Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Red and Dead: An Originalist Approach to the Twenty-Third Amendment

Now that  the Democrats have revived the originalist, "dead constitution" understanding of the electoral college, I think it is time to animate the "dead constitution" understanding of the Twenty-third Amendment.

That amendment, you will recall, is what gives DC electors -- three, as it happens.  But note the first few words of section 1:  "The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct..."  As with the other electors, nothing in the amendment requires that those electors be selected on the basis of popular vote.  To quote Bush v. Gore, "the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States."

By Article I, Section 8, clause 17, Congress is "to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever" over the District.   Just as state legislatures have the power to enact or abolish the popular vote for the electors, Congress is perfectly within its rights to abolish the popular vote for electors in DC.  Congress could choose some other method for the District to select its electors, or could choose the electors by name and order the District to appoint them.

A sufficient Republican majority in both houses of Congress, and those three votes go red.  Drain that swamp!

{Alexander Hamilton wanted John Jay to do something similar with regard to the New York electoral college for 1800, so the DC 3 chosen by Congress would have a better right than anybody to call themselves "Hamilton Electors."}

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Most Great to Them that Know

In my latest at American Greatness, I use a celebrated English hymn, "I Vow to Thee My Country," to examine the questions surrounding the "dual citizenship" of Christians (between the City of God and the City of Man), from my peculiar situation as a Jew who has triple citizenship—in Canada, America, and Israel.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Life imitating Art, or at least Tom Clancy.

One guide to understanding the Trump Presidency, Tom Clancy's novel of a non-politician president, Executive Orders (1996).
What happens if we actually have a president who rejects the shibboleths of the Beltway in favor of median-voter positions on abortion, Taiwan, etc.?
And see how he copes with an Iran empowered by Iraq's destruction after the death of Saddam Hussein.
In the sequel, The Bear and the Dragon (2000), the non-Politician President, newly returned to office, has to deal with a China that resorts to war to cope with a rapid decline in exports.