Originalism--the theory that we should Interpret the Constitution according to the public meaning of its words at the time of its ratification--serves important instrumental goals. It promises to give relatively clear and objective definitions to crucial but contestable terms, such as “cruel and unusual” or “due process of law,” by recurring to the linguistic usage of those who ratified the Constitution. That interpretive process, though hardly easy, at least protects us from the sort of judicial casuistry that threatens to drain all fixed meaning from the Constitution’s words. ... Originalism has another instrumental virtue: It tends to generate such substantively attractive results as limited government, the rule of law, and respect for individual rights. For that, we can credit not just the sound political judgments of the Founders but also, and more generally, the supermajoritarian constraints imposed on Constitutional ratification. Because the ratification process has to satisfy so many parties, who have many conflicting interests, the Constitution and its amendments tend to support universal values. Contemporary judges, because they do not face those similar constraints, risk following the twists and turns of case law toward unlimited government, arbitrary laws, and disregard for individual rights. Originalism, by recurring to the Constitutional meanings that won ratification, offers a way (though not the only or necessarily best way) to stave off that ugly outcome.--Tom BellPhoto link here.
I understand why Dr. Roubini, who is an academic, would want to re-read Marx. I can see where Mr. Magnus would feel that, in order to make his real argument to the state and the people, he could get better traction by saying something a little scary. I’m not surprised, really, that the same medium that circulates videos of cats playing the piano also re-circulates and resuscitates long-dead and discredited ideas like Marxism. Bringing Marx back from the grave is not helpful, though. Marx was wrong because his model society, of human behavior, was wrong. Haven’t we had enough of the wrong models already?--Infinite Guest
Beijing tells foreigners that they can understand the city, that we have the same sort of buildings: the Bird’s Nest, the CCTV tower. Officials who wear a suit and tie like you say we are the same and we can do business. But they deny us basic rights. You will see migrants’ schools closed. You will see hospitals where they give patients stitches—and when they find the patients don’t have any money, they pull the stitches out. It’s a city of violence.--Ai Weiwei
Newly obtained emails show that the White House was better informed about a failed gun-tracking operation on the border with Mexico than was previously known. Three White House national security officials were given some details about the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious. The operation allowed firearms to be illegally purchased, with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. But the effort went out of control after agents lost track of many of the weapons. The supervisor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation in Phoenix specifically mentioned Fast and Furious in at least one email to a White House national security official, and two other White House colleagues were briefed on reports from the supervisor, according to White House emails and a senior administration official. But the senior administration official said the emails, obtained Thursday by The Times, did not prove that anyone in the White House was aware of the covert "investigative tactics" of the operation.--Richard Serrano
The Fremont, Calif. firm, [Solyndra], which promised two years ago that it could help create new clean-tech jobs, announced Wednesday it was closing its doors and laying off workers. Taxpayers might now be responsible for repaying Solyndra’s loan, part of an estimated $80 billion in subsidies the Obama administration had committed to clean technology projects and innovation in this country since 2009. In 2009, Solyndra received the Energy Department’s first loan under the new administration’s program to spur clean technology innovation. Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu had visited Solyndra’s plant, and Vice President Biden spoke at its groundbreaking via live video. Each touted the company as a model of the administration’s effort to grow a “green” industry and create millions of new American jobs.--Carol Leonnig and Joe Stephens
[President Obama]’s having his own teachable moment between campaigning and experienced governing. First, he blamed the Bush administration, then he blamed Congress, and now he’s saying [to voters], ‘It’s your fault for expecting too much of me.’ The last thing voters want to hear are excuses or whining. You can’t offer excuses and then be an inspirational leader.--Ron Bonjean
A 9.1 percent unemployment rate is a serious handicap for an incumbent. But it’s not too late for President Obama to change course and make America a friendlier environment for job creation by changing regulations. His cabinet secretaries control regulations that are now discouraging growth. A few examples. President Obama could ask EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to hold off on new environmental regulations until unemployment goes down. He could ask the NLRB acting general counsel to drop the charges against Boeing for opening a new plant in South Carolina. He could ask Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to speed up on drilling permits. He could ask Labor Department Secretary Hilda Solis to go slow on new dust regulations that will result in closure of coal mines, and new regulations on federal contractors for hiring veterans that will cause endless paperwork. There’s Dodd-Frank regulations too. The list goes on, it’s just up to the president….--Diana Furchtgott-Roth