Archive for the 'U.S. Constitution' Category

Introducing… Independence Institute Television (IITV)

Posted by on Aug 18 2014 | U.S. Constitution, Video

You may or may not have known that the Independence Institute has had a podcast for years called Independent Voices (iVoices for short). Over the past 6 or so years we have amassed almost 700 podcasts ranging from transportation to education to gun rights to women’s issues. You can visit our iVoices webpage here for a full archive.

However it is now 2014 and if you hadn’t noticed yet, videos on the Internet are kind of a big deal. (Just peruse your Facebook feed for 5 seconds and you’ll come across 10 cat videos and 3 guys hitting themselves in the junk with a Wiffle ball bat).

In order to get with the times, we built a video cast studio in our building and will start doing video casts rather than podcasts – meaning you’ll be forced to both hear AND see us. That’s great news when one of our ladies is in the studio. That’s bad news when it’s yours truly in high definition.

We figured we’d announce the launching of IITV with none other than our leading constitutional scholar Rob Natelson. In this first edition of IITV, Rob introduces himself, his work, and discusses his approach to researching the Founding era.

Please check back to our YouTube channel to catch the latest from the Independence Institute… in full high definition video!

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VIDEO: Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily

Posted by on Apr 23 2014 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Events, U.S. Constitution

The Institute for Justice (IJ) fights for the little guy. IJ has a great track record of standing up to government when they refuse the right to earn a living here in the land of opportunity. Clark Neily is a senior attorney for IJ and has been on the front lines fighting for basic economic freedoms that Americans are promised in our constitution. As a result, he’s seen how our courts have failed in protecting our freedoms. In this speech given at the Independence Institute offices on April 16th, Clark discusses his new book, Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government.

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Institute for Justice Event This Wednesday

Posted by on Apr 14 2014 | Events, U.S. Constitution

It isn’t easy being illiterate. My dyslexia makes everything more interesting, just like those dyslexic atheists. They don’t believe in dogs.

Anyway, when my staff emailed me all excited about getting the author of Terms of Engagement to speak here, I said “okay, do it.” You see, I thought they said the author of Terms of Endearment. Seemed like a chick flick to me, but Jack Nicholson was way cool in it so, you know, whatever.

Apparently Terms of Engagement is a book. Who knew?

Clark Neily is a senior attorney for one of the greatest outfits around – the Institute for Justice. He litigates economic liberty, property rights, school choice, First Amendment, and other constitutional cases in both federal and state courts.

Thee new book, which doesn’t even have a forward by Jack Nicholson, argues that judges need to take a lot of the blame for the hard turn to the left our nation has taken. And he offers a solution.

Well, come hear him speak at the Independence Institute offices (727 E. 16th Ave. Denver, CO 80203) this Wednesday, April 16th. Event starts at 5:30p with light refreshments. Did I mention the event is FREE? All you’ve got to do is RSVP either online here or over the phone at 303-279-6536.

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UPDATED! Article V Symposium featuring Rob Natelson

Posted by on Apr 09 2014 | Article V, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, U.S. Constitution, Video

The other day I posted 4 of the 7 videos of the Article V Symposium that Rob Natelson moderated/MC’d. Below you’ll find the 3 missing videos for the whole collection!

Here are Rob’s opening remarks (8 minutes)

Author Bob Berry outlines several amendment ideas (20 minutes)

Michael Farris’ remarks (17 minutes)

Here’s the roundtable discussion (48 minutes)

Senator Kevin Lundberg and Representative Lori Saine’s resolution (13 minutes)

Questions and Answers (33 minutes)

Here’s Mark Meckler’s closing comments (11 minutes)

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Article V Symposium featuring Constitutional Scholar Rob Natelson

Posted by on Apr 07 2014 | Article V, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, U.S. Constitution

Our senior fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence Rob Natelson was asked to be the moderator for this Article V “Convention for Proposing Amendments” symposium. Below you’ll find Rob’s remarks and the rest of the symposium for your viewing pleasure.

Here are Rob’s opening remarks (8 minutes)

Author Bob Berry outlines several amendment ideas (20 minutes)

Here’s the roundtable discussion (48 minutes)

Here’s Mark Meckler’s closing comments (11 minutes)

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Obamacare decision throws constitutional shadow on federal tort reform

Posted by on Oct 18 2013 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Corporate Welfare, defunding Obamacare, federalism, House Republicans, Natelson Rob', obamacare, Originalism, Rob Natelson, U.S. Constitution

Just to show you that hypocrisy is alive and well in Washington, D.C. (as if you didn’t know), Title V of the Republican bill to “repeal and replace Obamacare” contains some of the same constitutional problems that led 27 states to challenge Obamacare. Under Title V, Congress would partially assume command of state court procedures—including how they conduct jury trials and what evidence is introduced.

Not surprisingly, the bill’s purported “justification” is the much-abused Commerce Power. However, it likely runs afoul of those parts of Chief Justice Roberts’ decision in which he held that (1) Congress could not invade certain core state powers and (2) although the individual insurance mandate was valid as a tax, it exceeded the Commerce Power.

