Imagine that certain investors have set up a business under a charter and by-laws that specifically provide for a number of managers assigned to oversee various separate and independent branches of the company, all of whom must answer ultimately to the investors. One of the managers then announces that: (i) he alone will determine, not only when the other managers are not in compliance with the company's policies, but also what those policies actually are; (ii) the investors will have no say in the making of these determinations; and (iii) if the investors dissent from his unilateral determinations, their only recourse will be to re-write the company's charter and by-laws, subject to the manager's own interpretations of what such amendments mean. How long would any investors in their right minds tolerate such a topsy-turvy state of affairs? Yet this is precisely how the governments of the United States and the states operate under the contemporary doctrine of "judicial supremacy."
The left’s war against the Electoral College took on a steep up-tick when President Bush won the presidency while losing the popular vote to Al Gore in 2000. And it continues to pick up steam with new tactics. The modern incarnation of this movement is the “National Popular Vote” movement, which is attempting to get state legislatures to pledge to forego the votes of their people in favor of the national popular vote winner.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review has ruled that telecommunications companies must assist the executive branch in wiretapping American citizens’ e-mail messages and phone calls, the New York Times reported on January 15. Although the decision didn’t deal directly with the constitutionality of warrantless wiretaps, the decision is troubling for a number of reasons.
This topic reminds me of the story about the national politician who campaigned on a party platform promoting the Welfare State. His stump speech was filled with promises of all the government services that he would fight for, if the voters would just elect him to Congress. He promised to meet all of the people’s needs relating to childcare, education, nutrition, housing, transportation, healthcare, pensions, and good-paying jobs for every citizen. Finally, at one town hall meeting, a boy raised his hand and asked, “Why would we need jobs?”
"Federalism" is one of those words that turns many readers aside, as it conjures up images of boring old theoretical interpretations of John Locke treatises. The reality of federalism is much more exciting than the theory — it is actually about the insatiable struggle for power between elites in the federal government and elites in the state governments. Money, power, secret tribunals, corruption: now those things are interesting.