Constitutional law roundup

  • “North Dakota legislators attempt to retroactively change the terms of contracts between manufacturers and dealers of farm equipment. Well, crack open your Con Law casebook because that violates the Contract Clause of Article I, Section 10. So holds the Eighth Circuit (over a dissent), treating the reader to a history of the clause from 1789 to the New Deal and beyond.” [IJ “Short Circuit” on Association of Equipment Manufacturers v. Burgum]
  • Subsidies conditioned on, and meant to promote, an official orthodoxy: California moves to approve $50 million state fund for film and TV production earmarked for producers who “share” state’s “values” on reproductive rights [Eugene Volokh]
  • Not your usual combination: Cato Institute, Brennan Center, and Sierra Club join in amicus brief to challenge President’s powers under National Emergencies Act to divert funds appropriated for other purposes to construction of U.S.-Mexico wall [David Post]
  • Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain on textualism and the future of the federal judiciary [Federalist Society]
  • “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law,” declares the constitution of Arizona. While judges in Washington have developed a distinctive jurisprudence based on the similar clause in their state’s constitution, the Arizona judiciary as yet has not [Timothy Sandefur]
  • Does the Commerce Clause really empower the U.S. Congress to criminalize acts of animal cruelty “affecting” interstate commerce, whatever that means? [Jacob Sullum]


  • re subsidies for propaganda: I oppose all such subsidies. Even PSAs to quit smoking are dubious–it is none of the state’s business if people smoke. The Left is using the power of the state a lot these days to enforce their favored orthodoxies.

    • “it is none of the state’s business if people smoke.“

      That is a perfectly reasonable point of view. There is a perfectly reasonable opposite point of view.

      The opposite view arises because the states shoulder a significant share of Medicaid cost. That gives them a strong financial interest to attempt changing private, individual behaviors that are linked to medical expense. Smoking is one of those behaviors.

      The federal government also has an enormous financial incentive to attempt changing change behaviors. The federal incentive arises from their financial commitment Its share if Medicaid, plus all of Medicare, plus VA, Tricare, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Plan, and others.

      One effect of Medicare for All would increase federal medical care cost, leading to expanding federal attempts to butt into private behavior. The federales and the states will continue to argue that their interventions are intended to improve the public health, and can be expected to continue to impose their view on the country.

      • This argument has in fact been made but is an open door to intrusive gov actions. They could easily argue that being overweight is their business–as they do in Japan.

        • And that’s the whole point, isn’t it? ?

  • If violence against women doesn’t pass Constitutional muster as a power of the federal government, it’s hard to see how violence against puppies will.