Tag Archives: James Madison

Constitutionally, Trump’s Opinion on Afghanistan Shouldn’t Matter

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As a candidate, Pres. Trump called the war in Afghanistan “futile” and pledged to pull the U.S. out of the quagmire. But in a recent speech, the president announced a plan committed to extending and deepening U.S. military involvement in that country. Trump said he was now convinced “a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for […]

How the Federal Fight Against Sanctuary Cities Undermines the Constitution

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We all need to fight the temptation to abandon constitutional principles when they conflict with our policy preferences. I recently appeared on a radio show to talk about the Tenth Amendment and nullification. The conversation moved along marvelously as I explained Madison’s blueprint, and how state and local governments can thwart unwarrantable federal actions (and […]

Thoughts from Maharrey Head #99: America’s First Immigration Debate

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“10 Minutes Closer to Freedom” In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about America’s first immigration debate and what it reveals about federal power. Immigration ranks among the most contentious political issues in America today. Debates rage about “pathways to citizenship,” building walls and blocking refugees. But Americans often ignore the most […]

James Madison and the Necessary and Proper Clause

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“Necessary and proper” ranks among the most abused clauses in the Constitution. It has been dubbed the “elastic clause” because of the perception that it allows the scope of federal power to expand. The federal government began abusing this clause within years of ratification. In 1800, James Madison countered these early abuses, forcefully arguing that […]

Subverting the Constitution: Madison on General Welfare and Common Defense

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The words “provide for the common defense and general welfare” rank among the most abused phrases in the Constitution. I often refer to this as the “anything and everything clause.” Partisans on both the political left and right use “general welfare and common defense” to justify all kinds of federal actions, from wars to social […]

Thoughts from Maharrey Head #82: The Constitution Is Dead

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“10 Minutes Closer to Freedom” In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about the death of the U.S. Constitution and its irrelevance in today’s politics. Two hundred years ago today (March 3, 2017),  James Madison’s vetoed an infrastructure bill. The president refused to sign the legislation because it was unconstitutional. The federal […]

The Evolution of Sovereignty in American Political Thought: States’ Rights

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This is part 2 of a 2-part series examining the evolution of American political thought as it relates to sovereignty in the political system. You can read part 1 HERE. In the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, and continuing through the post-war era, Americans conceived and developed a revolutionary political idea. They came […]