Entries by William C. Duncan

A constitutional right to government-funded disgrace?

In the wake of videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood employees are engaging in the sale of body parts obtained through abortions, Governor Gary Herbert’s administration decided to end state contracts with the organization’s Utah affiliate. Planned Parenthood sued the governor, arguing that its constitutional rights had been violated, and a federal court in […]

Culture of death

California has now become the fifth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide with Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature last week. It is ironic that in a time touted as the apex of the expansion of individual freedom, the new rights in highest demand are the right to kill oneself and the right to dull one’s senses with […]

Pope Francis (and others) on religious liberty

One sorry trend that has gained steam in the wake of the movement to redefine marriage is an attempt to marginalize religious liberty. Thus, when Indiana was considering a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), commentary in opposition acted as if the bill were a form of special pleading against gay rights. But the federal statute […]

How elastic can the Constitution be?

With serendipitous timing, [Tuesday] morning the online journal Public Discourse published an excellent article by Professor Steven Smith, a law professor at the University of San Diego. In the article, Professor Smith notes that while during the middle period of the Roman Empire, “the outward forms of the ancient republican constitution were largely preserved … […]

Unintended consequences: an example from Sweden

The Institute for Marriage and Family Canada has recently published an interesting review of social statistics in Sweden. The author, Jonas Himmelstrand, examines the possible consequences of the nation’s dedication to day care heavily subsidized by the government: No matter how many children, no matter how many hours children spend in care, no matter how […]

Judicial review: Are we doing it wrong?

The theory of judicial review — giving courts the ability to invalidate legislation that they believe conflicts with constitutional guarantees — rests on the assumption that the courts will be effectuating the overriding will of the people of the United States as expressed in their Constitution. There is some evidence that the Framers of the […]

How is this not an example of ‘compelled speech’?

Justice Antonin Scalia has noted how normal legal rules have been inexplicably distorted or even ignored in order to protect the U.S. Supreme Court’s indefensible decision on abortion. This “abortion distortion” has led the court to uphold restrictions on how ordinary citizens may protest at clinics that would have been unthinkable for anti-war or other […]

The violent persecution of Christians in the Mideast

With all of the (appropriate) concern about religious liberty conflicts developing in the United States, we must not forget the persecution and slaughter of Christians in other parts of the world. The situation in Iraq and the Middle East, for instance, is horrifying. Nearly 7,000 have been forced from their homes and live as refugees […]

Justice Thomas on liberty and dignity

Although it has received less attention than the more comprehensive opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts and the wittier and more and biting opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent in the recent marriage case contains powerful insights into a divide between those who are promoting the cause of moral revolution and those […]