Category Archives: Law

Populus Coloniarum Duodecim vs. Gaius Baltar

As @BSGMuseum’s #bsgglobalrewatch2016 gets ready to head into the last stretch of season three, “the trial of Gaius Baltar,” Laura observes that “for all his crimes, he’s one of us,” and the question is put: Upon first watch, would you have found him guilty/innocent before his trial? That’s not straightforward to answer. The easier answer […]

The hung court

The Supreme Court began its new term this week, which by law and custom means that it’s time for the Amicus podcast’s term preview with Tom Goldstein. A bit of context: Following Justice Scalia’s untimely death in February and the Senate’s refusal to confirm a successor until after this fall’s Presidential election, the Court seemed […]

“The Double-Edged Sword”—director’s cut

Last semester, I took a “ConLaw as History” class, and in view of Justice Scalia’s then-recent passing, it felt befitting that, for the final project, I was able to take a nice, hefty swing at one of his bêtes-noires, the doctrine of so-called substantive due process about which he spoke often. I have finally completed my “director’s […]

Ramsey on the original meaning of “natural-born citizen”

One of my more popular posts from 2015 discussed the eligibility of Republican Presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Unlike the attacks on President Obama, which turned on (spurious) allegations of fact regarding the President’s birthplace, the questions raised about Rubio and Cruz involve the discernment and application of law to established facts. As […]

Primer and thoughts on the Kim Davis saga so far

We consider the plight of Kim Davis, a county clerk jailed (and subsequently released) for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I. Background. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts thrust the issue of same-sex marriage (“SSM”) into the limelight of American politics in November 2003, when it held that the state’s constitution […]

The NSA programs: Deference, secrecy, libertarians, conservatives, and the Fourth Amendment

In the last month, leaked documents have revealed the existence of two government surveillance programs which collect “metadata” (i.e. “data that describes data”) about customer telephone calls and email from the TelCos and ISPs that route the data. For now, the details aren’t important; we’ll get to that when we talk about these programs and […]

In re the firearms debate

The contentious public policy dispute of the hour is the question of regulating firearms, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has a statement that makes two comments and advances five (very general) calls. I. The bishops’ call. When the bishops intervene in public policy questions, they do well to tread lightly. Bishops have a […]

Judicial conservatism and the Obamacare cases

On the whole, conservatives have greeted the Chief Justice’s opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius with either of two responses: Apoplectic accusations of unbridled heresy, or warm approbation for persuading the liberal justices to go along with an opinion limiting the commerce clause’s reach. Neither reaction makes sense. The second is easy enough to dismiss: The […]