Newspaper’s freedom of information use questioned

The decision of a New York newspaper to publish the names of handgun owners has sparked a new debate about the Freedom of Information Act and how it relates to two constitutional amendments. The First Amendment allows the media to publish information of public interest, and the Second Amendment, as interpreted under a Supreme Court […]

The Constitution in 2013: Gains or losses on rights?

The Supreme Court–the place in America where the Constitution most often gets new meaning–moves into 2013 after a momentous year of re-examining the core constitutional structure of the U.S. government. As the New Year unfolds, the court switches its center of attention from constitutional architecture to constitutional rights. Many other public actors, of course, contribute […]

Washington’s Christmas crossing as a special ops mission

On a blustery Christmas Day in late 1776, George Washington led a daring attack in what we would call today a “special ops” mission to attack pro-British forces in Trenton. At midday, historical re-enactors will celebrate the event by crossing the Delaware River in front of several thousand people, in a relatively safe event. The […]

Five things to fear most about the fiscal cliff

If politicians can’t agree on a fix to the current fiscal cliff situation in Washington, you’ll likely be missing a few thousand dollars from your paycheck next year. Here’s a quick guide to five fiscal-cliff outcomes that could directly affect you. The fiscal cliff is the expiration of tax cuts made since Bill Clinton’s presidency […]

Living dangerously in a second nuclear age

Many academic conferences and government panels have been convened this year to recall the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.  This was the most dangerous crisis of the Cold War, and it’s surely worth studying for this reason. But the Cuban Missile Crisis gets too much attention. Focusing on any single crisis […]

Boehner’s Doomsday Plan fizzles out, fiscal cliff on course

In a shocking development, John Boehner’s Plan B, or Doomsday Plan, was defeated by his own party on Thursday night, leaving the nation on course to go over the fiscal cliff in about 10 days. Stories were coming out on Friday about a dramatic meeting in the House basement on Thursday night and a Republican […]

How would the Mayans handle the fiscal cliff?

All things Mayan are getting a lot of publicity this week, and one topic we’ve tossed around is how would such an advanced society handle a current problem: the fiscal cliff scenario? In reality, researchers are discovering new clues and facts about the Maya every day, and no one knows for sure how they would […]

The historical connection between Prohibition, guns, and drugs

In recent weeks, the United States has witnessed two parallel narratives unfolding over the contest between freedom and regulation in American society. On November 6, two states–Washington and Colorado–passed voter referendums decriminalizing recreational marijuana use in the face of federal policy that dictates otherwise. And on December 14, a young man walked into a Connecticut […]

More signs that the fiscal cliff seems unavoidable

Events were moving quickly on Thursday that indicated a fiscal cliff solution would almost certainly be delayed until next year, after John Boehner made a high-stakes move in the House. House speaker John Boehner was moving forward with a politically risky vote on Thursday night to pass two bills that would hike taxes on millionaires […]

Constitution Check: Who has the power to fill the president’s cabinet seats?

Lyle Denniston looks at the controversy over two Cabinet nominations by President Barack Obama, and how it further erodes the constitutional respectability of the nomination and confirmation process. The statement at issue: “With Chuck Hagel, a former senator from Nebraska, emerging as a front-runner to be President Obama’s next secretary of defense, critics are taking […]