This Day in History: Unintended consequences of the 17th Amendment

On this day in 1913, the 17th Amendment is ratified. For the first time in American history, voters would be able to directly elect their United States Senators. The decision seems like a no-brainer. Shouldn’t the people get to elect their own Senators? Unfortunately, the amendment had many unintended consequences. Originally, the Constitution provided that […]

This Day in History: James Madison reports that New York has ratified the Constitution!

On this day in 1788, James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” writes a letter to his father. New York had ratified the U.S. Constitution only one day earlier! The Confederation Congress, Madison reported, “are at present making the arrangements for putting the Government into operation.” The New York ratifying convention had been in an […]

Article V: Protecting the “General Liberty or Security of the People”

On or around this day in 1788, Alexander Hamilton was working on a paper that would defend the ability of STATES—not Congress—to begin the constitutional amendment process.[1] To date, this state-initiated process has never been used. Not even one time! Perhaps a little background is in order. Article V of the United States Constitution provides […]

George Washington versus Chuck Hagel on Military Chaplains

In the world according to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, military chaplains are not essential personnel who can continue working during a government shutdown. But family counselors are. George Washington must be spinning in his grave. Indeed, Hagel must have worked really hard to twist existing congressional provisions into a prohibition on paying chaplains. The […]

FDR, the Constitution, and Obamacare

  What on earth does FDR — an early 20th century President — have to do with 21st century health care issues like Obamacare?  More than you might think. FDR laid the groundwork for American expectations that the federal government could intervene in matters such as health care.  He did this despite language to the contrary […]