The Constitution Study podcast
Join a group of Everyday Americans as we learn to read and study the Constitution, and teach the rising generation to live free.
info_outline 410 - Is Refusing to Wear a Mask Unconstitutional? 02/26/2024
410 - Is Refusing to Wear a Mask Unconstitutional? I've spoken repeatedly about the unconstitutionality of most mask mandates. Recently, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to review two cases where people were punished for attending school board meetings while refusing to wear masks. Sadly, the cases, as described in the Circuit Court opinion, seem poorly founded, thus leading to decisions against the plaintiffs. I think a closer look will not only show the flaws in the case, but help others build better ones in the future.
info_outline 409 - Abuse of the No Fly List 02/19/2024
409 - Abuse of the No Fly List while looking through recent oral arguments at the Supreme Court, I stumbled across the case FBI v. Fikre. At first, I thought it was another simple procedural case, but something about it caught my attention. The oral arguments held before the Supreme Court were about whether Mr. Fikre's case that his rights were violated when he was placed on the No Fly List was no moot because he ad been removed from the list. As I stated looking deeper into the case though, I found intrigue worthing of a Grisham novel.
info_outline 408 - Primaries, What Are They Good For? 02/12/2024
408 - Primaries, What Are They Good For? I propose that all board elections for non-profit corporations should be run by the state at taxpayer expense. After all, we already have taxpayer funded elections for private organizations. We call them “Primaries”. While this year's presidential primary is pretty much a fait accompli, there are still hundreds, if not thousands of primary elections that will be held over the next few months. In some cases the race is so partisan that the primary effectively decides the race and the general election is moot. What is the purpose of these taxpayer funded private elections? Why to limit your choices on election day of course. So why do we keep paying for someone else to take away our choices?
info_outline 407 - Chevron Deference 02/05/2024
407 - Chevron Deference For decades, Congress has been turning over more and more lawmaking power to the Executive Branch. Frequently this is done by legislation giving the head of some agency or department the power to establish rules which have the force of law. What happens when the legislation doesn't explicitly say that such-and-such department has the power to make a certain rule? To deal with this, courts have come up with something called "Chevron Deference". While the case Loper Bright Enterprises, v Gina Raimondo, Secretary Of Commerce deals with who pays the salaries of federal observers on fishing boards, a more fundamental questioning of the court's deference to government agencies interpretation of law is the cornerstone of the petitioner's arguments.
info_outline 406 - Regulating Your Life 01/29/2024
406 - Regulating Your Life Have you noticed how often the government of the United States decides how you should live your life? It seems everything from food and drugs to the lightbulbs in your home are regulated by Uncle Sam. And whenever some bureaucrat deems it necessary, they simply roll out another "rule" or "regulation" to clamp down on the American people. It seems though, that one of those agencies may have bitten off more than they could chew, at least according to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case Louisiana, et. al. v. U.S. Department of Energy the court decided that one of the DOE's rules was illegal, but was it unconstitutional?
info_outline 405 - The Real Insurrection in America 01/22/2024
405 - The Real Insurrection in America Although I've talked about the recent attempts to keep Donald Trump off the 2024 ballot on the radio program, I realized I haven't taken the time to do an in-depth article here. I apologize for taking so long to broach this extremely important topic in this venue. Unless you've been hiding from everything politics in the United States, you are aware that there are actors in several states that have sued in their state courts to disqualify Donald Trump from being on their states primary election ballot for President of the United States. As of this writing, in only two states, Colorado and Maine, have those actors found some measure of success. While this case will undoubtably find its way to the Supreme Court, this truly is a state issue, even though it has national importance.
info_outline 404 - Lawsuits for Revenge and Profit? 01/15/2024
404 - Lawsuits for Revenge and Profit? One of the most common ways for an American to seek a redress for some grievance is to file a law suit. This has made the United States a very litigious society. I was not able to determine the number of lawsuits filed, but in 2023 there were more attorneys in the United States (1.33 million) than doctors (1.08 million). As you might imagine, it is unlikely that all of these lawsuits are legitimate. Take for examples the case of Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer. In this case, Acheson Hotels claims that Deborah Laufer filed a lawsuit against them not because she was harmed by their hotel, but because she is an activist using the Americans with Disability Act to harass companies who do not advertise whether or not they have handicapped accessible rooms. While the Supreme Court found that the case was moot, both the facts of the case and the courts decision points to what appears to be a case of Ms. Laufer using lawsuits for both revenge and profit.
