Melancton Smith Archive

Justices Breyer and Ginsburg Would Hold the Death Penalty Unconstitutional



Today, the Supreme Court in an ongoing effort to micromanage state laws and procedures reviewed whether a certain chemical cocktail used by Oklahoma in executions is constitutional. In a 5-4 decision, the Court rejected the challenge to the use of the chemical midazolam. What is especially of interest is a dissenting opinion in which...
Read More »

When Thinking about Obergefell We Must Distinguish between Policy and Law



Among the friends of liberty, there is much confusion about whether the Supreme Court’s Obergefell opinion is a vindication of liberty or an usurpation of power. When thinking about the opinion we should be aware of two different modes of analysis: policymaker and judge. How we see Obergefell depends on which mode we have switched...
Read More »

Libertarians Should Be Cautious in Celebrating Obergefell



To no one’s surprise, five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court held that “the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same sex may not be deprived of that right and...
Read More »

Obesity Can Be a Disability, Says European Court of Justice



The European Court of Justice has just issued an opinion holding that obesity can be a disability requiring employers to “take appropriate measures . . . to enable a person with a disability to have access to, participate in, or advance in employment, or to undergo training, unless such measures would impose a disproportionate burden...
Read More »

Obamacare’s Tax Credits in Jeopardy



Today, we received dueling circuit court decisions on Obamacare’s tax credit component. The D.C. Circuit held (2-1) that the tax credits do not apply to health insurance purchases through an exchange established by the federal government, whereas the Fourth Circuit held that they do. If the subsidies are not available for insurance purchased through exchanges established by the feds, then Obamacare...
Read More »

Why Hobby Lobby Is Not an Assault on Women



The reactions from the progressive side of the fence to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. was stunning. The spin is that American women have been stripped of fundamental constitutional protections. Sandra Fluke at The Washington Post’s blog claimed that “[t]he Hobby Lobby case is an attack on women.” The White House lamented that the...
Read More »

What Would Obama Have Done with the Leaks in the Pentagon Papers?



“I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case.” That is what Daniel Ellsberg says would have happened had Obama been in power in the 1970s. His interview is available at Wonkblog. As readers might recall, Ellsberg gave a reporter a copy of United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967:...
Read More »

Verizon Surveillance: Do We Feel Safer?



Senator Rand Paul has a provoking essay over at the Guardian. He takes a look at some of Senator Obama’s stances on civil liberties and then examines what he has done as president. The focus is on the hub-bub surrounding Verizon phone records. Of course, the matter is bigger than just one company. The...
Read More »

SCOTUS Upholds Taking of DNA from Arrestee



Today the Court decided Maryland v. King, and held that if the police have probable cause to make an arrest for a “serious offense” they may also as a matter of course use a cotton swab to take the arrestee’s DNA. The Court said that this was a legitimate police booking procedure akin to taking a suspect’s...
Read More »

SCOTUS Hears Arguments on the Voting Rights Act



SCOTUS heard arguments today regarding the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which permits the federal government to block even minor election changes made by certain jurisdictions covered under the law, if those changes are deemed to reduce minority voting power. The covered jurisdictions, mostly in the South, are those with a...
Read More »

  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org