Category Archives: Constitution
This often happens to me. I start down a thought road, planning to talk about one thing, and then I get off on a different road. As Sherlock Holmes described it, I follow the thread where it leads. I had planned to talk about this weeks refusal by the Supreme Court to issue a writ of cert to hear Gee v Planned Parenthood, but I got interested in Justice Thomas’ dissent.
Understandably, he is upset at the refusal of the Court to hear the case. There are those who believe that his dissent is rooted in ideology, and it may be. Clearly, he hates abortion and would vote to overturn Roe v Wade faster than a Michael Cohen news story gets on the air. But he does make a valid point – the jurisdiction and duty of the Court, as intended by the Framers, was to resolve questions such as this case asks. Especially when there are differing opinions as to what is going on with a given law in the lower Courts.
There once came a time when the economic situation was chaotic. A long war had drained national resources and there was an overabundance of land and property available for speculative deals. To that end, numerous banks began making speculative loans backed up by literally nothing. The overextension of easy credit along with declining prices of non-land goods was causing a great deal of concern. And when the crap hit the fan, all hell broke loose.
Banks panicked and began calling in loans and foreclosing on the properties.
And then the politicians got involved…
The Constitution guarantees each and every state a “republican form of government.” So is Florida’s rather hectic and confused use of multiple methods of amending its State Constitution actually “Constitutional” in the sense of being done by a “republican form of government” as guaranteed in Article IV, Section 4?
Once upon a time, 1633, to be exact, King Charles issued a Royal Charter for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation. Oddly enough, by the time Rhode Island got around to ratifying the Constitution in May of 1790 (the final original State to do so), the charter was still in operation and was held to be in compliance with Article IV Section 4’s guarantee of “a republican form of government.”
By the time the 1840s rolled around, most of the people living in Rhode Island disagreed and decided to write their own State Constitution and elect their own Governor. This did not sit well with either the current government of the State nor with the President of the United States. So when the two sides tried to come to blows, it went about like you would expect it to have, since you’ve never heard about it or seen it in your high school history books.
But it did teach us quite a bit about what a “republican form of government” really is…
In the economic doldrums of the late 1970s, the State of Michigan hit on an idea to take over some land it liked and build a car plant which would create jobs and economic benefit. The people who owned the land weren’t all that thrilled about the idea, nevertheless, the state persisted. Eventually, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that the taking was a legitimate use of eminent domain for economic benefit. Thirty-seven years later, it didn’t turn out to be such a great idea.
The State of Indiana argued yesterday that seizing a person’s car for doing 5mph over the speed limit was not an “excessive fine.” Seriously. That’s not a joke. They really argued that. The Supreme Court didn’t think that it was funny.