info_outline 403 - What is Income? 01/08/2024
403 - What is Income? There are certain words that are so commonly used we think they have a universal understanding. One of those words is "income". Think about it, what is income? Your paycheck? Dividends on your investments? Profits from your business? When does an increase on the value of something you own become "income"? The answer to that question is important to more than just the parties in the case Moore v. United States, but to just about every American. Can the United States tax you, as income, for the value of something you have not sold yet?
info_outline 402 - New Years 01/01/2024
402 - New Years I don't "do" New Years Resolutions. To me, they're one step above a campaign promise. (At least you intend to keep your resolutions.) That said, the beginning of a new year is a good time to consider your future. What plans do you have for the new year? While I do not make New Years Resolutions, if you do, here are a few ideas I think you should consider.
info_outline 401 - A Christmas Wish 12/25/2023
401 - A Christmas Wish Thankfully, I have not seen the level of controversy over name "Christmas" this year that I've seen in years past. Whether or not you celebrate the holiday, 5 USC §6103 lists December 25th as the holiday "Christmas Day", which is why government offices are shutdown today. Since I do celebrate the holiday, I decided to take a few minutes, and consider a few some Christmas wishes I have for you, this country, and The Constitution Study.
info_outline 400 - Washington’s Farewell Address - Part 2 12/18/2023
400 - Washington’s Farewell Address - Part 2 As he prepared to leave office, President George Washington gave to us a Farewell Address. Friends and Citizens: The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made. Washington's Farewell Address 1796 As our thoughts are employed in the designation of the person who is to be clothed with the trust of administering the executive branch of the government of the United States, I think we should look back at the advice and warnings from the first occupant of that office.
info_outline 399 - Washington’s Farewell Address - Part 1 12/11/2023
399 - Washington’s Farewell Address - Part 1 As he prepared to leave office, President George Washington gave to us a Farewell Address. Friends and Citizens: The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made. Washington's Farewell Address 1796 As our thoughts are employed in the designation of the person who is to be clothed with the trust of administering the executive branch of the government of the United States, I think we should look back at the advice and warnings from the first occupant of that office.
info_outline 398 - Will America be Destroyed From the Inside? 12/04/2023
398 - Will America be Destroyed From the Inside? In 1837, Daniel Webster wrote: "I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe... Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger." I’ve been thinking about that statement lately. I came across a video that I had forgotten about. It’s part of an interview with Soviet defector Yuri Bezmanov. Mr Bezmanov was a former KGB agent who defected to Canada in 1970. Then, in 1984, he gave an interview to G Edward Griffin where he exposed a long-term Soviet plan to defeat America not by force of arms, but through psychological warfare. You may be asking, what does a late 20th century defector have to do with a 19th century lawyer and statesman, and how could it possibly be relevant to our situation in the 2020s? Come to find out, both of these men were quite prescient in their warnings to the American people.
info_outline 397 – Truth Under Attack 11/27/2023
397 – Truth Under Attack There have always been attacks on what is true. From the serpent in the Garden of Eden asking "Did God really say..." to today's attempts to quash "disinformation", truth has been under attack. While many of these attacks have been about what the truth is, over the past couple of generations, the idea of truth itself has been under attack. Why is that so? In the Gospel of John, Jesus said: And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 (NKJV) Could the answer be that simple? Could the attacks on the very idea of truth simply be attacks on our freedom? If that is true, then what can we do to defend not only our freedom, but the very idea of freedom itself?
info_outline 396 - Hard Cases Make Bad Precedent 11/20/2023
396 - Hard Cases Make Bad Precedent There is an adage in the legal profession, “Hard cases make bad law.” Well, since cases in this country to not truly make law only precedent, you might be tempted to dismiss this saying. However, since our courts are so devoted to their precedent, we should be very careful when hard cases come to the Supreme Court. For example, one case heard by the court has a very unsavory respondent. The question is, will Mr. Zackey Rahimi’s shady past be used to infringe on the right of the rest of Americans?
