Gary L. Gregg II

Gary L. Gregg II, Ph.D. holds the Mitch McConnell Chair in Leadership at the University of Louisville and is author of Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College

No! The Electoral College Was Not about Slavery!

George Washington presiding over the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia.

The American people have learned much about the Electoral College since the November election. Much has been learned about the origins, evolution and contemporary functioning of our system of presidential elections. We have debated the merits of our system versus allowing a simple national popular vote. We have seen an unprecedented campaign to try to get electors to vote against their pledge. And some have tried to instruct us on the nuances of the Founding environment that created our unique electoral system.

But among all the good information and honest debates have arisen a misleading half-truth aimed at undermining the Electoral College.

Law professor Paul Finkelman ominously opines that Americans would be “disgusted” if they knew the real origin of the Electoral College was in protecting slavery.

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Let’s Imagine 2016 without the Electoral College


The Electoral College has long been the strange uncle of the American Constitutional order—little understood and even less appreciated. But there is a reason that hundreds of amendments have been submitted to change the system and none of them have come even close to passage in more than forty years: it works!

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Russell Kirk’s Founders and the Unwritten Constitution

2013 is the 60th year since Regnery Publishing brought Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind to the reading public.  The book helped transform modern American politics and inform many emerging conservative minds. When I was interning in Washington, DC more than twenty years ago, I remember answering a question by saying that I had a skeletal conservatism only until I met the works of Russell Kirk who put flesh on those bones.  Kirk's influence was similar to a generation before I was born whom he helped understand they were both conservative and just the latest in a long line of Anglo-Americans…

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Reason and the Unfounded Constitution

In Gerald Russello’s account of Russell Kirk’s Constitutional theory, he conscisely outlines Kirk’s thought on that central concern for conservatives and indeed for all Americans.  As Kirk understood, the Constitution is a great Fact of American experience, whose importance cannot be overlooked; and yet, as any historian could tell us, the trouble with facts is…

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Natural Law, Natural Rights, and the Law of Freedom

It is a great honor to be asked to comment on Gerald Russello’s excellent piece.  A man whose scholarship and wisdom is as high as his integrity is deep, Russello has pioneered much in his own writing and editing and in his profound grasp of the law.  Almost every topic I’ve explored academically has proudly…

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Defending the Electoral College

electoral collegeThis next edition of Liberty Law Talk is a conversation with Dr. Gary Gregg, author of Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College, on the foundations of the Electoral College, its connection with the Founders' concept of deliberative democracy and the formation of reasonable majorities, and the federalism and separation of powers purposes it serves in our presidential system. Additional Law and Liberty Resources: Derek Muller reviews Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College.

The Electoral College and American Liberty

It’s that time again when all eyes are drawn to the spectacle that is the American presidential campaign. We watch as Romney and Ryan bus from one end of Ohio to the other and observe Obama seeming to run the Administration from Air Force I on the way to fundraisers in California or small town rallies in Iowa and Colorado. As we watch the quadrennial drama unfold, the inevitable question arises: Is this any way to run an election?

There are many problems inherent in the way America elects its chief executives. Many of us have our pet ideas of ways we think it could be changed for the better, but no reform pops up with more regularity than the abolition of the Electoral College.  Before the heat of summer begins to slide away, the Op Eds and blogs appear and polls are reported showing a majority of the American people seeming to back the system’s demise.

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Barack Obama, the Progressives, and the Presidency Unbound





He may be modeling his re-election efforts after those of Harry Truman in 1948, but entering the last year of his term, President Barack Obama is taking considerable efforts to also wrap himself and his presidency in the mantle of Theodore Roosevelt.  The comparison is not without merit.  His January 2012 recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the head of the new Consumer Protection Bureau, in fact,  has its best precedents in the actions and constitutional theories of Roosevelt and the wider progressive era challenge to the Founding vision of America.

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Reigning in the Presidents of War

The drumbeat of war is raging yet again with many calling for American intervention in the Syrian civil war conflict and for American action to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program. However, successful short-term policy outcomes often make for bad constitutional precedents.  On March 19, 2011, President Barak Obama ordered American missile and air strikes against targets in the sovereign nation of Libya in support of rebel forces opposing the government. By late October, Muammar Gaddafi’s body was being dragged through the streets and abused by the triumphant rebels who had been assisted by American bombs.

None of us mourn the toppling of a brutal dictator, but we should all mourn for the overthrow of the plain meaning of the U.S. Constitution by any president who takes it to be within his power to bomb any other nation, to kill foreign citizens with weeks and months of cruise missile strikes, and expend the nation’s treasures without any consultation with Congress.

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