September 17 marks Constitution Day. One of the wonderful things about being at Cato is that my work encourages me to write about constitutional law regularly, which means constantly learning new things about the founding document by studying it and commentaries on it.
Over the past year I’ve written about the Emoluments Clause; the No Religious Tests clause; limits on presidential power as defined in the steel seizure case; the meaning of the oath of office; how the Appropriations Clause constrains lawsuit settlements involving the federal government; how and whether gerrymandering by race and for partisan advantage affects constitutional rights; judicial independence; the decline and fall of the Contracts Clause; the application of Obergefell to issues of public employees and birth certificates; Article V procedure for calling a new constitutional convention; and too many First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment controversies to list.
The U.S. Constitution is very much alive, not in the Living Constitution caricature of a document emptied of most durable or objective meaning, but in the sense that most persons in charge of all three major branches of the federal government and state and local government, whichever their party, continue to try to act by its guidance according to their lights, however unnerving and lamentable the occasional exceptions may be.
Today (Monday) you can tune in online to Cato’s annual Constitution Day symposium. I’ll be moderating the afternoon panel on property rights and religious liberty (the Murr and Trinity Lutheran cases, and no, it’s not clear that we need to find any actual connection between them).