The first constitutional test of the new era will be answered less by Donald Trump than by Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.): namely, whether the congressional leadership delivers to the chief magistrate the news that Capitol Hill is not a subsidiary of the White House.
If there is any doubt remaining that the slogan “change” had no content when it was proffered as a reason for electing a President, consider this: Barack Obama bid farewell to the nation without calibrating his calls for change to his assertions of having already achieved it. President Obama’s farewell last night—delivered not in the traditional sedateness of the Oval Office but rather at the site and in the manner of a campaign rally—thus served as a primer on the shift from the liberal politics of amelioration to the Progressive politics of historical teleology. It should be said that despite the setting, he…
One of the signal achievements of Bertrand de Jouvenel was establishing the existential status of power: “The Minotaur,” he called it, a metaphysical entity, nearly organic, with an instinct for both survival and expansion. If Mark Tushnet’s overeager call, predicated on a Hillary Clinton presidency, for judges to emerge from what he alleged to be their “defensive crouch liberal constitutionalism” and slay the foes of Progressivism demonstrated anything, it was that there is, miracle of miracles, such a creature as a judicial Minotaur. Randy Barnett’s much discussed and certainly much warranted reply at The Volokh Conspiracy confirms it. Yet the judicial Minotaur…
As bad as the economics of the Carrier shakedown may be—and it is entirely unclear in which direction the shaking went down, except to note that a supply of rents tends to create a demand for them—the constitutional politics are far worse.
Donald J. Trump’s remarkable rise to the presidency presents this conundrum: The constitutional duties of the office he attained by stoking public passions now requires him to be willing to resist them. That is not because his voters should be regarded, merely for having supported him, as impassioned rather than reasonable. Such would be the very condescension that partly motivated them. The point, rather, is that the constitutional purpose of the presidency is not to give the people the “voice” that Trump promised to provide but rather to channel their impulses toward their interests.
First, in the truest tradition of conservative thought, the bad news: At this time on Wednesday, one of the major parties in American politics will be institutionally invested in inflating a presidential office already swollen beyond healthy constitutional proportions.
Whatever may be said about Gavin Grimm’s legal case, the plaintiff in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.—which the Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear—should be credited with handling the lawsuit with the dignity and courage required for a teenager to assert a public position on an intimate matter. One only wishes Grimm and the advocates pursuing the case showed similar empathy for those who are, with equal sincerity, maintaining competing views—views that transgender advocates are using the courts to delegitimize.
The Progressive apoplexy over Donald Trump—which is justified on myriad grounds, many of them other than those his critics are articulating—ought not obscure this decisive fact: Trumpism is a disease of Progressive constitutionalism. Its symptoms include an inflamed presidency and Supreme Court—and embrace of the former and a reaction against the latter.
The Supreme Court is lost. Sunday night’s debate settled that. The question now is not how to save the Court but rather how to navigate an adverse one, and the answer is to deprive it of power.
There are few economists smarter than Bryan Caplan, whose efforts to apply economic analysis to political phenomena have produced breakthrough insights, none more than his pioneering Myth of the Rational Voter (2007). But higher authorities also command deference. Aristotle is one. He warned in Book II of his Politics that political life is not reducible to an economic problem. Caplan’s recent post at Law and Liberty’s sister publication, EconLog, illustrates why.