Our understanding of the Constitution lost its way when we embraced the idea that rights are created by a benevolent state.

Over the past three decades, Richard A. Epstein has repeatedly argued—with analytical rigor and astonishing erudition—that governments govern best when they limit their actions to protecting liberty and property. He is perhaps best known for “Takings,” his 1995 book on the losses that regulations impose on property owners. Of late, he has exposed the flaws of a government-administered health system.

In “The Classical Liberal Constitution,” Mr. Epstein takes up the political logic of our fundamental law. The Constitution, he says, reflects above all John Locke’s insistence on protecting natural rights—rights that we possess simply by virtue of our humanity. Their protection takes concrete form in the Constitution by restricting the federal government to specific, freedom-advancing and property-protecting tasks, such as establishing a procedurally fair justice system, minting money as a stable repository of value, preserving a national trade zone among the states, and, not least, guarding the rights listed in the Bill of Rights.

Mr. Epstein believes that constitutional law lost its way when it began to embrace a Progressive vision, according to which rights are created by a supposedly benevolent state. Starting especially with the New Deal legislation of the 1930s, the federal government has passed laws that redistribute wealth, water-down procedural protections for property, and dictate the relations between employers and employees. The premise of such laws is that government should establish a pattern of social justice. By such logic, the government may declare rights that are in no way natural (like the right to an old-age pension) and remove others that are fundamental (like freedom of association).

ObamaCare’s Latest Legal Challenge : Can the White House Simply Declare That the Federal Government is the 51st State?


A defining feature of President Obama’s second term is his willfulness in defying limits on executive power to suit his political goals, and no more so than with the Affordable Care Act. The judiciary is the last check on those abuses, and this week it will have another opportunity to vindicate the rule of law.

On Tuesday the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear one of the more important legal challenges to ObamaCare’s lawless implementation. Unlike the challenge to the individual insurance mandate, Halbig v. Sebelius involves no great questions of constitutional interpretation. The plaintiffs are merely asking the judges to tell the Administration to faithfully execute the plain language of the statute that Congress passed and President Obama signed.
The Affordable Care Act—at least the version that passed in 2010—instructed the states to establish insurance exchanges, and if they didn’t the Health and Human Services Department was authorized to build federal exchanges. The law says that subsidies will be available only to people who enroll “through an Exchange established by the State.” The question in Halbig is whether these taxpayer subsidies can be distributed through the federal exchanges, as the Administration insists.


London Center for Policy Research March 21. 2014 London Center for Policy Research Weekly Commentary Constitutional Disobedience? By: Herb London It is customary for members of the Academy to display anti-American sentiment in the form of multi-culturalism. Rarely, however, does the critique involve the Constitution itself. There is the belief that Supreme Court Justices may […]

Gabriel Schoenfeld: Time for a Shield Law?


“Should Congress create a “reporter’s privilege” that would exempt journalists from having to testify in judicial proceedings? A law that would do just is moving through Congress and probably has the best chance of passing in any time in out history.But do we need such a law, and who exactly would it protect? The usual suspects in and around the media are telling us that without it the First Amendment will be gutted. In fact, those usual suspects may be the ones who are doing the gutting. “….Gabriel Schoenfeld

The American press is in crisis, or so say many of its practitioners. Indeed, to hear journalists tell it, reporting the news has never been more difficult, particularly in the national-security arena. The secrecy practices of the U.S. government, they say, have curtailed the flow of information to the public. The Bush administration put the restrictions in place in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the Obama administration has followed suit, continuing many of the same policies and augmenting them with an unprecedented crackdown on leaks of classified information. Over the last five years, the Obama Justice Department has pursued eight leak prosecutions — nearly triple the number under all previous presidents combined — and it has taken extraordinary steps to uncover leakers, including using subpoena powers to rummage through the private and professional email correspondence and telephone records of journalists. Further, the administration has continued to pursue New York Times reporter James Risen, insisting that he testify as a witness in the prosecution of former CIA agent and alleged leaker Jeffrey Sterling. Risen has thus far stood firm, vowing to go to jail rather than name his confidential source in court.

