Not a marriage

Marriage is the coupling of two adults; that is, marriage is a relationship of monogamous copulation. That is why marriage is the union of a man and a woman for life. Two men or two women cannot copulate together. More than two adults cannot be monogamous. A marriage begins when it is consummated, which means […]

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Custom-made disagreement

I’ve written a few times before about U.S. Supreme Court cases, without claiming legal expertise. This time it’s the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, with oral arguments presented yesterday. This case is important because of the culture war implications and interesting because of the need to draw a line between behavior the state can prohibit and behavior

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Principles of Religious Liberty

On October 6, 2017, in response to a Presidential order on religious liberty, the U.S. Justice Department issued twenty principles as guidance to all executive departments and agencies stating federal legal protections for religious liberty. For the full text, see here. Below are the principles. Principles of Religious Liberty The freedom of religion is a

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Religious freedom in two senses

I last wrote about religious freedom here. The post concerns how to define religion for purposes of religious freedom. Basically, there are two ways to define religion: (1) a narrow, traditional sense in which religion means one of the world religions, which are concerned with worship of God or gods and/or following a certain way

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Trust and America

President-elect Donald Trump is about to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Many people feel an anxiety and fear not felt since the election of Abraham Lincoln, whose election led to the secession of the southern states. Why is there such apprehension? The simple answer is a lack of trust. There

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Constitutional authority undermined

I’m not a constitutional lawyer, but those who are have been sounding the alarm over the actions of a Supreme Court and President that are extra-constitutional. I write to point out that an official under a constitution who officially acts outside that constitution has undermined their legitimacy. The constitution remains but the official who sets

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Positive vs. negative authority

In constitutional republics the founding documents provide the positive basis for political authority. In the U.S. the Constitution delineates the authority of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Thus the President could do only what he (so far only he) is authorized by the Constitution to do: act as Commander in Chief of

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Authorizing legislation

Congress passes a bill to authorize a government program and expenditure of funds before passing an appropriations bill to approve the expenditure of funds. Authorization bills cover multiple years (such as 3 or 6) whereas appropriations are usually annual. Some programs such as so-called entitlements do not follow this process. One advantage of periodic authorizations is that they

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Repealing legislation

The Founders did “better than they knew” when writing the U.S. Constitution. They wisely separated the legislative, executive, and judicial powers. They also wisely made the legislature bicameral with an executive veto to make new laws difficult to enact. However, now that many, many laws have been passed, we can see that the difficulty in

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