William J. Watkins

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Death of a Propositional Nation
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Death of a Propositional Nation

The mythical nation dedicated to a proposition is dying, and rioters, looters, and social justice warriors are playing Dr. Kevorkian. Because the United States has not reached their construct of the purest Platonic form of equality, it must be euthanized

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Freedom From Monopolies

In June 2017, the European Union fined Google a record-breaking €2.42 billion for abusing the dominance of its popular search engine while building its online shopping service.  Brussels found that Google illegally and artificially endorsed its own price-comparison service in

Twin Threats to the Land of Fire
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Twin Threats to the Land of Fire

My first stroll through Fountain Square in the walking district of Baku, Azerbaijan, revealed the warp and woof of the city.  If I didn’t know otherwise, had someone told me that I was on the Zeil promenade in Frankfurt, Germany,

Splendid Dishonesty
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Splendid Dishonesty

Stephen B. Presser, Chronicles legal-affairs editor, identifies a crisis in American legal education.  In his book Law Professors, he shows us why a newly minted graduate of an elite American law school has no clue how to handle

Antonin Scalia’s Flexible Constitution
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Antonin Scalia’s Flexible Constitution

Who is to decide?  This question animated Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who died of natural causes in mid-February.  He was the longest-serving member of the current Supreme Court.  Nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia was known for his acerbic

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The Ranchers and the Mandatory Minimum

Two Oregon ranchers, Steven Dwight Hammond and Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., have been at the center of ethical and cultural clashes for several years.  Even while a standoff purportedly held in their honor between armed militia and the federal government

Excluding Muslims: Facts and Fictions
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Excluding Muslims: Facts and Fictions

Donald Trump’s call for a moratorium on Muslim immigration has drawn fire from the establishment right.  “It’s a violation of our Constitution, but it also undermines the character of our nation,” Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina told the Des Moines

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How to Keep From Getting Deported

In September, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an illegal alien, although properly found to be a danger to the community, should not be removed from the United States because he considers himself to be a transgender woman. 

Power and Passports
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Power and Passports

In June, the Supreme Court greatly augmented executive power by holding that the president has the exclusive right to grant formal recognition to a foreign sovereign.  This decision further pushes presidential power in the direction of royal prerogative through which

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France Gets a Lickin’

In March, France was given a good spanking by the European Committee on Social Rights (ECSR).  The issue under litigation was France’s brutishness in allowing the corporal punishment of children.  The mission of the ECSR is to judge whether the

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Dabbling in DAPA

In mid-February, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued an injunction enjoining the Obama administration from implementing the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA).  Under DAPA, over four million illegal aliens present in the

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Justice for Tommy

Harvard’s Cass Sunstein recently complained that conservatives’ slippery-slope arguments about the left’s latest push to codify and enforce radical equality are intellectually “lazy.”  Sunstein and his followers give the example of conservative opposition to gay marriage, which often includes the

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Blame Bushmaster

The families of nine of the 26 people killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit.  The killings were carried out by Adam Lanza, a mentally disturbed 20-year-old living with his mother, Nancy.  On

Farewell, Professor
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Farewell, Professor

Prof. William J. Quirk taught at the University of South Carolina School of Law for 44 years.  In that capacity, he influenced and encouraged hundreds of students. A favorite class was his survey of the Constitution.  Guided by Professor Quirk,

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The Machinery of Equality

Christians objecting to assisting with homosexual “marriage” ceremonies continue to suffer defeat in various state courts.  The most recent example comes out of New York, where a Christian couple declined to host a homosexual wedding and reception at their farm. 

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Spooking the Left’s Hobby Horse

Based on reactions from the political left to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., one would think that American women have been stripped of fundamental constitutional protections.  Gone are the franchise, free speech, and the right to serve on

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Recess Games

“Supreme Court sharply limits presidential power on recess appointments.”  Thus read the headline in the Los Angeles Times after the High Court’s decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Canning.  Applying its spin to the decision, National Review opined

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Let Us Pray (But to Whom?)

In May, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause is not offended when a city council opens its meetings with a short prayer (Town of Greece v. Galloway).  While this result seems to be an

Picturing a Lesbian Wedding
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Picturing a Lesbian Wedding

Americans are getting a taste of unintended consequences from overly broad public-accommodation laws enacted in the past half-century.  Christian business owners are especially burdened when individuals practicing what once was considered perversity are deemed “suspect classes” and are thus entitled

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Lies, Damn Lies, and RFRA

The headline in the New York Times trumpeted the paper’s approval: “Arizona Governor vetoes bill on refusal of services to gays.”  Had Jan Brewer not done the right thing, the nefarious bill passed by the Arizona legislature “would have given

Restoring the Earth to the Living
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Restoring the Earth to the Living

When speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, Jehovah gave explicit instructions on the Year of Jubilee.  Once the people came into the Promised Land, every 50 years they were to observe the Jubilee.  Loans were to be written off, slaves

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High on Federalism

As the New Year rolled in, lines formed at Colorado pot shops.  Some customers seeking to secure their first legal purchase of Mary Jane had to wait several hours.  Once they made it into the shops they were struck by

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Planning to Fail

“What did Republicans get for 16 days of a government shutdown with people being hurt?  We have absolutely nothing to show for it, other than a damaged brand.”  This is how second-term Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) described the events of

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A Supreme Disqualification

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court once again trampled on the rights of the states.  The media took little notice.

