In Poland, according to an animal protection law, animals must be stunned with a stun-gun prior to slaughtering. The European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter permits EU member countries to exempt religious slaughter from the stunning requirement. However, the Polish Parliament voted against granting the exemption. However, such a slaughter would not satisfy the rules of Kosher, which proscribe a very specific manner to kill an animal in accordance with Jewish Law. As a result, it is effectively illegal to make kosher meat in Poland. Unsurprisingly, several slaughterhouses are violating the law, and doing it anyway.
Liberty Law Blog
Timothy Sandefur’s The Conscience of the Constitution contributes to the debate over the best way to limit the powers of the United States government in order to secure liberty. Sandefur, a lawyer and legal scholar, believes that “American constitutional history has always hovered in the mutual resistance of two principles: the right of each individual to be free, and the power of the majority to make rules.” (1) For Sandefur adherence to the natural rights theory of Declaration of Independence manages the tension between the two principles. Continue Reading →
In Halbig v. Sebelius–a case that considers whether the Obamacare exchanges operated by the federal government can provide subsidies–seven members of Congress submitted an amicus brief telling the D.C. Circuit what the law really means. Senators Baucus, Harkin, and Reid, and Representatives Levin (MI), Miller (CA), Pelosi (CA), and Waxman (CA) insist that congress never intended to limit subsidies to state-run exchanges.
I had the good fortune to be asked recently to contribute to a memorial symposium on Judge Robert Bork’s work in the University of Chicago Law Review’s online forum. My essay showed that he was a prime catalyst for both originalism and law and economics—two movements that push law back toward being once again an instrument of social well being. These dual, dynamic contributions made him the most important figure of the intellectual legal right in the latter half of the twentieth century. And his ideas could not be defeated by the Senate vote that denied him a seat on the Supreme Court.
I noted: Continue Reading →
Twenty years ago I published a novella in which a purported serial killer, using all the arguments of liberal or radical criminology, proved to his own satisfaction that not only that he was as good as the average citizen, but better. To my surprise an eminent critic thought that my character expressed my own views, which he then criticized as if they had been meant seriously. Was the fault mine for not having made myself clear enough, or his for having been so obtuse? Continue Reading →
President Obama’s claim of executive omnipotence (“I can do whatever I want”) merely brought attention to the constitution under which we have been living: The chief, and those whom he appoints directly and indirectly, are not obliged to any law. Congressmen and senators too, free from votes for which they can be held responsible, can enjoy their rank among brokers of the profit and prestige, of the Trillions, which the modern administrative state dispenses. Obligations exist only among this vast public sector’s functionaries and beneficiaries — the ruling class. Continue Reading →
Recently, Justice Scalia made a lot of news when he faulted Chicago deep dish pizza. He noted that it is more like a “tomato pie,” and “shouldn’t be called pizza.” (As a native of Staten Island, I couldn’t agree more!). But during his speech at the Union League’s 126th George Washington’s Birthday Gala, Justice Scalia spoke to a much higher power than pizza.
He opined on the relationship between civic virtue, or what he called “the Republican spirit” and a “successful republic.” Continue Reading →
The new report of the Congressional Budget Office, showing substantial job losses from the Obama administration’s proposed hike of the minimum wage to $10.10 has changed the tenor of the debate in Washington. A nonpartisan, professional agency’s considered opinion is hard to ignore, although White House and congressional spinners are trying to deflect its findings. Our national conversation has suddenly deepened and it is now harder for politicians to claim credit for a free lunch. We need more such institutions to inject accurate information into the fact free zone that is our nation’s capital.
The Congressional Budget Office, begun in 1974, is staffed by professional economists, not political appointees. To be sure, its director is appointed by House and Senate leaders, but the norm now is to appoint an economist of independent academic stature, not a political hack. Four factors make the CBO a credible organization. First, it has no actual power to implement policy and thus is less likely to shape its agenda to fit the usual imperatives of bureaucratic aggrandizement and personal ambition. Second, its mandate is broad in scope: an agency with a narrower reporting focus, as for instance on a particular policy, is more likely to be captured by those in the field on which it is reporting. Third, its staff and its director have professional reputations to maintain and thus incentives to avoid politically driven and result oriented analysis. Finally, their reputations are made and maintained in the field of economics, a path breaking social science in its capacity to use quantitative methods to analyze the past and predict the future. There is an objective basis for their work.
The CBO’s report on the minimum wage noted other costs that have not been as widely reported. An increase in minimum wage to $10.10 would also create not insubstantial price increases. Continue Reading →
- Common Core Nation: My interview with Sandra Stotsky, leading critic of the Common Core State Standards.
- Is there such a thing as legislative intent? In our feature review essay this week, Adam MacLeod reviews Richard Ekins’ The Nature of Legislative Intent. MacLeod notes the author’s main point:
Ekins skillfully defends the ancient idea that a legislature can intend to change law, and the job of courts is to give effect to that intent. The law created by a statute is not merely the assemblage of signs of which the text is constituted. Rather, law is the set of propositions to which the text points. Positive law is a reason for the actions of judges (and others) even when the text by itself is not fully determinate.
- In this report on the plight of artists and their lofts in trendy Manhattan neighborhoods who must receive NYC approval to be re-certified to retain their space, I wonder if the New York Times just defended free speech in campaign finance. Same problem. In this instance, the government is deciding who is an artist. But if this gives the paper of record the willies, then why is it reasonable for the government to decide who is a legitimate publisher and, therefore, exempt from the campaign finance regime?
- Alberto Mingardi at Econ Lib asks an important question: Just who is the Italian prime minister this week?
- An interview with John Gray, perhaps the world’s preeminent prophet of doom.
- Social Justice needs a shot in the arm: Cut off Harvard and you save America.