The Abortion Decision and Civic Literacy

I had the purely coincidental experience of teaching today both Roe and Casey in my Constitutional Experience course required of all Baylor students, so there are 250 of them in my class. That in combination with my browsing of Twitter (I’m on it too much now) convinces me that this decision illustrates well that we have a profound civic literacy problem. Many on Twitter and many in my class (apparently I haven’t taught them well) seemed to think that the decision would mean the immediate stoppage of all abortions nationwide. Some on Twitter worried that this decision would have an … Continue reading The Abortion Decision and Civic Literacy

The District Court’s Nationwide Injunction Against Mask Mandates

In a far reaching decision, a District Court in Florida ruled today that President Biden did not have the statutory authority to issue his mask mandate for all travelers nationwide. In doing so, the Court claimed that its ruling had to include an immediate injunction against the nationwide enforcement of the mandate. In other words, its ruling does not just apply to the specific case arising between these plaintiffs who object to the mandate and the government that seeks to enforce it. As the reasoning in the case itself shows, it would have been conceivable for the District Court to … Continue reading The District Court’s Nationwide Injunction Against Mask Mandates

“Sleepy Joe” and the Need for Executive Energy

Benjamin A. Kleinerman is the R.W. Morrison Professor of Political Science at Baylor University. He is the Editor of The Constitutionalist.  “Energy in the executive is the leading character in the definition of good government.”—Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #70 It is not partisan … Continue reading “Sleepy Joe” and the Need for Executive Energy

Partisanship, the Big Lie, and January 6th

Jeff claims that Jeff Isaac’s essay rebuts my arguments regarding Biden’s speech. It seems to me that his essay actually illustrates, rather than rebuts, my claims. Both Jeffs seem to appreciate and admire the speech. Jeff Isaac calls it “terrific” in that it “renew[ed] the fight to defend democracy.” As I said in my previous post, I too want to defend democracy. The question is, however, how we go about doing that. Isaac wants to fight for the Constitution, but, for him, continuing that fight apparently means fighting the entire Republican party. He writes: “The most important of aspect of … Continue reading Partisanship, the Big Lie, and January 6th

The Partisanship of Biden’s January 6th Speech

George: I agree with almost everything you say here about what Biden should have done with yesterday’s speech. I just don’t agree that Biden’s speech accomplished that. The attempt to build a coalition of constitutional patriots must include the acceptance of party differences. Biden’s speech was more aggressively partisan that that. He was not merely a constitutional partisan; he became a partisan of the Democratic party. He equated Republican politics now regarding, for instance, the federalization of elections with January 6th. I think there are reasons to oppose the federalization of elections that have nothing to do with January 6th. … Continue reading The Partisanship of Biden’s January 6th Speech

The Reasons for Political Exhaustion

George might be right that I missed the point of Sykes’s essay, but it seems that he missed the point of my post. It’s all-too-easy to blame all of our political exhaustion on Trump and the Republicans. But, as I also suggested in my other post today, I don’t see how that gets us anywhere. The answer to all of our political problems can’t just be: the Republicans did it. There is a crisis of confidence in our democracy that can’t be solved merely by changing the party in power and re-litigating January 6 so that we can remind ourselves … Continue reading The Reasons for Political Exhaustion

The Missed Opportunity in the President’s Speech

Until the last ten minutes or so, I thought Biden’s speech was mostly a missed opportunity. Perhaps not from the perspective of partisanship, but from the perspective of what he claims to be one of the President’s function: to unify the country. For the last ten minutes, he reflected on the meaning of January 6, 2021 and discussed ways to overcome it; those last ten minutes should have extended across what would have been a shorter but more effective speech. The difficulty is, however, that those reflections came only after a speech that would have made much more sense on … Continue reading The Missed Opportunity in the President’s Speech

Why are we so politically exhausted?

My Constitutionalist colleague Jeff Tulis posted a link to Charlie Sykes’s essay, “Thoughts on our Political Exhaustion.” Tulis commends the article and seems to suggest that we ought overcome our exhaustion by understanding it and hope again for the future: “Out of better understanding may come hope, and out of hope may come action.” While respecting Tulis’s call for us to return to politics with renewed vigor, I’d take the opposite lesson from Sykes’s essay. We’re exhausted from politics because there’s been so much of it all the time. And so much of it occurs at a level over which … Continue reading Why are we so politically exhausted?

BBB and a d(D)emocratic mandate

In the wake of Joe Manchin’s refusal to support the Build Back Better Bill, there has been lots of recriminations of our constitutional system. For instance, this tweet calls for structural change because Manchin was able successfully to oppose the rest of his party. “Healthy democracy” is said to require that the 50 Democratic Senators in an evenly divided Senate completely get their way. After all, Manchin is joined in opposition by 50 Republicans. Might we not ask the opposite question: what type of constitutional democracy is it when 50 Democrats can win on everything despite the opposition of exactly … Continue reading BBB and a d(D)emocratic mandate