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Friday, May 20, 2011

On Term Limits & Representation: The Anti-Federalist View

In the New York convention for ratifying the U.S. Constitution, Melancton Smith favored having the state legislatures rotating their U.S. Senators rather than keeping the same men in the Senate for life. "It is a circumstance strongly in favor of rotation, that it will have a tendency to diffuse a more general spirit of emulation, and to bring forward into office the genius and abilities of the continent. If the office is to be perpetually confined to a few, other men of equal talents and virtue, but not possessed of so extensive an influence, may be discouraged from aspiring to it" (Storing, p. 348).  This argument could easily be applied to the people electing U.S. Senators.

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires.

A Health-Insurance Mandate Consistent with Federalism

On June 7, 2011, according to the Huffington Post, “three judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel questioned whether upholding the landmark law could open the door to Congress adopting other sweeping economic mandates.” Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who had been appointed by President George H.W. Bush, "struck early by asking the government's attorney 'if we uphold the individual mandate in this case, are there any limits on Congressional power?' Circuit Judges Frank Hull and Stanley Marcus, who were both appointed by President Bill Clinton, echoed his concerns later in the hearing.”

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires, available at Amazon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The E.U.'s Membership in the U.N.'s General Assembly: An Oxymoron or Reality Catching Up?

On May 3, 2011, the United Nations’ General Assembly passed Resolution 65/276 by a vote of 120 to 0 (with two abstentions—countries subject to E.U. sanction). The resolution makes the European Union a non-voting member of the General Assembly. As such, the E.U. can “be inscribed on the list of speakers among representatives of major groups and be invited to participate in the Assembly’s general debate, in accordance with the order of precedence and the level of representation.” The E.U. is also “able to present oral proposals and amendments, which, however, would be put to a vote only at the request of [a voting member].” Hence, the E.U. membership is without the right to vote, co-sponsor resolutions or decisions, and put forward candidates. In other words, the E.U. has been granted a sort of “quasi” status commensurate with the world’s notion of the E.U. as a “regional organization”—whatever that means.  I contend that this misunderstanding of what the E.U. is has led to the resolution giving the union a quasi-status in the General Assembly even as another such union, the U.S., enjoys not only voting membership in the General Assembly, but also a veto on the Security Council. In short, the world is confused on the E.U. and the resolution bespeaks this condition.

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires, available at Amazon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nationalism in Europe: Forestalling Ever Closer Union

Ask a European if the E.U. government could ever consolidate power from the state governments and you would probably get a "nope (or nein, or non), we identity with our respective countries." The problem is, such attachments can change. Indeed, they have changed. Europeans alive after fifty years of "ever closer union" would do well to look back at the U.S. after its first fifty (or one hundred) years to get a sense of how the E.U., too, could change. 

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires, available at Amazon.