This week I wrote an essay on the bill’s constitutional problems, which I’ve reproduced below, and in PDF form here.

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VIDEO: Poetry and Constitutionalism

Posted by on Aug 06 2013 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Idiot Box (TV Show), U.S. Constitution

To showcase just how diverse my TV show Devils Advocate is, this past Friday I had resident constitutional scholar Rob Natelson on and acclaimed performance poet Shawn Welcome on for 15 minutes each. Below you’ll find the shows:

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Morgan and Douglas County: Our Gun Show is Coming to You!

Posted by on Jul 16 2013 | Events, Gun shows, guns, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

We’ve been all over this beautiful state on our Colorado and the Second Amendment road show featuring lead attorney and Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel and various sheriffs. However, there are two more locations we’re headed to this week: Morgan and Douglas Counties.

We will be in Morgan County TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 17th. For more details and to RSVP ($5), go here. Check out the event flyer here.

We will be in Douglas County this Thursday, July 18th. For more details and to RSVP ($5), go here. Check out the event flyer here.

So far we’ve sold out every place we’ve been, so don’t wait to RSVP online!

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Update on Colorado Gun Lawsuit Successes

Posted by on Jul 12 2013 | guns, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

I wanted to give you an update on how our lawsuit against the new anti-gun bills is going. We are pleased to announce that we’ve had a couple major victories on two of worst aspects of the bills: “continuous possession” and “readily convertible.” See the video below to hear some more details. To keep up with the technical details of the case, visit ColoradoGunCase.org.

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First Major Success in Lawsuit Challenging New Gun Control Laws

Posted by on Jul 10 2013 | guns, Kopelization, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Today the Independence Institute’s federal civil rights lawsuit achieved its first major success, eliminating the problems that were caused by two vague phrases in House Bill 1224, the magazine ban.

The Independence Institute’s David Kopel is representing 55 elected Sheriffs and one retired police officer in lawsuit against the new anti-gun laws signed by Governor Hickenlooper last March.

Tuesday night, on the eve of a federal court hearing, the plaintiffs and the Colorado Attorney General agreed on proposal to fix two problems the magazine ban.

First, the magazine ban applies to magazines which are “designed to be readily converted” to hold more than 15 rounds. This could outlaw some or all magazines which have removable base plates; if a base plate is removed, an extender can be attached to a magazine that will increase the magazine’s capacity.

The Attorney General agreed to issue new guidance to state law enforcement that will remedy this problem. The new language says that magazines with removable base plates are only illegal if they have actually been altered so that they do hold more than 15 rounds. “Unless so altered, they are not prohibited.”

The second problem, which has also been fixed, was that House Bill 1224 required the grandfathered owners of magazines to maintain “continuous possession.” This outlawed many innocent and constitutionally protected activities, such as leaving magazine for a gunsmith for two weeks while it is repaired, or loaning a magazine to a family member.

The Attorney General agreed to fix this problem by issuing additional guidance to law enforcement, stating that: “‘Continuous possession’ is only lost by a voluntary relinquishment of dominion and control.” “Dominion” is a legal term for the highest level of ownership rights. So if you loan your magazine to your daughter for a week, and she does not have the right to sell the magazine, then you still have “dominion.”

The practical result of the new language is that owners of grandfathered magazines can now engage in all lawful activities with those magazines, including loaning them to friends and family. The grandfathered owners simply may not sell the magazines, or give away ownership.

For the Sheriffs, this means that they can now return a stolen magazine to its rightful owner.

The successful resolution of these issues was achieved by voluntary agreement with the Attorney General. However, that agreement never would have happened without the pressure of the preliminary injunction motion which we filed on June 10, as well as our subsequent filings and briefs.

Because the Attorney General did, ultimately, voluntarily agree to put these changes into Technical Guidance which is binding on the executive branch of the state government, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger decided that it would be unnecessary for her to issue an injunction.

With these two issues now resolved, we are beginning preparation for a full trial on the merits. The trial will be our challenge to the entirety of the unconstitutional anti-gun laws:

  • House Bill 1224 bans the sale of magazines holding more than 15 rounds. We will argue and present evidence that this violates the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller. The Heller decision forbids bans on arms which are “Typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” We will show magazines of up to 20 rounds for handguns, and up to 30 rounds for rifles, are standard for many popular firearms, and thus protected under Heller.
  • House Bill 1229 imposes paperwork, fee, and background check requirements on many ordinary uses of guns–such as loaning a gun to a friend for a week when he goes on a hunting trip. We will argue and present evidence that it is unconstitutional to treat temporary firearms loans as if they were firearms sales made by a gun store.

Today’s success shows that our legal strategy is working. We have removed the problems of two badly misdrafted provisions in the magazine ban. If we have the proper resources to take the rest of the case to a full trial on the merits, we are hopeful that we can liberate Colorado entirely from House Bills 1224 and 1229, which are unconstitutional and harmful to public safety.


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This is just the first victory in a looooong fight. We need your help. Please donate to help us fight this battle HERE. Thank you all so much.

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