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Articles written by David Adler

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 By David Adler    Features    May 3, 2021 

A cellphone recording, First Amendment rights and a guilty verdict

When 17-year old Darnella Frazier used her cell phone on May 25, 2020, to record the murder of George Floyd - a horrifying episode which, viewers across the globe know, lasted nine minutes and 29 seconds, she probably did not stop to think that she...

 
 By David Adler    Features    April 26, 2021

The Biden Commission and the concept of court packing

President Biden recently signed an executive order creating a bi-partisan commission that will study U.S. Supreme Court reform and, among other things, examine the size of the court and the justices’ lifetime appointments. The order excited partisa...

 
 By David Adler    Features    April 19, 2021

The personal Constitution: Embodied in the First Amendment

The concept of the “personal Constitution,” which we introduced in this column last week, is personified in the First Amendment freedoms, particularly in the rights of religious liberty and freedom of expression. The exercise of these liberties...

 
 By David Adler    Features    April 12, 2021

We the People: Personalizing the Constitution

Together, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution form what Gunnar Myrdal called the “American Creed.” The Declaration, written in eloquent, glittering generalities, invokes the Deity and inalienable rights, speaks of...

 
 By David Adler    Features    April 5, 2021

Fundamental fairness: Statehood for Washington, D.C.

The introduction of H.R. 51, a bill to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state — the “Washington, Douglas Commonwealth” — would grant its 700,000 residents the same rights enjoyed by Americans in every other state — full voting...

 
 By David Adler    Features    March 29, 2021

We the People: Protecting Freedom of Speech

As we have seen in our recent discussion of tests employed by the U.S. Supreme Court to determine the parameters of speech afforded protection under the First Amendment, the great dilemma confronting our nation occurs when speech appears to incite...

 
 By David Adler    Features    March 22, 2021

We the People: Holmes' Defense of Freedom Speech

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ invention in 1919, of the Clear and Present Danger Test, in Schenck v. United States, provided little protection for dissenters who opposed America’s role in World War I. Charles Schenck went to prison for...

 
 By David Adler    Features    March 15, 2021

We the People: Dissenting speech v. national security claims

The question of governmental authority to punish speech in the name of national security came before the Supreme Court for the first time in 1919 in Schenck v. United States, resulting in the court’s first major ruling on the scope of freedom of...

 
 By David Adler    Features    March 8, 2021

We the People: May government curtail free speech?

Does the government have authority to curtail speech that might cause injury to our national security? Such power, asserted throughout the history of our nation, raises thorny questions about the nature, meaning and scope of two key constitutional...

 
 By David Adler    Features    March 1, 2021

Free Speech Clause: Origins and purposes

The guarantee of freedom of speech, central to Americans’ participation in self-governance and the life of the nation, is secured by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Ratified in 1791, the Free Speech Clause provides: “Congress shall make...

 

We the People: Free constitutional seminars

The U.S. Constitution is all-Broadway, all the time. Americans may not realize its center stage presence in the life of the nation, but it governs our daily lives, often sight unseen. There are other junctures, however, when disputes about...

 

We the People: The Constitution and the Trump impeachment trial

The forthcoming Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, sure to dominate headlines and newscasts, raises a host of constitutional questions with political implications likely to extend for years to come. Last week, we reviewed the...

 

We the People: Trial for a former president?

Does the U.S. Senate have the authority to hold an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump? Good-faith arguments have been advanced by both sides in this growing debate, which invites close scrutiny of the scope of the Senate’s power...

 

We the People: Impeachment trial of Senate

Sometime soon, and perhaps this week, private citizen Donald Trump will become the first former president to face a Senate impeachment trial, almost a year to the day when, as President Trump, he was acquitted by the Senate on February 5, 2020, of...

 

We the People: Removing a president

Memories of the footage of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, on January 6, 2021, will be forever etched in the minds of the citizenry. No American since the War of 1812 has seen an assault on our Temple of Democracy. This siege – a failed coup...

 

We the People: What does a coup look like?

To its horror, America witnessed on January 6, 2021, an insurrection. Millions watched, in real-time. Domestic terrorists laid siege to the U.S. Capitol building in an effort to disrupt Congress from performing its constitutional duty to count and...

 

We the People: Reversing Electoral College vote?

Efforts by President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to subvert the clerk-like, ministerial and ceremonial counting of electoral votes on January 6 is a witches’ brew for undermining the Constitution and American Democracy. Sen. Ben...

 

We the People: War power - Practice and abuse

Unilateral presidential war-making, remarkable for its direct violation of the War Clause of the Constitution, is a sharp reminder of the widening gulf between constitutional principle and governmental practice. It recalls the observation of a 17th...

 

We the People: The war power

The decision to go to war represents the most solemn decision any government will make, since it risks the blood, treasure and future of the nation. Those grave consequences, alone, are reason enough for Americans to understand how the Constitution...

 

We the People: Foreign affairs powers

Americans have become accustomed to a steady drumbeat of presidential assertions of sweeping powers in the realm of foreign affairs and national security. They may be surprised to learn, however, that these claims are inconsistent with the...

 

We the People: How the founders defined executive power

The outstanding feature of Article II of the Constitution is its grant to the president of relatively few, sharply limited powers, a function of the Constitutional Convention’s determination, in the words of James Madison, to “confine and...

 

We the People: Presidential power scrutinized

This presidential transition, from President Donald Trump to President-Elect Joe Biden, represents a timely opportunity for Americans to become more familiar with the scope of presidential authority, as provided under Article II of the Constitution....

 

We the People: A case for 'malice toward none, charity for all'

Abraham Lincoln’s words and wisdom, from Springfield and New York to Gettysburg and Washington, serve to remind Americans today of the manner in which great statesmen confront challenges that threaten the very foundation of the republic. For a...

 

We the People: Constitution assures election intrigue will end

The 2020 presidential election, prolonged by President Donald Trump’s court challenges and demands for recounts in some states will come to an end, sooner rather than later. Citizens may be assured of that by constitutional and statutory...

 

We the People: Peaceful transition of power an American hallmark

The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of American democracy, a national treasure envied throughout the world. Yet, we dare not take it for granted, for its perpetuation depends on the good faith, goodwill and integrity of leaders and...

 

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