Who Decides Constitutionality?

Who decides when the federal government has acted outside of those delegated powers? Most Americans will quickly answer, “The Supreme Court, of course!” Thomas Jefferson emphatically disagreed, arguing that the states make the determination in the last resort. Jefferson pointed out the absurdity of a branch of the federal government determining the extent of the…

Details

Under the Constitution: Limited Strikes Qualify as War

In the Constitution, the Founders intentionally prohibited the Executive branch from having the power to unilaterally determine whether or not the country would engage in war. Few were more adamant about this than James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” who wrote: “The constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive…

Details

Constitutional Confrontation: Spying, Lying and Torture

In some respects, the recent admission by CIA Director John Brennan that his agents and his lawyers have been spying on the senators whose job it is to monitor the agency should come as no surprise. The agency’s job is to steal and keep secrets, and implicit in those tasks, Brennan would no doubt argue,…

Details

Tucker and the US Constitution

First published in 1803, St George Tucker’s ” View of the Constitution of the United States” is a great contribution to political science. Tucker presents a view of the US Constitution from a Jeffersonian point of view. He correctly shows the limited nature of the federal government, and explores the powers delegated to it.

Details