Not surprisingly, news outlets are protesting what they perceive to be hyper-secretive and illiberal government activity. A 2013 Washington Post editorial complained that when “journalists are threatened with or sent to jail because they refuse to give up their sources, people think twice about talking, and reporters are deterred from pursuing their mission.” The government’s actions make it harder for the press to report on what the government is doing, the Post and its allies say, and pose a threat to the freedom of the press guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Obama administration’s aggressive attempts to stop and prosecute leaks have prompted free-press advocates to renew their calls for Congress to pass a shield law.

A shield law would prevent journalists from being legally compelled to reveal the identities of their confidential sources. Such a law, which would overturn a historic Supreme Court decision, has never gained sufficient traction to pass. In this Congress, however, the effort has been making unusual headway, with some Republicans joining Democrats in pushing it forward.

The Free Flow of Information Act was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last September and is likely to come to the Senate floor for debate at some point this year. The bill enjoys the backing of President Obama, who opposed similar legislation in his first term. News organizations and a host of civil-liberties and transparency advocacy groups have mobilized behind it, believing that, in the words of one proponent, “[f]or the first time since the post-Watergate era, the stars are aligned” for a shield law to pass.

Why Media Don’t Cover Jihadist Attacks on Christians Posted By Raymond Ibrahim


“To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace”—Hebrews 6:6

The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel. Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored.

The facts speak for themselves. Reliable estimates indicate that anywhere from 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85% of this persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations. In 1900, 20% of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2% is.

In one week in Egypt alone, where my Christian family emigrated, the Muslim Brotherhood launched a kristallnacht—attacking, destroying, and/or torching some 82 Christian churches (some of which were built in the 5th century, when Egypt was still a Christian-majority nation before the Islamic conquests). Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised atop churches. Christians—including priests, women and children—have been attacked, beheaded, and killed.

Nor is such persecution of Christians limited to Egypt. From Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east and from Central Asia to the north to sub-Saharan Africa to the south; across thousands of miles of lands inhabited by peoples who do not share the same races, languages, cultures, and/or socio-economic conditions, millions of Christians are being persecuted and in the same exact patterns.

Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences — on The Glazov Gang

Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences — on The Glazov Gang
Catherine Pelonero’s book revisits a horrible murder — and the bystander inaction that surrounded it.
This week’s edition of The Glazov Gang was joined by Catherine Pelonero, an author and playwright who is the author of the new book, Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences. She discusses the details of this horrible murder, the bystander inaction that tragically surrounded it, and the controversy that her research and findings have sparked:

Pearls of James Madison: Part II On the Bill of Rights – Edward Cline


As a prime mover behind the writing of the Constitution and as a champion of the Bill of Rights, James Madison, as a Representative from Virginia, attended the first sitting of the new Congress in New York and Philadelphia in 1789-1790. While nine of the thirteen states had ratified the Constitution, allowing Congress to hold its first sessions, a strong desire to explicitly secure the freedom won by a long and costly war of independence made appending a bill of rights to the Constitution a first concern of many Americans and critics of the “charter.” The absence of such a security in the wording of the Constitution and from the enumerated powers of the federal government did not assure the document’s critics that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were adequately protected from abuses of power.

What the critics saw was a document which detailed the limitations of federal government power (the enumerations), but no written assurances that, should individuals in that government overstep or abuse their powers, they could be opposed and charged with tyranny or corruption in the pursuit unlimited power. Defenders of the Constitution dismissed these concerns, saying, on one hand, that their absence from the document was instead an assurance of their inviolability; and, on the other hand, that a “bill of rights” questioned the legitimacy of any powers granted to the federal government in its enumerated powers (and, by implication, a questioning of the legitimate powers of the state governments), or would leave other, unnamed rights open to violation and government mischief.

The call for a “bill of rights” to be incorporated into the federal constitution was inspired by the Virginia Declaration of Rights, adopted in the summer of 1776 before the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence. George Mason was its principal author. As noted in “Pearls of James Madison, Founder,” Madison was originally dubious about the value and function of a bill of rights in the federal scheme of things, but eventually saw their necessity and carried the fight for a bill of rights to the Congress’s deliberations on a host of post-ratification matters. As did George Mason. The Constitution Society noted:

As passed, the Virginia Declaration was largely the work of George Mason; the committee and the Convention made some verbal changes and added Sections 10 and 14. This declaration served as a model for bills of rights in several other state constitutions and was a source of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, though its degree of influence upon the latter document is a highly controversial question. The reference to “property” in Section I may be compared with the use of the word by John Locke, its omission by Thomas Jefferson from the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, and its use in the Constitution, Amendments V and XIV.


