Delivering “Real” Free Trade?

No two political words in the English language are more misused and abused by the global political class than ‘Free Trade’.  Real free trade – as opposed to what so many claim to be ‘free trade’ – involves absolutely minimal restriction and unfettered market access. One only has to glance at the many, many pages […]

Issuing orders

In his first week of office, Donald Trump issued more executive orders than Barack Obama did in his first week.  That was probably deliberate. He wants to be seen as an activist president. Executive orders are generally controversial with the party which does not control the executive, and sometimes with constitutional scholars. The President is […]

Is Trump rejecting climate denial?

It has become depressingly ordinary for Republican politicians to enter a denial phase in any discussion of climate change. This both undermines any attempt to deal with this issue, but also to discuss it. People who pretend the climate isn’t changing will refuse to discuss how best to address the issue and it allows liberals […]

A nation of laws

There were many legal arguments raised against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). But there was one interesting approach that no-one tried. No-one argued that the Act was unlawful because enacting  a single-payer system was beyond the powers of Congress. That makes sense. The legislation did not enact a single-payer system. Candidate Obama had claimed that […]


Considering the degree to which the West consistently eulogises its own moral and cultural fortitude as the peak of modern civilisation, we should be ashamed that in this year of grace, 2014, the first prosecution for female genital mutilation has only just been announced on our shores. It would seem axiomatic that child mutilation would […]

This is not justice

So, Amanda Knox is guilty? Again? It does seem odd that prosecutors can appeal against acquittal and that the sentence now – 28½ years – is longer than the original 26 years. What has happened over the intervening time to make the crime worse than it was before? Observing the different handling of the case […]

Standing Your Ground

As far as we can gather, what happened is this: George Zimmerman saw a young black male in his neighborhood. He thought, for reasons which are unclear, that the man looked suspicious. Quite properly, he reported this to the police. He is involved in his Neighborhood Watch and that is exactly what he should have […]

The Perils of ‘Personhood’

From largely opposite – though not incompatible – ends of the political spectrum, two groups are trying to reset the legal definition of personhood. Both are thoroughly misguided, even in terms of their own views. I have previously written of the absurd idea of abolishing the legal concept of corporate personhood. It would mean that […]

Coming Closer: 1984

“We’re getting too close to Orwell’s 1984 Oceania”. The US government should have to obtain a warrant before mobile phone providers have to hand over multiple geolocation data records about customers, a US judge has said. In Europe, privacy watchdogs have called on geolocation data to be classed as personal data, information that can be […]

Case For Harmless Disapproval

In 2003 the US Supreme Court case, Lawrence vs Texas, struck down laws prohibiting gay sex in 14 states. This does not mean that those statutes are repealed, merely that they are legally void. Though all laws banning interracial sex and marriage were voided by Loving vs Virginia in 1967, it was more than 30 years […]