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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

SCOTUS and Trinity Lutheran: Should We Celebrate?



The Supreme Court ruled this week that the state of Missouri cannot exclude non-profit, religious organizations from programs for which secular non-profits are eligible. The Washington Post has a news story on the opinion here. According to the Court “But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise...
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“The Slants” Win on Free Speech



In Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court handed down an important First Amendment decision. This case dealt with a band’s application for federal trademark registration of the band’s name, “The Slants.” The Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) denied the application based on 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), which prohibits the registration of trademarks that may “disparage ....
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Can Christians Serve in Bernie Sanders’s Amerika?



Bernie Sanders does not believe that orthodox Christians should be able to hold high office in the government of the United States. Sanders made this clear when voicing his opposition to confirmation of Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Sanders took umbrage at an op-ed...
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Young Americans and Hope for the Future



Bob Higgs, in a recent post on all the foolishness in American higher education, reminds us of what a danger we face as our colleges attempt to mold students into young Jacobins. In light of the state of American education, we need some bright spot on what is a dismal landscape. One bright spot...
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Response to Gordon Lloyd’s Review of Crossroads for Liberty



Gordon Lloyd has a review up on the Law of Liberty Blog of my book Crossroads for Liberty. Lloyd is the Dockson Emeritus Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University and has been heavily involved in the creation of the useful website TeachingAmericanHistory.org. I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Lloyd a few years...
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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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