The author of this splendid article is former Israeli Ambassador to Canada-He is the director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Palestinian leaders are manipulating the history of geographic Palestine/Land of Israel. They have manufactured a curious claim, expressed recently by Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, that they are descended from Canaanites and are therefore the indigenous people of the area, present before the emergence of the Jewish people around the year 1500 BCE.

Saeb Erekat’s family is Bedouin. According to Bedouin genealogy, the family is part of the Huweitat clan which originated in the Hejaz area of Saudi Arabia, arrived in Palestine from the south of Jordan, and settled in the village of Abu Dis in the early twentieth century.

Several leading scholars of Middle Eastern studies and Islamic history have confirmed that the Palestinians do not have ancient roots in the area and are trying to invent origins for themselves that predate the Jewish people’s presence.

They explain that most of the Palestinians arrived as part of the waves of immigration that began in the nineteenth century at the time of the emergence of Zionism, attracted by employment opportunities and economic benefits.

The historical presence of the Jewish people in the “Holy Land” is well-documented, not only in the scriptures of all three monotheistic religions, and visible in extensive archeological remains, but also in historic writings by early Greek, Roman, pagan, and other visitors to the area. The fact that Christianity emanated from Judaism is further proof of the presence of a thriving Jewish community in the area.

Manipulating History for Political Purposes

Aside from the topical and pragmatic issues on the negotiating table between Israel and the Palestinians – borders, settlements, refugees, Jerusalem, water, and security arrangements – there is a far deeper discussion that is not taking place in the negotiating room but in the international arena. This discussion involves the issue of historical narratives and the basic question of historic rights to geographic and historic Palestine.

Palestinian leaders are manipulating their history in the land for political purposes. They have manufactured a curious claim, expressed recently by Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, that they are descended from Canaanites and are therefore the indigenous people of the area, present before the emergence of the Jewish people around the year 1500 BCE.

Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, has already established an international reputation for stretching the truth. Many Israelis recall during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 when Erekat went on CNN to assert that Israel had killed “more than 500 people” in Jenin in a “real massacre,”1 adding that 300 Palestinians were being buried in mass graves. It soon became clear that in combat operations at the time, the Palestinian death toll in Jenin was 52: 34 of whom (65 percent) were known military operatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Fatah-Tanzim. Now Erekat’s wild assertions have moved into the field of history as part of a Palestinian battle over the narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinian leadership relies on the thirst of the international media to seriously take up any wild and baseless Palestinian claim; on the pressures of the ongoing negotiating process with the high-level involvement of senior U.S. and European politicians who are keen to show achievements; and, above all, on the wide and almost automatic inclination of the international community to criticize Israel and to buy into any artificial claim uttered by the Palestinian leadership.

Saeb Erekat’s Curious Claim

While one might assume that as the chief Palestinian negotiator and long-term participant in negotiations with Israel since the Madrid Conference of 1991, Saeb Erekat would, and indeed should, be deeply ensconced in the ongoing negotiating process – a process that needs to be conducted in a confidential, serious, and civil manner – this regrettably does not seem to be the case.


  There is presently about as much confusion as when the U.S. entered The Cold War against the Soviet Union in the late 1940s. But there are fundamental defining differences to what is likely to be an equally long and complex new struggle between the U.S., its allies and Moscow.   The two engagements do […]



Obama’s Munich? Bad analogy:

Chamberlain feared his enemies. Obama identifies with them.

Lacking any or all allegiance to the country that elected him President, Obama’s identifies entirely with the primitive, barbaric cultures of the Old World. America, to his mind, is the world’s villain. What else makes sense of Obama’s indifference to the squashing of human freedom by Iran and Russia?

P.S.- The prez ignores Jihad, oppressive imposed Sharia, despotic and savage regimes throughout the Arab world and Africa. He does get into a snit, however, if Israelis add a porch to an existing home in one of the “settlements”….rsk