The Peoples’ Constitution: On Liberty

Perhaps no word better defines America than “liberty.” Patrick Henry was not joking when he said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” His fellow patriots knew that if they failed in their fight for liberty from England, they would face death. Cherished by all Americans regardless of political leanings, liberty finds its foundation in the Constitution. This article looks at how liberty is protected by the Constitution and beyond.

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The Peoples’ Constitution: Brett Kavanaugh and the Next Supreme Court

President Trump nominated federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. His nomination shines a bright light on a number of “hot” constitutional issues. Many news stories claim that Kavanaugh will fundamentally change the court’s position on key issues facing America. While steering clear of politics (a goal of this column), we try to separate fact from fiction on three important areas where Kavanaugh could have a direct impact.

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The Peoples’ Constitution: Due Process, Privacy and Abortion

Recently I was fortunate to visit the ancient Temple Church in London, built in the 12th century by the Knights Templar. The church is relevant here because it was the location of one of the earliest demands for due process of law. In January 1215, a group of English barons confronted King John and asked that he recognize certain fundamental rights. Among those was the great right of due process: the barons demanded that the crown not imprison them or take their property without first following the customary legal procedures that were “due” to them. Six month later, at Runnymede, the King agreed to the Barons’ demands and signed the Magna Carta.

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The Peoples Constitution: Presidential Power and Its Limits

Patriots fought the America Revolution for many reasons, not least of which was an intense desire to escape the rule of a distant king—George III. In fact, Americans were so opposed to the idea of a king that they didn’t include an independent president in the government created under our first constitution—the Articles of Confederation. However, it soon became apparent that a government without a president or comparable leader was insufficient for the needs of the new and growing America. Many, including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton (see for example the Federalist Papers #70) came to believe that a strong president was needed to “take the reins of government,” enforce the laws, and help steer the country forward. With its many flaws, the Articles of Confederation lasted less than 10 years before being replaced by our current Constitution.

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