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An Odd Argument

The 2nd Circuit Court ruled this past week that citizens united (yes, that Citizen’s United) must turn over its donor lists to the Attorney General of the State of New York.

Citizen’s United had argued that donations to the organization represented anonymous political speech, and therefore the state had no reason to have a law requiring that they turn these lists over to them. The state argued that such information is necessary to prevent fraud by non-profits and donors seeking to influence the politics of the State. Read the rest of this entry


The 1st Amendment Right To Be An A**hole


In 44bce, following the death of Julius Cæsar, Mark Anthony wasn’t really impressing people in Rome with his leadership and management. Despite his inspiring speech at Cæsars funeral pyre, he was basically making a pigs breakfast of things.

Opposing him was Cicero. Here was a Constitutionalist, a leader and a man of words. And it was to words which Cicero turned in his very public condemnation and criticism of Anthony. He delivered a series of fourteen speeches, known as the Phillipics, in which he rips Anthony for everything from his management to his dalliances with women (even one beneath his station) and even implies that Anthony might be, just possibly, at least once or maybe twice, homosexual. Read the rest of this entry

Liberty of Conscience – Virginia Part 1

Virginia – Part 1

Of all the states that – even for a fleeting moment – thought that they might be able to go their own way and reject the Constitution, Virginia is probably the only one that realistically had a chance of success. But Virginia is also the center of The Enlightenment in America; and it is her leaders who have the nations confidence. So much so, that James Madison almost won’t make it home in time to be elected to the Virginia Convention, because he is busy conducting the Nations business which is entrusted to Virginia.

It is here that the most eloquent Anti-federalist of all, Patrick Henry, will probably join forces with George Mason, a man who attended the Philadelphia Convention but refused to sign the final document. Together, they look to face down the Federalists. If they succeed, Virginia will not ratify and it will be likely that other States remaining to consider the Constitution will follow her example.

Patrick Henry will take the lead. He has a long history of being a defender of individual, particularly religious conscience, and States rights. He has opposed Madison and Jefferson before; this time he means to pull out all of the stops to prevent what he sees as a usurpation of power from the people. Mason has become surprisingly (one might say, Samuel Adamsish) passive. Madison, having just made the convention, faces the most important task of his life…

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