Category Politics

Super-Duper Precedent and the Kavanaugh Hearings

[S]tare decisis is neither an inexorable command, nor a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision, especially in constitutional cases. If it were, segregation would be legal . . . . —Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310, 377 (2010) (Roberts, C.J., concurring) (cleaned up) ************************** The decision was 7-1. In the ensuing decades, it had been […]

Textualism is not Strict Constructionism is not Originalism

As President Donald Trump prepares to appoint a second Supreme Court justice, the national dialogue has been saturated with gossip over what judicial philosophy the next nominee might bring to the bench. For legal nerds, SCOTUS nominations are what the World Cup is to soccer fans: the one time everyone else cares about your passion. […]

The Crisis of Civic Illiteracy and Disengagement

For anyone remotely tuned-in to public dialogue on law and policy, the criticism that a proposed action is unconstitutional is a familiar one. But while some exclaim, “That’s unconstitutional!” others just as readily respond, “Who cares?” At least anecdotally, the honest answer to that question seems to be “some, but not others.” One may venture […]

In Defense of 2017

“When I was 17, it was a very good year.” In October, scientists from Caltech announced that they had detected gravitational waves resulting from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago. While such phenomena is predicted by the theory of relativity, it remained unobserved until just a few months ago. A small […]

The Papal Style in American Politics

“[T]here is no need to narrate actions that do not affect the truth of the history, if they are going to result in the discrediting of the hero.” —Don Quixote To mark the anniversary of last year’s election, Vice News interviewed a set of the president’s diehard fans to see how they felt things have […]

Taxation Tuesday: The State and Local Tax Deduction, or, Everyone’s a Little Bit Wrong

The federal income tax finds you everywhere. State taxes don’t: California takes up to 13.3% of your income, while Nevada takes nothing. Every state taxes property in some way, but at different levels. But state taxes don’t immediately overburden high-tax state residents as badly as this sounds, because of the State and Local Tax Deduction, […]

Justice Don Willett’s Uncontroversial Commitment to the Constitution

The 1905 Supreme Court case Lochner v. New York has long been a lightning rod for the claim that unelected judges have no place in our Constitutional system striking down laws purporting to ensure public health and safety. The periled precedent played its part this week as UT Law student Noah Horwitz dutifully deployed it against […]

Taxation Tuesday: Don’t Try to Pass a Wealth Tax

Good morning; let’s talk about tax policy!  One of the ways Senator Bernie Sanders has offered to finance his suggested health care plan is a wealth tax. A wealth tax does what it says on the box: taxes assets, as opposed to our current tax structure, which taxes income. This is far from the first […]

What Unites Us?

Reflections on division in the United States.

Fine, Build the Wall, If…

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative begun by its predecessor. DACA provided otherwise law-abiding illegal aliens brought here by their parents some relief from the fear of deportation, along with work permits and sundry other benefits. Much of the controversy so far focused […]