February 5, 1937: FDR’s Court-Packing Plan & the Demise of States’ Rights

On February 5, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced a plan to change the composition of the Supreme Court.  He had been stymied by a Court that steadfastly refused to approve many of his New Deal measures.  He was determined to get around the Court and to get his measures approved. The Supreme Court had […]

Federalism Can Save the Republican Party—and Social Conservatives, too.

Should the GOP boot social conservatives from its ranks? Are these (often religious) conservatives hurting the Republican Party? Did the pro-life wing give us another four years of Barack Obama? I’ve been stewing over these questions since the election. I have an admitted bias: I lean conservative on some social issues (very libertarian on others), […]

This Day in History: Washington, Religion, and New Jersey

Today’s Supreme Court may believe in a strict separation between church and state, but George Washington certainly did not. A letter that he wrote on this day in history is a small window into his perspective on the subject. (A more complete discussion of his views can be found in my book with Joe Smith, Under […]

Washington’s Forgotten Thanksgiving Proclamation

Washington’s first Thanksgiving Proclamation (1789) is a popular post today, but I thought I would do something a little bit different. Washington’s second Thanksgiving Proclamation (1795) is often overlooked – or even completely forgotten. It should not be. Washington issued this latter proclamation in 1795 on his own initiative.  In sharp contrast, he had issued […]

There they go again, misquoting Founders & blasting the Electoral College

In May, I blogged that an LA Times editor had misquoted James Madison, pretending that Madison was opposed to the Electoral College. In the LA Times piece, Madison was taken very badly out of context. Madison’s words were not aimed at the Electoral College; he was writing of his discontent with the back-up election process, […]