Trump’s Forceful Syrian Gambit

by Richard Epstein

Defining Ideas

The Syrian government launched a chemical weapons attack against the town of Khan Sheikhoun earlier this month, killing more than 80 people, many of them children, and leaving hundreds more injured and in distress. Most people expected the United States to sit idly by, but that expectation was upended with President Donald Trump’s decision to […]

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Brussels Gets Brexit Wrong—Again

by Richard Epstein

Defining Ideas

Theresa May, the British prime minister, recently sent a letter to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, announcing that the UK would withdraw from the EU under the procedures set out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Her letter noted that, even though withdrawal was irrevocable, the UK seeks to forge the closest […]

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Our Energy Hysteria

by Richard Epstein

Defining Ideas

President Trump issued a long-anticipated Executive Order last week titled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” which undid most of the Obama energy agenda as it pertains to the regulation of coal, carbon dioxide, and methane gas. Unfortunately, Trump tends to justify sound policies with bad reasoning—which, in this case, led him to announce, wrongly, […]

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Gorsuch V. Schumer

by Richard Epstein

Defining Ideas

It does not take a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing on Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination. Gorsuch will be confirmed, one way or another. If Senator Charles Schumer makes good on his pledge to filibuster the Gorsuch nomination, the Republicans will exercise their so-called nuclear option to end the filibuster rule for […]

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The Health Care Conundrum

by Richard Epstein

Defining Ideas

The Republican Party is facing resistance from both the left and the right as it tries to undo key provisions of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Even if the current GOP bill, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA), bites the dust, some changes will surely have to be made, so […]

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The Government’s Civil Rights Bullies

by Richard Epstein

Defining Ideas

Earlier this month, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued its report Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties. The report, which was occasioned in part by the same-sex marriage debate, tries to determine the correct relationship between antidiscrimination laws and the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion. Currently, persons of […]

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Clinton’s Tax Conceit

by Richard Epstein

Defining Ideas

Hillary Clinton has revealed further details of her plan for the fiscal future of the United States. Her vision addresses both sides of the equation: how and from whom taxes should be raised; and how and for whom they should be spent. Her plan is squarely within the progressive tradition. She insists that “The middle […]

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The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property: A Natural Rights Perspective

by Richard Epstein

Federalist Society Review

One of the major unmarked developments in the past century of American law has been the decline of natural law thinking. Read any older treatment of, for example, property rights, marriage, or contract, and the unquestioned approach looks to natural law principles to set out the basic parameters of these social arrangements. Individuals by nature […]

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Merrick Garland: Political Pawn

by Richard Epstein

Defining Ideas

The single most important phrase that changed the politics of Supreme Court nominations was Senator Edward Kennedy’s famous and shameful denunciation of “Robert Bork’s America,” with its back alley abortions, segregated lunch counters, and rogue police. From that point on, Supreme Court nominees of either party, and even potential nominees, have risked being attacked in […]

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