info_outline 395 - Social Media and Government Communications 11/13/2023
395 - Social Media and Government Communications Social media has become so much of everyday lives that we often don’t think about its use. This has led to what appears to be a large percentage of Americans developing what can at best be described as “interesting ideas” about the relationship between government and the various social media platforms. Some recent cases heard before the Supreme Court bring the question of the relationship between government actors and social media companies into question. Probably the best well known would be Missouri v. Biden, where the states of Missouri and Louisiana have brought suit claiming that members of the Biden Administration violated the First Amendment by attempting to influence what content would be deleted or deemphasized on various platforms. However, two other cases involving local officials focus on under what circumstances government actors can block access to their social media accounts. While most of the country seems to be focused on Missouri, these two cases bring up some questions the American people should really think about.
info_outline 394 - Placing Politics Above Children? 11/06/2023
394 - Placing Politics Above Children? Studies show that the best outcomes for children is to live in a home with their married parents. If the world were perfect, then all children would have that chance. But the world isn't perfect, and either by accident or as the consequences of the actions of adults, children will be in need of people to step in for their parents. In our modern society, the role of finding homes for these children has been filled by the state government. What happens when those government entities place politics above the needs of their charges? A recent case in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts deals with that very topic. Plaintiffs Michael and Catherine Burke claim that the State of Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) discriminated against them in their application to become foster parents for religious reasons. When I looked at the case what I saw wasn't so much religious discrimination, but DCF placing political viewpoints above not only the Constitution of Massachusetts, but what is best for the children in their care.
info_outline 393 - Public Recording 10/30/2023
393 - Public Recording Do you have a right to record people in public? A recent case out of Oregon asked that very question, can states restrict who and when people can record the conversations in public. Oregon law prohibiting recording public conversation except in certain limited circumstances was challenged by Project Veritas. As is so often the case, both the legal challenges and judicial opinion make some questionable constitutional claims. This is why we’re going to look at the opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court Panel and decide for ourselves, does recording the public conversations of others violate the law or does the law violate the Constitution?
info_outline 392 - Your Right to Remain Silent 10/23/2023
392 - Your Right to Remain Silent You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law... Miranda Warning If you've ever been taken into custody, or simply watched a crime procedural on TV, you're familiar with the Miranda warning, named after the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. However, if you're getting your legal advice from television, you may find yourself in serious legal trouble. Where does this right to remain silent come from, how is it protected, and just how constitutional is the Miranda decision?
info_outline 391 - Primary Control 10/16/2023
391 - Primary Control As I write this, the United States is deep into the primary season for the 2024 Presidential Election. There is more than enough news, polls, allegations, recriminations, and influence peddling bombarding the American people, and will continue to do so, probably until the middle of next year. While most Americans have an idea of how the primary system works, it is usually superficial, incomplete, and ignores the fundamental purpose of election primaries, control of the election process.
info_outline 390 - Civil Asset Forfeiture, Policing for Profit 10/09/2023
390 - Civil Asset Forfeiture, Policing for Profit The more things change, the more they stay the same. Several years ago I wrote an article about the Battle of Athens, TN. In the article I showed the corruption in McMinn County Sheriff’s Department, where the Sheriff and his deputies did not receive a salary, but were paid for everyone they booked, incarcerated, and released. This perverse incentive let to deputies routinely boarding buses to “fine” and jail the passengers for any alleged violations they could come up with. When subject to this corruption, many GIs returning from World War II were led to challenge the corrupt county Sheriff and other office holders. This challenge led not only to an embattled election, but an armed uprising in an attempt to restore the rule of law. If you don’t find this story of corruption compelling, consider this. The same basic system of corruption in the McMinn County Sheriff’s Department exists across the country. While the McMinn County process did not have a name, the 21st century version does, Civil Asset Forfeiture!
info_outline 389 - Is Your State Committing Fraud in Presidential Elections? 10/02/2023
389 - Is Your State Committing Fraud in Presidential Elections? I was having a discussion with someone online about how we elect the President and Vice President of the United States. I was doing some research to reinforce my point when I discovered something interesting, a state which had a fraudulent ballot in 2020. Thinking this was probably an individual mistake, I started looking at the sample ballots from each state in the 2020 election. I found mistakes in not just one state, or a handful of states, but in two-thirds of the state's ballots. Which leads me to believe these may not be mistakes at all, but fraud committed by the states in regards to electing the President and Vice President of the United States.