Since it became a state in 1912, Arizona has had a citizenship requirement for voters.  In 2004, the people of

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Old Heresies Die Hard

The NAACP of North Carolina has seen to it that the moribund century-old teachings of theological liberals are still given voice in state politics.

Although few people in the 21st century specifically invoke Walter Rauschenbusch’s Social Gospel, it is very

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Forever 1965

In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).  Under the formula, states or their political subdivisions are “covered jurisdictions” if they maintained in the 1960’s and

Making More of the House
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Making More of the House

Throughout the 2012 political season, attention was fixed on the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney.  A few other races garnered some media attention, but Americans treated the presidential election as the Super Bowl of politics.  The winner, we

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Sharia Rising

The crescent moon is rising over Deutschland.  After France, Germany has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.  According to government statistics, approximately 3 to 3.5 million Muslims live in Germany.  Of these, only about 80 percent are citizens. 

Storming the Castle Doctrine
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Storming the Castle Doctrine

Americans have been captivated by the February incident in Sanford, Florida, that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and the eventual arrest and charging of George Zimmerman.  If the case could be resolved today, Trayvon Martin’s family would still

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When Judicial Supremacists Attack

Partisan.  That’s the complaint many Americans have with the state of politics.  The country would be better off, we are told, if only the Republicans and Democrats could put aside petty differences and work together.  Can’t the left and right

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Recent and Permanent

When the people’s fundamental law is ignored by the legislature, the remedy is typically to elect new representatives to set things right.  If the people’s fundamental law is transgressed by the courts, the correction is often not so easy.  Many

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The Revolution That Wasn’t

“A tremendous victory for property rights”—that’s how the Castle Coalition described voter approval of Initiative 31, which placed limitations on the power of eminent domain in Mississippi.  The November 8, 2011, results made Mississippi the 44th state to modify

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DOMA’s Fifth Column

In February, President Obama directed the Department of Justice to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Immediately, many conservatives decried the announcement.  Curt Levy of the Committee for Justice described Obama’s decision as “outrageous” and

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Federalizing Funerals

The Westboro Baptist Church and its bizarre octogenarian pastor, Fred Phelps, won a major victory at the Supreme Court in March.  In an 8-1 decision, the Court reversed a multimillion-dollar award to the family of Marine L.Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who

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Sharia Scores

On November 2, Oklahomans amended their constitution to prohibit their state courts from “look[ing] to the precepts of other nations or cultures” when adjudicating a case.  The amendment specifically prohibits consideration of “international law or Sharia Law.”  State Question 755,

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Heightened Security

Federal judges in California have been busy.  In August, Judge Vaughn Walker held that it is irrational to limit marriage to one man and one woman.  Following in Judge Walker’s footsteps, Judge Virginia A. Phillips struck down the congressional prohibition

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A Watershed for the Left

During the week of December 6, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger.  In the original decision, U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker held that California’s Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution

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Just One More Justice . . .

At the polls last November, conservatives and libertarians who vote according to conscience had two options: Bob Barr (Libertarian Party) and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party).  Combined, these two garnered only 719,655 votes—a paltry amount compared with John McCain’s 59,082,002.  For

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Obamianity 101

An understanding of sin is central to our embrace of Christianity and the saving work of Jesus Christ.  Scripture clearly teaches that “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our

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Britain’s Fiery Furnace

Last month, two brave British schoolboys were given detention because they refused to kneel down and pray to Allah during a religious-education lesson.  The boys attend classes at Alsager High School near Stoke-on-Trent, situated approximately midway between Manchester and Birmingham. 

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Liberty’s Close Call

Americans view liberty as a birthright guaranteed by a written Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Feeling overly secure in their liberties, most cannot imagine any branch of the federal government abrogating constitutional rights such as the freedom of the press

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The Lone Ranger’s Legacy

After serving for more than three decades on the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice William Rehnquist died on Saturday, September 3, at the age of 80, having lost his battle with thyroid cancer.  With Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s recent announcement

Raiching the Constitution Over the Coals
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Raiching the Constitution Over the Coals

The Supreme Court is often described as the final redoubt of states’ rights.  In the last decade, we have heard much about the Court’s “New Federalism” jurisprudence.  The Court, we have been warned, is seeking to return the Constitution to

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Setting a Standard

States’ rights suffered another blow last October, when President Clinton signed into law a $58-billion transportation bill. Tucked away amidst the election-year pork-barrel spending was a provision which, in effect, sets a nationwide drunk-driving standard. Under section 351 of the