New Jersey places a bet on the Constitution

States are not puppets of the federal government, to be manipulated to accomplish whatever policy the federal government might prefer. If they were, both individual liberty and political accountability would be compromised. That’s why our Constitution forbids the feds from … Continue reading

Does congressional silence mean more freedom or more bureaucracy?

Judges often defer to the government’s interpretations of its own power. PLF fights this trend because it upsets the balance of separated powers and threatens liberty. But recently, in a case called Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association v. Perez, judicial … Continue reading

Is this the summer of our discontent?

Adherents of free markets and limited government have much to be gloomy about this year. Is now the summer of our discontent, made piteous winter by the loss of Scalia, increasing terrorist attacks, and concern about whether the next president … Continue reading

Dictators of the dump

What do a bureaucrat, an identity thief, and a street bum have in common? They all want to pick through your rubbish. Seattle recently announced that it will fine individuals and businesses whenever compostable material accounts for over ten percent of their waste. Trash collectors will inspect bins and … Continue reading

Happy Constitution Day 2014

Today Americans celebrate the 227th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution by the delegates of the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. Only three delegates who stayed to the end declined to sign the document and two of those, George Mason and Elbridge Gerry, later supported it with the promise that a bill of rights would be added.

Convention President, George Washington, was greatly impressed with the result. Most Americans and foreigners have revered it ever since. In 1878, for example, the once and future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, William Gladstone, wrote that the U.S. Constitution was “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man,” and that was after our Civil War had shown the need to amend it to prohibit slavery and ensure greater protections for individual liberty and equal treatment under law.

In an op-ed published on Townhall.com today, I describe the sustained attacks on the structure of our Constitution by progressive theorists who were openly hostile to the separation of, and limitations on, the national government’s powers that prevented a concentration of authority in a centralized, national bureaucracy. I also mention the textualist/originalist revival in recent decades that is helping to restore the Constitution’s original protections.

At the Pacific Legal Foundation, we litigate every day to restore the liberty guaranteed in the real Constitution. That was even harder when PLF was founded in 1973, when there were fewer courtroom allies for limited government and a dominant legal culture that was dismissive of the Constitution’s original public meaning. But the intellectual climate has improved, due in part to PLF’s work and a growing awareness among citizens concerning the need to fight for our liberties and challenge the natural tendency of government elites to take and abuse more power than we have granted them.

And for interested citizens and scholars today, I am also happy to relate that Heritage Foundation has just published a revised version of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, which has over 200 essays on each clause or amendment of the Constitution by 114 leading originalist scholars. The more citizens educate themselves about their liberties the harder it will be for government to take them away.

The Economist’s lamentable ignorance

Author:  Damien M. Schiff In a brief online article published Monday, The Economist reviewed a New York Times article (about which I blogged here) that purports to explain how recent Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Clean Water Act have seriously … Continue reading

We meant what we said: Washington Supreme Court tells administrative agency that it lacks authority to make law … again … and again

Author: Brian T. Hodges In a representative democracy, government agencies should be required to operate within strictly defined constitutional and statutory limits. For over a decade, however, the growth management hearings boards (administrative agencies established to review challenges to local … Continue reading