Monday, July 12, 2010

Announcing Constitutional Law 103: Best Supreme Court Opinions --Justice Thomas's Concurring Opinion in McDonald v. Chicago

Those readers who are familiar with my commentaries on current legal and political issues (www.henrymarkholzer.com and www.henrymarkholzer.blogspot.com), my Internet course entitled Constitutional Law 101: Basic Course, and my Constitutional Law 102 course entitled “Worst Supreme Court Decisions” know the perspective from which I view constitutional law: I am an Originalist— meaning I believe that, at the threshold, the Constitution means what it says and, if there is doubt, it means what it meant to those who wrote it and to others of that time. While some Constitutional provisions are clear (e.g., the age to be President) but others more difficult to understand (e.g., “establishment” of religion), the analytic task is the same no matter what.

During my law school years and for too long after, the Warren Court was in full swing, rewriting the “Living Constitution” by contributing to the destruction of federalism, erasing separation of powers boundaries, by “incorporating” provisions of the Bill of Rights against the states, fostering the administrative state—and, in the process, undermining individual rights, marginalizing limited government, subverting free markets, relinquishing national sovereignty. So, too, have been that Court’s successors.

Because of this perversion of the Constitution of the United States of America, in all my years practicing, teaching and writing about constitutional law, there has been a downward spiral in my respect for most judges, especially most of those who have served, and now serve, on the Supreme Court of the United States.

My disrespect for the Court’s collectivist-statist, intellectually dishonest decisions has hit rock bottom in the last decade-or-so. Affirmative action, national security, eminent domain, prisoner’s rights. And more.

As a result, my writing and teaching has had an unmistakable negative, sometimes even cynical tone.

While I continue to believe that my reaction is well justified, I recognize the danger of painting with too broad a brush—by not recognizing the occasional opinions (though not necessarily majority ones) which have respected individual rights, understood limited government, recognized the efficacy of free markets, and realized the danger of national sovereignty’s erosion and national security’s deterioration.

Hence, I have now created Constitutional Law 103: Best Supreme Court Opinions . . . And Why They Give Hope To America Today.

It is those I will present on my website for the benefit of laypersons who want to become knowledgeable about what Supreme Court opinions could be like, and what a few have been.

Access to the opinions is free of charge.

There is only one way for those interested in these “Best” opinions to be informed when a new one has been posted on my website: by receiving my blog (http://www.henrymarkholzer.blogspot.com/) — for which one must be registered (at no cost).

The blog announcement will contain the name of the “Best” opinion, a brief description of its subject, and a link to my website’s main Constitutional Law 103 page.

At the bottom of that page(s) there will be an ongoing list and brief description of each “Best” opinion, and a link to it. Postings will appear irregularly, at least every few weeks.

If you find Constitutional Law 103: Best Supreme Court Opinions . . . And What They Mean For America Today to be of value, please forward each blog notification to as many other interested people as you can.

For the first of the “Best,” I am pleased to present at Constitutional Law 103 the June 28, 2010 55-page concurring opinion of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in McDonald v. City of Chicago. There, Justice Thomas eschewed the baseless “Incorporation Doctrine” as a means of protecting the Second Amendment against state/city encroachment, instead resting the right to bear arms on the “Privileges or Immunities Clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment. In doing so, Justice Thomas provided the unanswerable analytical template for the protection of countless other rights already lost, those now threatened by the Obama Administration and its increasingly radical Supreme Court appointees, and other rights soon to be violated.

Justice Thomas’s opinion is the most important ever written concerning the meaning of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment.