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Curse of Judicial Minimalism

July 2, 2014 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- Even when Supreme Court decisions are unanimous, the justices can be fiercely divided about fundamental matters, as was demonstrated by two 9-0 rulings last week.

What's In a Name?

June 29, 2014 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo who successfully moved a federal agency to withdraw trademark protections from the Washington Redskins because it considers the team's name derogatory, lives on a reservation where Navajos root for the Red Mesa High School Redskins. She opposes this name; the Native Americans who picked and retain it evidently do not.

Stopping a Lawless President

June 22, 2014 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- What philosopher Harvey Mansfield calls "taming the prince" -- making executive power compatible with democracy's abhorrence of arbitrary power -- has been a perennial problem of modern politics. It is now more urgent in America than at any time since the founders, having rebelled against George III's unfettered exercise of "royal prerogative," stipulated that presidents "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

For GOP, Re-evaluation Time

June 11, 2014 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- The morning after, at breakfast at the Republicans' Capitol Hill Club, Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte was, as befits one of Washington's grown-ups, measured in his reaction to what 36,120 Virginia voters did the day before. It would, he says, be wise "to take a step back and a deep breath until we find out how everyone" -- meaning, especially, House Republicans -- "reacts to this." By "this" he indicates, with a wave of a hand, the one-word headline on Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Congress: "Stunner."

When a President Goes Rogue

June 4, 2014 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- What Winston Churchill said of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles -- that he was a bull who carried his own china shop around with him -- is true of Susan Rice, who is, to be polite, accident prone. When in September 2012 she was deputed to sell to the public the fable that the Benghazi attack was just an unfortunately vigorous movie review -- a response to an Internet video -- it could have been that she, rather than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was given this degrading duty because Rice was merely U.N. ambassador, an ornamental position at an inconsequential institution. Today, however, Rice is Barack Obama's national security adviser, so two conclusions must be drawn.

Ignoring the Path to Recovery

May 28, 2014 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- It is said that the problem with the younger generation -- any younger generation -- is that it has not read the minutes of the last meeting. Barack Obama, forever young, has convenient memory loss: It serves his ideology.

The Cost of Campaign Restrictions

May 21, 2014 - 6:00pm

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota says it has 10,000 lakes. The state also has, according to Anthony Sanders, "10,000 campaign finance laws." He exaggerates, but understandably. As an attorney for Minnesota's chapter of the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm, Sanders represents several Minnesotans whose First Amendment rights of free speech and association are burdened by an obviously arbitrary, notably complex and certainly unconstitutional restriction.

LBJ's Bifurcated Legacy

May 18, 2014 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- Standing on his presidential limousine, Lyndon Johnson, campaigning in Providence, R.I., in September 1964, bellowed through a bullhorn: "We're in favor of a lot of things and we're against mighty few." This was a synopsis of what he had said four months earlier.

In Illinois, Stark Choices

May 14, 2014 - 6:00pm

CHICAGO -- Democracy can be cruel because elections deprive the demos of the delight of alibis and the comfort of complaining. Illinois voters have used many elections to make theirs the worst-governed state, with about $100 billion in unfunded public pension promises, and $6.7 billion in unpaid bills. The state is a stark illustration of prolonged one-party rule conducted by politicians subservient to government employees unions.

Government by Intimidation

May 11, 2014 - 6:00pm

WASHINGTON -- U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa, revolted by the police-state arrogance of some elected prosecutors, has stopped a partisan abuse of law enforcement that was masquerading as political hygiene. Last Tuesday, Randa halted the corruption being committed by persons pretending to administer campaign regulations -- regulations ostensibly enacted to prevent corruption or the appearance thereof. The prosecutors' cynical manipulation of Wisconsin's campaign laws is more than the mere appearance of corruption.

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