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Jefferson Davis' Speech at Macon, Georgia, September 23, 1864: Worst Speech Ever?

April 17, 2012

Jefferson Davis' speech of September 23, 1864, was so bad that Americans North and South speculated that it was a spoof or a satire – but it was real and sincere. In this speech Davis greatly discouraged his own troops and vastly raised morale in the North; unpersuasively justified his removal of a popular, effective […]

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"Immorality" and Social Change

April 7, 2012

Social conservatives sincerely believe that they are defending "morality" when they condemn practices such as  birth control, women working outside the home, and same-sex marriage. Their view is that these practices are "immoral" because they threaten the fabric of society. They consider people who condone these social transformations to be fostering "immorality." They are mistaken. […]

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Question of Law or Question of Fact: Edie Windsor's Motion to Strike and the Flowering of Empiricism

September 4, 2011

In 1911 Roscoe Pound published The Scope and Purpose of Sociological Jurisprudence (which may be found in two parts at pages 140 and 489 of Volume 25 of the Harvard Law Review).  A century later a consequence of Pound's legal philosophy is that the lines between "questions of law" and "questions of fact" are becoming ever […]

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July 4th in American History

July 4, 2011

A date we treasure.

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March 27, 2011

The assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti is indeed an act of blasphemy – a betrayal of the fundamental principles of freedom and equality that Pakistan was founded upon.

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Libertarianism: (Part 3) Negative Liberty and Positive Liberty in the Constitution

May 25, 2010

     In his masterful book Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution James M. McPherson draws the distinction between "negative liberty" and "positive liberty."  Negative liberty is the right to be free from laws regulating our conduct.  Positive liberty is the enactment of laws protecting our rights.  Libertarians in general and Republican senatorial nominee Rand Paul […]

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Faith and Hope

December 25, 2009

     The polarization of American society along ideological lines may cause both liberals and conservatives to despair for their country.  But it need not, if we have faith and hope.

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Lincoln and the Transcendent Constitution: (1) The Constitution and the Declaration

December 23, 2008

     Lincoln changed our perception of what it is to be an American by changing our understanding of the meaning of the Constitution, and he achieved this by incorporating the principles of the Declaration of Independence into the Constitution, particularly the phrase, "all men are created equal."

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Why People Disagree About the Meaning of the Constitution: Policy Arguments

November 4, 2008

     The fifth and final type of argument under the Constitution is a policy argument.  Policy arguments are fundamentally different from arguments based upon text, intent, precedent, or tradition.  The four standard types of arguments are grounded in the past, while policy arguments look to the future.

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The Supreme Court at the Tipping Point: Gay Rights

July 28, 2008

     Gay rights cases may be arranged in four categories that fall along a spectrum according to the level of hardship that the law imposes. The most serious cases involve criminal laws or legal disabilities that are imposed upon gays and lesbians; less serious, but no less significant, are laws that deny equal benefits to […]

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The Supreme Court at the Tipping Point: Racial and Gender Equality

July 21, 2008

            Originally the United States Constitution did not embrace the principle of equality. Instead the Constitution protected slavery in gross contradiction to the Declaration of Independence that had stated "all men are created equal."

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