The Jan 6th Commission

The January 6th Commission is doing valuable work unpacking the details of the events that led up the attack on the Capitol. And it offers Congress a chance to reassert its authority. Congress was violently attacked while carrying out its constitutional responsibilities. If it does not demand answers, and use its constitutional power to get them, it will seem more feckless than ever. But will this matter politically in the short term? That seems highly unlikely.  As Quinta Jurecic argues in an essay in The Atlantic: “These details, if they bear out, are valuable—but they are details. The main facts of what happened … Continue reading The Jan 6th Commission

More on Merrill on Jaffa

I second Laura’s recommendation of Tom Merrill’s review essay at The Bulwark. And I, too, want to highlight this passage from his review: “There are other parts of Jaffa’s legacy that could be useful to us today as well: his resolute anti-racism; his understanding that alongside the doctrine of human equality in the Declaration of Independence, the United States has persistent traditions of racial subordination, traditions that by no means died in 1865; and his recognition of the continuing need for political agency and choice on the part of statesmen and citizens.” Jaffa, recall, was making these arguments in the late 1950s, when … Continue reading More on Merrill on Jaffa

Liz Cheney’s Courage 

While Senator Josh Hawley is busy complaining that “the traditional masculine virtues — things like courage and independence and assertiveness” are under siege, he might take a break from his posturing and fist raising to watch Liz Cheney’s recent speech in New Hampshire. Speaking of former President Trump’s continued lies about the 2020 election, Cheney insisted, “Political leaders who sit silent in the face of these false and dangerous claims are aiding a former president who is at war with the rule of law and the Constitution.” Cheney could have had Senator Hawley in mind. Watch Cheney’s speech. Then watch Hawley’s. It’s a study in … Continue reading Liz Cheney’s Courage 

Claremont Institute Dissembles 

I agree entirely with Greg Weiner’s post on The Claremont Institute. To follow the Clue analogy, the evidence suggests, contrary to the Claremont Institute’s dissembling statement, that Eastman was doing far more than offering legal advice.  Here’s the memo itself. Maybe it could be read as only offering advice to Vice President Pence on his authority under the 12th Amendment.  But here’s Eastman on Jan 6, where he “demands” that Vice President Pence exercise his constitutional “authority” to pause the counting of the state certified EC votes: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4933578/user-clip-rudy-giuliani-professor-john-eastman Continue reading Claremont Institute Dissembles 

Claremont Institute Dissembles 

I agree entirely with Greg Weiner’s post on The Claremont Institute. To follow the Clue analogy, the evidence suggests, contrary to the Claremont Institute’s dissembling statement, that Eastman was doing far more than offering legal advice.  Here’s the memo itself. Maybe it could be read as only offering advice to Vice President Pence on his authority under the 12th Amendment.  But here’s Eastman on Jan 6, where he “demands” that Vice President Pence exercise his constitutional “authority” to pause the counting of the state certified EC votes: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4933578/user-clip-rudy-giuliani-professor-john-eastman Continue reading Claremont Institute Dissembles 

Election Subversion and the Real Enemies of Democracy

This conversation with Bill Kristol and U Chicago law prof William Baude on the very real possibility of election subversion is worth watching. It gives us good reasons to be alarmed, without being alarmist. As Baude writes in an essay the conversation is based on, ”The real enemies of democracy . . . are those who try to ignore the rules of the game after they have already lost it. This past election, that means the real enemies of democracy were President Donald Trump and those who fought for him.” What are the chances of successfully subverting the election in … Continue reading Election Subversion and the Real Enemies of Democracy

Justice Gorsuch is Right–We should Rethink “New York Times v. Sullivan”

George Thomas is the Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions and Director of the Salvatori Center at Claremont McKenna College. Professor Thomas is a regular contributor to The Constitutionalist. Dissenting from a Supreme Court order that declined to take up a … Continue reading Justice Gorsuch is Right–We should Rethink “New York Times v. Sullivan”

The Eviction Moratorium and Constitutional Distortion

Greg Weiner has a good piece at the NY Times about President Biden’s eviction moratorium and Congress’s reluctance to legislate. Biden was right the first time: Congress should act to extend the moratorium if it thinks it’s necessary. Greg captures how constitutionally distorted the system has become, with members of Congress urging the executive to act in their place. Yes, it seems likely that Congress was not going to extend the moratorium, but that does not create executive power to do so. Why not urge state and local governments to take action? But this has become routine, with Congress regularly deferring to the executive … Continue reading The Eviction Moratorium and Constitutional Distortion