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 federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals silenced one group of students in a national debate last week in a surprising, and arguably unconstitutional, opinion.  The case involved Poway High School, near San Diego, which promoted a “Day of Silence” to teach tolerance, “particularly of those of a different sexual orientation.”  But the school went a step further and prohibited dissenting students from wearing t-shirts opposing homosexuality.

Tucked in my pile of junk mail and bills was a Hallmark card from Governor Janet Napolitano.

That’s right. The governor sent a card to congratulate me on my daughter’s recent birth and admonish me that “One of your most important roles as a parent is to make sure your baby is immunized.” The card bears Governor Napolitano’s signature at the bottom.

The Internet is probably the greatest boon to individual liberty and entrepreneurship since Ford started churning out affordable cars. It allows people to decide where and with whom they will shop. But as a recent headline in USA Today reads, "States hope to begin taxing online sales." The newspaper continues, "the group [of 18 states] hopes to convince retailers but does not force them? to begin collecting taxes and turning it over to state governments." Merry Christmas, shoppers.

The overwhelming need for stability for the estimated 6,000 school-age children in the Arizona foster system was highlighted recently in the Arizona Republic story "Activists want foster kids to stop changing schools." 

Lighting up on private property will become a criminal activity if a group called Smoke-Free Arizona has its way. The association is collecting signatures for an initiative that, if adopted, would make smoking illegal almost anywhere in Arizona.

To say that an era has ended is a huge understatement.

The passing of "the Chief," as William Rehnquist affectionately was known by everyone in the U.S. Supreme Court's circle, coupled with the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, leaves the court without sure leadership for the first time in a generation.

Oddly, depending on President Bush's choice to replace him, the court could be poised for a lurch to the left, rather than the right turn predicted by left-leaning special-interest groups.

Last week, Chandler issued a directive that would have criminalized nursing in public. Following public outcry, the city set aside the directive and formed a task force to "study" the issue.

I'm all for studying issues, but a little common sense may be all that's needed here. Infants need nourishment every few hours. Unless we want to confine nursing mothers to their homes, infants will occasionally have to eat in public.

Courts need judges, law books, and maybe a few gavels. But slick public relations campaigns?

Arizona Supreme Court chief justice Ruth McGregor contends that "If the judicial branch is not well or fully understood, and it is not by many, then we need to ask ourselves what we need to do to change the way that we communicate about the courts."

It's time to raise a glass of wine. The Supreme Court this week declared unconstitutional state regulatory schemes that allow in-state wineries to ship directly to consumers, but ban out-of-state wineries from doing the same. The Goldwater Institute filed an amicus curiae brief in the case, arguing these anti-competitive laws violate the Commerce Clause and cannot be saved by the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition.

To some extent, it's understandable that when policymakers see a problem, they ambitiously aim to solve it. Arizona has long been known as home to a significant supply of methamphetamine production, and it turns out some cold medicines can be used in that production. Voila! Lawmakers set out to restrict how and how much non-prescription cold medicine customers can buy, and mistakenly think they have helped to curb the problem.

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