A Hell Of A Time To Study Constitutional Law

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Hell Of A Time To Study Constitutional Law
Current mood: excited
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

Countdown to class: T minus two days, and counting.

I had a goal this summer to read the Constitutional Convention Debates and The Federalist Papers in order to prepare for class, but that didn’t happen. I’ve established that I won’t do a damn thing unless there is a deadline–and consequenses for failure.

This will surely be the most exciting semester of my schooling. Constitutional Law and Criminal Law are the two areas I’d like to focus on the most in the future, and it’s clear from any casual perusal of recent headlines that this is a hell of a time to be studying Constitutional Law:

  • We have this NSA warrantless surveillance program, recently ruled illegal by a fedeal judge and destined for appeal. The Bush Administration’s toes seem to be over the line of the Fourth Amendment.

  • The Supreme Court recently OKed no-knock searches and raids. Remember when you used to be able to flush your stash down the potty before answering the door? Ah, the good old days….
  • While we’re on the topic, last year the Supreme Court decided to use the “interstate” “commerce” clause of the Consitution to uphold the federal regulation of medical marijuana grown in the state of California and given away to California residents in compliance with California state law. Tenth Amendment? What Tenth Amendment?
  • Also last year, the Supreme Court upheld the use of Eminent Domain for private development. Remember when people actually had property rights? Ah, the good old days….

  • We have a couple hundred people rotting away in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who have no idea why they are there. Can you say “Habeas Corpus“? Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court ruled against the adminstration that these people have a right to challenge their detentions.

  • The government has apparently taken to charging with espionage those who receive classified information, 90 percent of which, according to Hodding Carter, could be thrown “out the windows along Pennsylvania Avenue and nothing of value to national security would be lost.” For journalists, this is just another day at the office. Remember when we had a free press to check the abuse of government power? Ah–well–you get the point….

  • Not to mention all of these signing statements that are floating around, wherein our president, rather than vetoing certain bills as unconstitutional, signs them into law anyway and declares that he will “interpret the law in a manner consistent with the president’s constitutional authority,” whatever that may be.

….and this is just a casual perusal of the headlines.

So I can’t wait to get started. I hope to write a whole lot in my blog to keep y’all informed about what’s going on during the semester–but don’t count on it. There is no deadline….

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