Category Archives: Constitutional Issues

Churches and Zoning: An Interesting Clash

I read an interesting article that brought together my concerns both about zoning and land use and religious freedom issues.  It seems the City of Palo Alto, California, quite a nice place to live it is said, and the home of the elite Stanford University, is “cracking down on churches” that allegedly violate its zoning laws.  In an article from CBSSFBayArea, at http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/07/27/palo-alto-neighborhood-churches/, it is reported that city officials in Palo Alto have ordered a the First Baptist Church to… Continue Reading ››

Civil Asset Forfeiture: A “Criminal” Action

Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF) is back in the news as Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an expanded Federal program just the other day.  I was extremely surprised and disappointed in his announcement.  Like other Federal forays (and in this case, state), the CAF program has been so abused by law enforcement that it must be reined in by the courts or by the Congress, or both.  Now notice it is called Civil Asset Forfeiture.  That does not mean the assets… Continue Reading ››

Sharia Law Protests: The Truth About Sharia

It has been reported that today (June 19m 2017) has been set aside for protests around the nation against Sharia law, the legal system used in most Muslim countries to a greater or lesser extent.  The principles for Sharia are derived from both the Quran and Hadith, the alleged sayings of Muhammed and have been more or less systematized into various schools of legal thought (five to be precise), all having significant overlap.  There are a number of groups today… Continue Reading ››

Trump’s Follies: Ethical? Legal? Impeachable?

My Bereans colleague Mark Smith wrote a blog post the other day that has irritated some people and made others quite happy.  In this post, I hope to irritate both sides of the Donald Trump “crisis.”  By now, we have all read or heard about President Trump’s misdeeds, or alleged misdeeds, depending on your perspective: firing FBI Director James Comey, “giving” classified information to Russia, and lately, inviting Comey to the White House before he was fired and then pressing… Continue Reading ››

Democracy: Embrace or Re-think?

I recently finished a book by Jason Brennan entitled Against Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2015) that I found intriguing.  It might not sound glamorous but I think the topic is timely in light of our American love of democracy in its various forms, whether direct or representative.  I don’t want to leave the impression that Brennan is some sort of either anarchist on the one hand or totalitarian or monarchist on the other.  Rather what he does is pose a… Continue Reading ››

The Obergefell Legacy in Constitutional Interpetation

Howard  Slugh had an interesting article in the National Review Online on April 10, entitled “Obergefell’s Toxic Judicial Legacy.”  At the time the case was decided (2015) I wondered whether the language used by Justice Kennedy establishing a right to homosexual marriage might be used to claim other new rights not mentioned in the Constitution and barely even imagined at the time.  I remember that a few others shared my concern.  It now appears my and others’ fears are beginning… Continue Reading ››

The New Executive Order: “Here Comes the Judge”–Again

Once again a Federal district court judge has issued a nationwide Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) prohibiting enforcement of the president’s new executive (EO) order temporarily suspending entry into the United States of non-citizens living outside the United States for a period of 90-120 days, with waivers possible for defined exceptions.  The EO identified six nations as targeted by its provisions.  The reasons stated were the possibility or likelihood that these nations were producing or would produce terrorists.  I have reproduced… Continue Reading ››

The Deep State: How Deep Is It?

“The Deep State”–what is it?  Is it real?  Is it fiction?  If it is real, is it dangerous?  To what extent is it harmful?  This is a fascinating subject, perhaps partly because we all love a conspiracy theory, true or not.  I will suggest that this one has a basis in reality.  But I also want to be careful not to overstate my case.  I hope to address these questions below. The term “Deep State” was coined to describe a… Continue Reading ››

Democracy: Is It Over-hyped? Or Overdone?

I noticed a poll taken the other day in connection with Fox News (unfortunately I did not catch the purveyor of that poll, perhaps Fox itself).  Whether the methodology was right or not, I don’t know but it found that 50% of people polled opposed the elimination of the Obamacare insurance mandate, while 48% supported its elimination.  If that reflects the public opinion generally, then we may have reached Alexis de Tocqueville’s “tipping point” in relation to democracy.  In a… Continue Reading ››

President Trump’s New Executive Order on Immigration

President Trump’s new immigration Executive Order (EO) was issued.  You can read it at the New York Times of March 6, 2017: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/us/politics/trump-executive-order-immigration-text.html The order is a variation on his earlier January 27 order which was stopped from taking effect by a Federal court and the Federal Ninth Circuit.  How is this one different?  First, it exempts any person who has some legally granted right to be in the United States, those with “green cards,” those with valid visas, etc.… Continue Reading ››