This week, Jay and Luke dig into the second part of the First Amendment. They show how Congress curtailed Madison’s original protections for free speech and a free press, while taking a look at what these freedoms meant as a practical matter to the founding generation. Politics was pretty wild in late eighteenth century. America had a robust publishing culture that mainly churned out pamphlets and broadsheets — most famously Common Sense in 1776. Heated pamphleting mirrored and fed a robust protest culture. Rioting was common, and wasn’t universally frowned upon, meaning the Framers understood “peaceable assembly” in broad terms. Hanging and burning effigies was common; people raised maypoles. There was a lot of fist-fighting and pretty much everybody was drunk. So the point of the freedom to assemble was a way of creating the latent potential for escalation, which the state would seek to avoid by coming to terms with the assembled. Petition, similarly, would allow the people to make a demand of government. The government might not do anything per se, but the government would face political pressure to give an account of itself. The colonists famously petitioned George III and used his indifference to their remonstrances as justification for revolution.
In response to the emerging evidence that Donald Trump directed and participated in the commission of federal crimes, all too many Republicans are wrongly comforting themselves with political deflection and strained legal argument. The political deflection is clear, though a bit bizarre. The recent wave of news ... Read More
At the outset, let’s get two things straight: First, there is something deeply disturbing about the Obama administration’s decision to open a counterintelligence investigation on retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn while he was working on the Trump campaign — and, ultimately, about the Justice ... Read More
Her comments came after she caused an uproar. Read More
Better late than never (I hope), my weekend column has posted on the website. It deals with the question whether General Michael Flynn actually lied to the FBI agents — including the now infamous Peter Strzok — when they interviewed him in the White House on his third day on the job as national security ... Read More
Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen's lawyer-turned-adviser, vigorously denied the allegation that his former client traveled to Prague during the 2016 election to arrange a payment for Russian hackers intervening in the election on then-candidate Trump's behalf. The allegation that Cohen traveled to Prague is a key ... Read More
In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump was asked on many occasions whether he would “accept the results” of the election if he were to lose. Democrats and their media allies demanded that he make a solemn vow to “accept the results.” It was never entirely clear what anybody thought ... Read More