Constitution

The unprecedented campaign against free speech

The unprecedented campaign against free speech

The political left's campaign to silence opponents and reorder society in accordance with their personal beliefs is in many ways the single greatest threat to America's experiment in self-governance, writes Mark Holden. The unprecedented campaign against free speech By Mark Holden. Originally published in The Hill. The liberal Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once warned of the biggest danger facing free speech: "If you have no doubt of your premises or your power, and want a certain result with all your heart, you naturally express your wishes in law, and sweep away all opposition." Yet many lawmakers today are…
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AFP Foundation wins a battle for free speech for everyone

AFP Foundation wins a battle for free speech for everyone

Americans for Prosperity Foundation achieves a victory for free speech and free association. Must donors to non-profit organizations live in “fear of exercising their First Amendment right to support” any organization, which effect is to “diminish the amount of expressive and associational activity?” Should these people be denied the right to their speech? The constitution says, no. Non-profit organizations file a form known as IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. [1. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (2016). Irs.gov. Available at www.irs.gov/uac/About-Form-990.] The first part of this form is public information and may…
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Kansas Supreme Court judicial selection

Kansas Supreme Court judicial selection

Kansas progressives and Democrats oppose a judicial selection system that is used by U.S. Presidents, both Democrats and Republicans. What is the substantive difference between these two systems? A) A state's chief executive appoints a person to be a judge on the state's highest court. Then the state's senate confirms or rejects. B) A nation's chief executive appoints a person to be a judge on the nation's highest court. Then the nation's senate confirms or rejects. Perhaps there is a difference that I'm not smart enough to see. I'm open to persuasion. Until then, I agree with KU Law Professor…
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David Bobb: Free speech and its importance

David Bobb: Free speech and its importance

David Bobb, President of The Bill of Rights Institute, explains freedom of speech and its importance. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Wichita, Kansas, February 18, 2016. Notes Bill of Rights Institute website Bill of Rights Institute on Facebook Bill of Rights Institute on Twitter: @BRInstitute
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WichitaLiberty.TV: David Bobb, President of Bill of Rights Institute

WichitaLiberty.TV: David Bobb, President of Bill of Rights Institute

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: David Bobb, President of The Bill of Rights Institute, talks about civic education and the importance of humility. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 110, broadcast February 21, 2016. Shownotes Bill of Rights Institute website Bill of Rights Institute on Facebook Bill of Rights Institute on Twitter: @BRInstitute
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The real free lunch: Markets and private property

The real free lunch: Markets and private property

As we approach another birthday of Milton Friedman, here's his article where he clears up the authorship of a famous aphorism, and explains how to really get a free lunch. Based on remarks at the banquet celebrating the opening of the Cato Institute’s new building, Washington, May 1993. I am delighted to be here on the occasion of the opening of the Cato headquarters. It is a beautiful building and a real tribute to the intellectual influence of Ed Crane and his associates. I have sometimes been associated with the aphorism “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” which…
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Rebuilding liberty without permission

A forthcoming book by Charles Murray holds an intriguing idea as to how Americans can reassert liberty: Civil disobedience. Make the federal government an "insurable hazard." I think it's a great idea. For an easy introduction to this concept, listen to the Cato Institute's seven-minute podcast of Murray speaking about these ideas. From the publisher: American freedom is being gutted. Whether we are trying to run a business, practice a vocation, raise our families, cooperate with our neighbors, or follow our religious beliefs, we run afoul of the government—not because we are doing anything wrong but because the government has…
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Wichita has examples of initiative and referendum

Wichita has examples of initiative and referendum

Citizens in Wichita have been busy exercising their rights of initiative and referendum at the municipal level. The Kansas Legislature should grant the same rights to citizens at the state level. What recourse do citizens have when elected officials are not responsive? Initiative and referendum are two possibilities. Citizens in Wichita have exercised these rights, but Kansans are not able to do this at the state level. Initiative is when citizens propose a new law, and then gather signatures on petitions. If a successful petition is filed, the matter is (generally) placed on a ballot for the electorate to decide…
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For Wichita’s Longwell, flipping in the face of an election

Campaign season provides an opportunity to see just how malleable candidates' positions can be, leaving us to wonder if some have any firm and guiding principles. When Wichita City Council Member Jeff Longwell was asked about citizens exercising their constitutional right to challenge an ordinance passed by the council, Jeff Longwell said it was "disappointing," and a "stunt." He said that using this fundamental aspect of democracy causes citizens to "lose credibility." (Wichita Eagle, September 14, 2011) Now that Wichitans are voting on controversial matter that was placed on the ballot using a similar procedure, Longwell told the same newspaper…
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As lawmakers, Kansas judges should be selected democratically

As lawmakers, Kansas judges should be selected democratically

While many believe that judges should not "legislate from the bench," that is, make law themselves, the reality is that lawmaking is a judicial function. In a democracy, lawmakers should be elected under the principle of "one person, one vote." But Kansas, which uses the Missouri Plan for judicial selection to its highest court, violates this principle. A 2012 paper by Kansas University School of Law Professor Stephen J. Ware explains the problem with the judicial selection process in Kansas. The paper is titled Originalism, Balanced Legal Realism and Judicial Selection: A Case Study and may be downloaded at no…
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