial federalism. …Judicial whaaaattt?

Let me explain. Like the Founders themselves, the center-right today is a big fan of federalism – aka states’ rights. The Constitution is a document that outlines enumerated federal powers. Whatever not enumerated is left to the states and people. This way, we have 50 separate locations for testing public policies. 50 “test tubes of innovation” reveal what policies work and what policies fail miserably. (i.e. Romney-care in Massachusetts anyone?) Conservatives rightly point to federalism’s rich history and practical advantages when it comes to things like commerce and regulating economic affairs. However, federalism as it pertains to the law, civil justice, and the courts rarely, if ever, gets discussed. This is where Professor Rob Natelson comes in.

He argues in his blogpost that the Colonists were just as likely to be heard screaming, “leave our law alone” as they were “no taxation without representation!” The idea that the Crown ought not to interfere in Colonial civil justice matters was essential to the early patriots. Indeed, early pamphleteers mentioned among the many grievances against the King the injustice of British interference in strictly American judicial matters. Consequently, these early cries for judicial federalism were woven into our nation’s founding documents.

Today, “conservatives” in Congress are pushing for a federal medical malpractice reform bill – HR5. In other words, they like federalism and states rights – except when it comes to judicial matters. Then they want Washington, DC to impose its will on state law. Of course this is nonsense and Rob explains exactly why in this important paper, The Roots of American Judicial Federalism. As Rob says in the podcast, “what’s Constitutional isn’t always what I like. And what’s unconstitutional isn’t always what I don’t like.”

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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 Amazon.com 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 iVoices.org podcast with one of my minions Justin Longo. You can also go to Rob’s blog – constitution.i2i.org – 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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