Constitutional Rights

Government can be freedom’s best friend when it protects citizens’ constitutional rights. Here’s how the Goldwater Institute is ensuring your rights are protected.

<p>Government can be freedom’s best friend when it protects citizens’ constitutional rights. Here’s how the Goldwater Institute is ensuring your rights are protected. </p>

The Republican Party continues to abandon small-government conservatism at its peril

A forum on direct wine shipping Tuesday at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix was anything but a dry recitation of policy.

After a panel discussion, several supporters of direct shipment delivered animated comments and grievances to panelist Karen Gravois of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, the only speaker not in favor of direct shipping.

"How do you justify the economic discrimination between what's available in state and what's available out of state?" asked Larry Winer of the Arizona State University law school.

Researchers Offering Tips to Aid Voters

How do some of Arizona's leading think tanks judge political candidates? What do they think are the Top 10 qualities or characteristics that politicians should carry in their resume?

The Supreme Court has had a working conservative majority for over a quarter-century, cemented by the appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. In that time, we've witnessed evolution, not revolution, with few precedents overturned.

Indeed, the Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist strengthened the jurisprudential foundation of Roe v. Wade, even as it expanded the permissible scope of abortion restrictions. And it re-affirmed the Miranda decision, a prime example of Warren-era judicial legislation.

Judicial activism has become a universal pejorative, a rare point of agreement between red and blue America. Conservatives and liberals alike condemn courts for overturning policy decisions they support. Both sides would reduce the judiciary's constitutional scrutiny of the actions of other branches of government -- a role it exercises not too much but far too little.

Proposition 200 would bribe people uninterested in voting to vote anyway by giving them a chance in a $1 million lottery. The actual value of the ticket would be about 50 cents, hardly enough to attract many new voters. But for gamblers who dream of taking home the big jackpot, this may do the trick.

Dr. Mark Osterloh, the author of Prop. 200, thinks Arizonans need a financial inducement to vote. What could be a greater insult to our American values and liberties?

A reader wrote me regarding a recent column of mine that derided the rise of the nanny state and its threat to our way of life as a free people. I had written that New York City's new ban on trans fats amounts to yet another usurpation of the rights of adults to make their own choices regarding the risks they are willing to take when engaging in any particular behavior.

I don't smoke. I don't like smoke. I sit in the non-smoking section of restaurants. In fact, I favor a smoking ban on publicly owned property in closely confined areas where non-smokers have no easy escape from tobacco fumes.

That said, most smoking bans are pernicious. They represent prying, busybody government at its worst - regulations without any respect for property rights, foisted on the public by anti-tobacco zealots armed with pseudo-science - about which more in a moment.

But first, let's turn the clock back a few years.

Last year, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation that would have limited contingency fees collected by attorneys and set caps on non-economic damages at $250,000.  But the bills never made it out of the Senate.  In response, President Bush has indicated he will make tort reform a priority during the presidential campaign.  He also remarked that, "The senators must understand that nobody in America has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit."[i]

Buried under the ground in Waxahachie, Texas, sits the world's most expensive mushroom farm.  The miles of abandoned concrete tunnels that were to be an economic engine now grow edible fungus.  Numerous states, including Arizona, heavily courted the project, but Texas "won" and billions of dollars were poured into the so-called supercollider. Instead of putting Texas on the map as a leader in cutting-edge technology, Texas now claims the honor of hosting one very expensive mushroom farm.

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