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William Watkins Archive

William J. Watkins, Jr. is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute and author of the Independent books, Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution, Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy, and Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

Confederate Monuments and Civil Discourse



Last week the City of New Orleans removed a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. This was the fourth, and final, Confederate monument the city has removed since late April. As usual in modern America, civil and intelligent discourse has been lacking in the debate about Confederate monuments. The Huffington Post states the removal...
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SCOTUS Slaps Patent Trolls



In a unanimous decision (TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC), the U.S. Supreme Court gave a kick in the rear to patent trolls. The Verge has this article on the case. Patent trolls obtain patents not for the purpose of producing an invention or a technology but to license and enforce the patents. In other...
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Trinity Lutheran and a Response to Michael Stokes Paulsen and NRO



On May 3, The Wall Street Journal posted a short op-ed I wrote on the Trinity Lutheran case. (Sorry, but the op-ed is behind a pay wall; however, here is a blog post that gives some background to the case and my first impressions.) Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, alleging I was “wrong on every...
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Could the Civil War Have Been Avoided??



Trump is taking heat from the media on his ramblings about whether a leader such as Andrew Jackson could have crafted a compromise to avoid the 620,000 deaths in the Civil War. The general view seems to be that Trump is crazy for questioning the inevitability and justness of the slaughter. Of course, everyone knows...
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Thoughts on the Trinity Lutheran Case and SCOTUS



The media has been reporting on the arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the so-called “playground case.” I’ve had a chance to examine the briefs and arguments and wanted to share these thoughts. First, a bit of background. The state of Missouri operates a program whereby it reimburses nonprofits when they install rubber...
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Sanctuary Cities and Federal Dollars



Sanctuary Cities are in an uproar over President Trump’s executive order promising to withhold federal money from “sanctuary jurisdictions.” They are seeking court intervention to nullify the order. Sanctuary cities, as a general matter, prohibit local cops from cooperating with Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents, forbid the local cops from notifying the feds regarding...
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Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson!



April 13, 2017, marks the 274th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth. Most Americans know him as the drafter of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia. While these are great accomplishments, what we should remember him for most of all in this age of centralization...
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Charles Murray and Middlebury College



The Atlantic, not a place to find conservative or libertarian views, has a good essay from a self-proclaimed liberal on the events at Middlebury College. Just as a recap, a student group at Middlebury College invited Dr. Charles Murray to speak on his book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. Also invited...
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PC Cowards at Yale Rename Calhoun College



According to the BBC, Yale President Peter Salovey announced that Calhoun College would be renamed because John C. Calhoun’s legacy and principles are “at odds with the university’s values.” Calhoun served in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, as Defense Secretary, and as Vice President of the United States. He graduated Phi Beta...
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Ninth Circuit and the Immigration Order: One Thing Missing



The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate the travel ban imposed by President Trump. The New York Times has this story on the litigation, and the Court’s opinion can be found here. The case is likely headed to the Supreme Court. Of course, if he’s not hankering for a fight, President Trump...
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