Dred Scott

A New Birth of the Old Freedom

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Bingham

The seven articles and twenty-seven amendments to our national Constitution contain roughly 8,000 words. Of those, perhaps none have generated so much intense controversy as the fifty-two words placed inconspicuously in the second sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment: “No State

Slavery, Abortion, and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning

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Slavery, Abortion, and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning

This Liberty Law Talk is with political scientist Justin Dyer on his latest book, Slavery, Abortion, and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning (Cambridge University Press, 2013). In debates over the legality of abortion common opinion has focused on the connections

DOMA, the Hyde Amendment, and the Missouri Compromise: Windsor as the Reversal of Harris v. McRae and Renewal of Dred-Scott Federalism

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Some conservative commentators have decried the Windsor case as the new Roe v. Wade.  As to legal doctrine, however, the case looks more like a reversal of Harris v. McRae, the Supreme Court decision (barely) upholding the constitutionality

Same-Sex Unions, Assumed Historical Facts, and Interracial Marriage

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At oral argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry, Justice Scalia challenged Theodore Olson as to when it became “unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?”[1] Olson replied first with what he called a “rhetorical question,” viz., “When did it

The Moral Foundation of American Constitutionalism

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Natural law

Very few contemporary legal thinkers turn to natural law for help in interpreting the Constitution.  Among the many reasons for this, one is the belief that natural law supports slavery. Justin Dyer takes on this belief and attempts to rehabilitate

The Most Dangerous Justice? “Natural right is dynamite”

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Recently Justice Clarence Thomas reflected on the American condition and its relation to the Constitution.  He focused far less on specific legal issues and more on the enduring love of country  “we the people” give it.  He described how the

Is This Progress?

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President Obama is a man of history—that is, he places himself quite deliberately in historical context. His much-derided self-comparisons with Abraham Lincoln come immediately to mind. But those are clearly superficial. More telling is his choice of Osawatomie, Kansas for