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Lesson 5: The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution

Is Donald Trump violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, as some people claim or suggest? The reference is to the last clause in Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, which reads: “No title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office […]

February 26, 2018

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Lesson 4: The Second Amendment and the Individual Right to Bear Arms

Should citizens be prohibited from owning handguns? In 1959 most Americans apparently believed so: the Gallup Poll that year reported that 60 percent of Americans supported a law to “ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons,” while only 36 percent disagreed. The next two […]

February 16, 2018

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Lesson 3: Independent Counsel

“The executive Power,” begins Article II of the Constitution, “shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” No ifs, ands or buts about it. The Constitution limits the president’s powers here and there: certain of his executive branch appointees (the document leaves Congress and the president […]

January 28, 2018

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Lesson 2: The Filibuster

During the battles over healthcare and tax reform, Republicans have sent themselves into contortions to abide by the “Budget Reconciliation” rules that allow the majority to get around a Democratic filibuster. So what is a filibuster? Technically, it is a threat by a minority of senators to debate an issue […]

January 26, 2018

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Lesson 1: Free Speech

The First Amendment to the Constitution does not impose, as some believe, “a wall of separation between church and state.” That phrase comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Connecticut Baptists, cited approvingly by Supreme Court decisions in 1878 and 1947. The First Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no […]

January 25, 2018

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