Friday, October 2, 2015

Consistent with the Constitution, What Can We Do About Gun Violence?

Guns don't kill people. People kill people. But they mainly use guns to kill people. Every year twelve thousand Americans are gunned down by other Americans; in addition there are more than twenty thousand American suicides by gun annually. In the past 20 years we have lost over 600,000 Americans to gun violence. That's more than we lost in combat in World War II; twelve times more than we lost in Vietnam; thirty times more than we lost in Korea; one hundred times more than we lost in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined; and three hundred times more than we have lost to terrorists. In fact, over the last 20 years we have lost more Americans to gun violence than we lost in combat in all of our wars and every terrorist attack over the last 80 years.

We think of war as a terrible scourge. Domestic gun violence is four times as deadly as war.

It is way past time for this country to adopt common-sense gun control legislation. What laws would be constitutional?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Constitutionality of Defunding Planned Parenthood

Would it be constitutional for a state or the federal government to defund Planned Parenthood? The answer lies in the interpretation of the Spending Clause and the First Amendment.

Monday, September 14, 2015

County Clerk Kim Davis and the Establishment Clause

County Clerk Kim Davis contends that she has a constitutional right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples under the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution. But she forgets that Freedom of Religion consists of two rights: not only the right of the individual to the free exercise of religion, but also the prohibition against the establishment of religion by the government.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Birthright Citizenship

Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for President, contends that if a child is born in the United States but the parents are undocumented immigrants, then the child is not a citizen of the United States. Several other Republican candidates for President have jumped on his bandwagon against "birthright citizenship." Are they right?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Follow the Law": Ohio Judges Must Perform Same-Sex Marriages

On Friday, August 7, the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Professional Conduct issued an opinion entitled "Judicial Performance of Civil Marriages of Same-Sex Couples." The Board ruled:
A judge who exercises the authority to perform civil marriages may not refuse to perform same-sex marriages while continuing to perform opposite-sex marriages. A judge may not delcine to perform all marriages in order to avoid marrying same-sex couples based on his or personal, moral, or religious beliefs.
The Board's opinion is available at

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Could the IRS Deny Tax-Exempt Status to Religious Schools That Discriminate on the Basis of Sexual Orientation?

No, not at this time. In my opinion, the courts would allow the Internal Revenue Service to deny tax-exempt status to religious schools that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation only if Congress made such discrimination in education illegal. If Congress does that, then of course no school that engages in acts of illegal discrimination should be entitled to claim tax-exempt status.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

If Income Distribution Were Fair, Income Redistribution Wouldn't Be Necessary

Economic conservatives decry the redistribution of wealth through tax and spending programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act, and they have a point. Is it fair to rob Peter to pay Paul? They also believe that hard work should be rewarded, and in this I could not agree more. Hard work should be fairly rewarded. The problem is that they fail to apply these ideals in a consistent and principled manner to our present form of capitalism.