info_outline 388 - Executive Orders or Edicts? 09/25/2023
388 - Executive Orders or Edicts? President Obama famously said: "We're not just going to be waiting for legislation,... I've got a pen and I've got a phone…and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions." President Obama on CBS News This is a perfect example of executive overreach should go down in history as the abuse of a President's executive power to usurp the powers of other branches
info_outline 387 - Honoring Constitution Day 09/18/2023
387 - Honoring Constitution Day Yesterday, September 17, 2023 was the 236th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Did you, your family, or your neighbors honor that day? Have you considered what parts of your life you enjoy because of that documents and the 27 amendments that have been made to it? Have you considered what your life, and that of your family, would be like should that document continue its fall into obscurity? To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “It was a constitution, take it for all in all, I shall not look upon its like again.” Today, I want to take sometime to consider not only what life would be like with a neutered and disabled Constitution, but what we are willing to do in order to keep it, and the protection of our rights it affords, alive and well in America. In our national anthem, we proclaim that the United Staters of America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. If we let the Constitution fall, then we will no longer be the land of the free, because We the People have not been brave.
info_outline 386 - In Loco Parentis, Tyrannis! 09/11/2023
386 - In Loco Parentis, Tyrannis! Who is in charge of your children? That has been a perennial question that has grown in importance over the last few years. When I was a child, it was understood that, with rare exceptions, parents were in charge of a child’s upbringing. This included medical, religious, and educational decisions. However, over the last few decades, the role of the parent in these decisions has been replaced by experts. What happens when the goal of the experts differs from those of the parents? Who decides the future of the rising generations? It was understood that the state acted in loco parentis, in place of the parents, only for the safety of the child. A recent case in U.S. District Court shows that be it health departments, child services, schools, or even the courts. Government not only believes they know better than the parents, they are more than willing to act in loco parentis tyrannis.
info_outline 385 - Do Artificial Intelligences Have Rights? 09/04/2023
385 - Do Artificial Intelligences Have Rights? With the release of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence (AI) applications, there has been a lot of speculation and downright assertions about our future. With over 30 years of experience in Information Technology (IT), not more than a passing understanding of AIs, I've come to the conclusion that much of what I've heard is more science fiction than fact. A recent court case decided in the D.C. District Court revolved around one very important question. Do AIs have rights?
info_outline 384 - When are Constitutional Amendments Unconstitutional? 08/28/2023
384 - When are Constitutional Amendments Unconstitutional? Since last year’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned the court’s precedent in Roe v. Wade, there has been a flurry of work on both sides of the debate. Some states passed legislation restricting access to abortions except for medically sound reasons, others to not only secure abortion access in law but effectively declare themselves abortion sanctuary states. Some groups are working to enshrine abortion in their state’s constitution. With all of the heated rhetoric on both sides, one question never seems to be asked. Would of these state constitutional amendments be constituional?
info_outline 383 - The Powers of Congress 08/21/2023
383 - The Powers of Congress I encourage people to ask questions. I believe there are only two "stupid" questions in the world, the one you don't ask and the one you ask three times. Questions are important. We cannot truly learn unless we ask questions. Several weeks ago I posted the article The Role of Congress. I was pleased when I was asked a question about that article. Specifically, what are the powers of Congress. This article is the answer to that question.
info_outline 382 - Gift of Freedom on Independence Day 08/14/2023
382 - Gift of Freedom on Independence Day I don't think I'm exaggerating to day that Judge Terry Doughty did more to protect Freedom of Speech and Press in America in my lifetime, possibly since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. What could one man do that had such a tremendous impact? How could one preliminary injunction be so important? While there has been plenty of hype about judge Doughty's order, from both sides, as I have taken the time to review it, I am impressed both by it's scope and it's quoting of both the Constitution and Founding Fathers to prove the rightness of it's position. What decision of a judge could have such an impact on the rights of the American people? The recognition of if infringement on one of our most basic rights, the freedom of expression, and the willingness to stand against it. Some may say it is fate that this judge issued his order on the 4th of July, 2023. I see it as providence that this judge has once again honored that date as our Independence Day!
info_outline 381 - The Role of the Federal Courts 08/07/2023
381 - The Role of the Federal Courts In this third installment of the three-part series on the branches of government, we look at the role of the third and weakest branch. At least that is what our Founding Fathers thought of it. What is the role of the federal judiciary? What are the extent of their powers, how do they related to the other two branches of government, and why is a proper understanding of the role of the judiciary critical if the United States is to remain a constitutional republic?