Earlier this month, a new front was opened in the legal campaign by investors against the federal government’s (mis)management of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In the latest salvo, Saxton v. Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), individual investors from Iowa filed suit to stop the government from syphoning private property into the U.S. Treasury’s coffers. This most recent litigation effort seeks to reign in the federal government as it subverts the rule of law.
Executive overreach can come in many forms. In this essay, we explore an executive department’s surprising announcement and its symbolic ramifications.
The below was originally published in FoxNews.com Opinion July 4, 2013
We have strayed from the path our Founders forged 237 years ago. Under the Constitutional Republic they created after the Revolutionary War, the United States has prospered over the centuries beyond the founding generation’s wildest dreams; however, we are wandering further from those very Constitutional principles that enabled us to thrive.
This Constituting America study focuses on executive overreach and presidents’ potential violation of our Constitution’s separation of powers. On the other end of the spectrum, executive inaction can likewise threaten American principles. This essay focuses on President Obama’s failure to stand up for one particularly cherished American principle: freedom of speech. The threats posed both by executive overreach and omission are quite deserving of our scrutiny if we want to prevent further drift from the principles and government processes that have historically enabled the United States to thrive.
A federal district judge ruled on Monday (essay originally published December 18, 2013) that the National Security Agency program tracking all Americans’ phone calls is “probably unconstitutional.” In Klayman v. Obama, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that “such a program infringes on ‘the degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”
In this speech, U.S. Senator Daniel Webster strives to unify a deeply divided nation. Speaking “not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a Northern man, but as an American,” he pleads “for the preservation of the Union.”
He begins with a conciliatory tone in which he tries to view the issue of slavery from both perspectives. Careful not to scold the South for the practice, he argues that the fight stems from a “difference of opinion” among equally religious men. His concern is that neither side is convincing the other and the people are merely diverging in their views. Because this is a religious debate, he believes, people are apt to “think that nothing is good but what is perfect, and that there are no compromises or modifications to be made in consideration of difference of opinion.” Read more
A complicated man of contradictions, Thomas Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves throughout his life but opposed the institution. His letter reflects this paradox: Read more