Posts Tagged ‘James Madison’
March 15th, 2013 at 6:25 pm
James Madison

A day (or a quarter of a day) early, Happy Birthday (262nd) to the “Father of the Constitution.” He’s my favorite American, ever. All of us are in his debt.

That is all.

June 6th, 2012 at 2:36 pm
Europe: In For a Penny, In For a Pound
Posted by Print

Pity our poor friends in Europe. They just can’t seem to stomach the lesson that the faltering state of the continental monetary union has made all but impossible to ignore. Rather than making a clean break from the common currency, it now appears that the smart set wants to double down. This item, appearing earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal, is nothing short of chilling in its implications:

Germany is sending strong signals that it would eventually be willing to lift its objections to ideas such as common euro-zone bonds or mutual support for European banks if other European governments were to agree to transfer further powers to Europe.

If embraced, the move would deepen in fundamental ways Europe’s political and fiscal union and represent one of the boldest steps taken by the bloc since the euro was launched. Germany has never before been willing to discuss the conditions it believes necessary to move toward assuming common risks within the euro zone. Now, although the end may be a long way off, it appears willing to discuss those conditions.

“The more that other member states get involved with this development and are prepared to give up sovereign rights to get European institutions more involved, the more we will be prepared to play an active role in developing things like a banking union,” a German official familiar with the discussions told The Wall Street Journal. “You can’t have one without the other.”

Translation: the Europeans are seriously considering throwing the car in reverse and seeing just how far they can push the speedometer. It’s true that an economic union without a matching political consolidation was always doomed to fail (the practical effect has been Southern Europe living off the North), but the move towards a true United States of Europe brings to mind James Madison’s observation from Federalist #10 about destroying liberty in order to cure the problem of political faction: the cure is worse than the disease.

A continent-wide government will destroy all pretense of national sovereignty throughout Europe, leaving the bureaucrats of Brussels to steer a bold new course that will vanquish the national character of some of the world’s proudest nations, perpetuate a failing economic model, and cede previously democratic powers to unelected technocrats.

Let us pray that Europe doesn’t go down this road. If it does, the burden of Western leadership will fall even more disproportionately on American shoulders than it does already.

August 15th, 2011 at 2:23 pm
Mother Jones Thinks Rick Perry Too Radical for Tea Party

It’s always nice when liberals deign to give advice to conservatives on whom should be admitted to the next Tea Party rally.  Commenting on excerpted parts of Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry’s book Fed Up!, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones thinks Rick Perry is wrong to think that it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to regulate banks, consumer financial choices, the environment, guns, civil rights, a minimum wage, and create programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

At least Drum acknowledges that Perry makes certain exceptions for federal regulations on racial discrimination since that fulfills “the intent behind the passage of the Reconstruction Era amendments.”

What makes liberals like Drum gasp is the fact that Perry thinks that, as James Madison argued in Federalist 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

But if a secondary source won’t cut it for Drum, here’s the text of the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

If they cared to, Drum and other liberals would look in vain to find an enumerated grant of power to the federal government to regulate the items on the list above.  That’s why they rely on activist judges to read into the Constitution federal powers that do not exist.

The Tea Party – like Perry, Michele Bachmann, and other constitutional conservatives – know their Constitution and the meaning behind it.  If liberals like Drum are aghast, it’s only because a grassroots movement is forming to challenge nearly 80 years of unconstitutional jurisprudence.

October 5th, 2010 at 12:15 pm
10th Amendment Fans Using Numerology to Promote Nullification Stance

First, a disclosure: I am very partial to interesting (and inconsequential) number combinations, such as 12:34 on a digital clock.  Silly?  Yes.  Unusual?  Well…

The Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) launched a multi-city tour called “Nullify Now!” that encourages state governments to ignore federal laws they deem unconstitutional.  The second stop on the tour occurs on October 10, 2010, or as TAC enthusiasts prefer, 10-10-10.

Here’s a blurb about the headliners participating in the tour:

Speaking at the event will be a number of national and local personalities. Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico who many think will be running for president as a republican in 2012, will be joined by New York Times best-selling author Thomas E. Woods Jr., who received his master’s from Harvard and Ph.D. from Columbia, as keynote speakers for the event. Also speaking will be Jim Babka, president of DownsizeDC, Tampa-based author and activist Tom Mullen, and Trevor Lyman, best-known as the architect of the 2007 “Ron Paul money bombs” which resulted in the largest single-day fundraising efforts in election history.

Launched in September, 2010, the Nullify Now! tour is currently scheduled to visit six cities around the country (Ft. Worth, Orlando, Chattanooga, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Minneapolis), with ten more locations being planned for 2011, said event organizers. The tour focuses efforts on educating people that whatever their political persuasion is, they can affect far more change on a state, rather than a federal, level.

For those interested in the history and use of nullification, tour speaker Thomas Woods’ Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century is one of the best arguments for using the controversial idea first conceived by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.  (Spoiler Alert: Abolitionists in antebellum America found it particularly useful when refusing to enforce the ‘runaway slave’ laws.)


June 26th, 2010 at 9:22 pm
George Will Questions Elena Kagan

Well, not actually.  But reading this list of queries makes one pine for a Senator Will on the Judiciary Committee when its members meet on Monday to begin Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation process.

Here’s a sampling:

• In Federalist 45, James Madison said: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.”

What did the Father of the Constitution not understand about the Constitution? Are you a Madisonian? Does the doctrine of enumerated powers impose any limits on the federal government? Can you cite some things that, because of that doctrine, the federal government has no constitutional power to do?

• Is it constitutional for Arizona to devote state resources to enforcing federal immigration laws?

• Is there anything novel about the Arizona law empowering police officers to act on a “reasonable suspicion” that someone encountered in the performance of the officers’ duties might be in the country illegally?

• The Fifth Amendment mandates “just compensation” when government uses its eminent domain power to take private property for “public use.” In its 2005 Kelo decision, the court said government can seize property for the “public use” of transferring it to wealthier private interests who will pay more taxes. Do you agree?

• Should proper respect for precedent prevent the court from reversing Kelo? If so, was the court wrong to undo Plessy v. Ferguson’s 1896 ruling that segregating the races with “separate but equal” facilities is constitutional?