Posts by William J. Watkins, Jr.
William J. Watkins, Jr. is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books, Crossroads for Liberty, Reclaiming the American Revolution, and Patent Trolls.
Marbury, Crackpots, and Judicial Supremacy


I just returned to the United States after a short-term teaching stint at European University in Tbilisi, Georgia. It seems I’ve arrived home on the tail end of a controversy over the venerable Marbury v. Madison decision. According to luminaries at the Washington Post, anyone who questions the greatness of Marbury is a “crackpot”...
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Constitution Day


Today, by statutory law, is Constitution Day. It is more a wake for the dead than a celebration for one that is living. Actually, the Constitution is dead because so many have insisted on it being a living and breathing document. A Constitution should be a lighthouse, a beacon for the people to gaze...
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Victory for Public Workers at SCOTUS


This decision limits the power of organized labor and gives greater freedom to individual workers.

Religious Liberty Wins at SCOTUS...Sort Of


This was the right result in this case, but the Court has done little to provide meaningful guidance as free exercise and free speech clash with public accommodation statutes making sexual orientation a protected classification.

SCOTUS Arbitration Decision


Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court (5-4) upheld the right of employers and employees to agree to submit disputes to one-on-one arbitration. The decision is NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc. This is a great victory for the right of contract and opting out of the government courts in favor of private dispute resolving entities. I really...
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Sports Betting Decision and Federalism


Last week the Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) that prohibit state authorization and licensing of sports gambling schemes. SCOTUS held that this statute violates the Constitution’s anticommandeering rule. The New York Times sums up the import of the decision as follows: The decision seems certain to result in...
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What Gun Control Advocates Can Learn from London’s Knife Attacks


The powers in London are grappling with a rash of stabbings and wondering what to do. The statist instinct is to take knives from the people. That’s the American response to gun violence and the British response to knife attacks. Yesterday The Express ran a headline: “London bloodbath: 60th violent murder in London just yards...
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California Threatens Free Speech with AB-2943


Proposed legislation, AB-2943, making its way through the California legislature, is the latest example of why east coast folks see California as the land of fruit and nuts.

Spanish Central Government Threatens Catalonia


From the BBC: The prime minister of Spain has two requests for the leader of Catalonia. First: Clarify whether the region is, indeed, declaring independence from Spain. And second: If that is the case, take it back. Otherwise, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says, Spain will suspend Catalonia’s current autonomy, institute direct rule and possibly...
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Crisis in Catalonia Caused by Judiciary


After the violence unleashed at the polls by the Spanish national government, many in Europe are holding their collective breath waiting for Catalonia to declare independence. As we reflect on this crisis in Spain, we would do well to recall just who made all this trouble: the judiciary. The legislature of Catalonia and the...
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