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Articles on US Constitution

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Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in Oct. 12 for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leah Millis/Pool via AP

The history of oath ceremonies and why they matter when taking office

Taking oath is an important tradition before assuming charge of a public office. It entails a commitment to the future. What is the history of oath-taking?
Pete Musico, left, is one of the founding members of the Wolverine Watchmen, as is Joseph Morrison, right. Both were charged in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (Jackson County Sheriff’s Office via AP) Jackson County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor grew from the militia movement’s toxic mix of constitutional falsehoods and half-truths

A scholar of militia movements describes the 'peculiar' -- and erroneous -- principles that right-wing militias subscribe to, including believing themselves to be defenders of the Bill of Rights.
People gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court building as news spread of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Sept. 18 death. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

3 ways a 6-3 Supreme Court would be different

A 6-3 conservative court will hear a broader range of controversial cases, shift interpretations of individual rights and put more pressure on local democracy to make policy decisions.
DACA supporters rally at the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 18, 2020, after the court rejected the Trump administration’s push to end DACA. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

It’s still a conservative Supreme Court, even after recent liberal decisions – here’s why

Those who say the Supreme Court's last term was a liberal success fail to understand that the types of decisions they see as victories are fleeting triumphs that will not endure.
Voters in Nashville, Tennessee, faced long lines in March 2020. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The right to vote is not in the Constitution

The framers of the Constitution never mentioned a right to vote. They didn't forget. They intentionally left it out.
Some church members have no problem wearing masks; others say it’s an unconstitutional mandate. Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from mask mandates

A Florida minister and a conservative lawmaker filed suit against a county law mandating mask wearing, saying it violates the freedom of religion. A constitutional law professor says they're wrong.
During a protest, federal police officials stand inside a fence at the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, July 25, 2020. (Photo by Ankur Dholakia / AFP via Getty Images

Don’t want federal agents in your city or town? Then protect federal property

No one involved in local government wants to see federal law enforcement agents take over their policing. But a mayor who's also a legal scholar says there's history and precedent for it.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump waits to step out onto the portico for his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2017. Trump laid bare his dystopic vision for America in his inaugural address that is now playing out in the United States. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Trump’s hint that he may not concede election is America’s tipping point

The cult of the personality surrounding Donald Trump is powerful and will be difficult to dislodge, whatever the outcome of the election in November.
A protester during an anti-mask rally on July 19 in Indianapolis, Indiana, against the mayor’s mask order and the governor’s extension of the state shutdown. Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Constitution doesn’t have a problem with mask mandates

A constitutional law scholar says that the arguments made by anti-mask protesters that the Constitution protects their freedom to go maskless are just wrong.
A congressional staffer opens the boxes containing the Electoral College ballots in January 2017. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Electoral College benefits whiter states, study shows

With a Supreme Court ruling rejecting one of the founders' two reasons for creating the Electoral College, only one reason remains: racism.
President Donald Trump at the Tulsa campaign rally, where he said he had slowed down COVID-19 testing to keep the numbers low. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Leaders like Trump fail if they cannot speak the truth and earn trust

The absence of trust in a nation's leader and government jeopardizes an effective response to a health crisis. It also creates a political crisis, a loss of faith in democracy.
On Dec. 19, 2016, Colorado elector Micheal Baca, in T-shirt second from left, cast his electoral ballot for John Kasich, though Hillary Clinton had won his state’s popular vote. AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Supreme Court reforms, strengthens Electoral College

Electors may not vote their consciences, which means the Electoral College will continue to operate how most Americans think it does.
On Dec. 19, 2016, Colorado elector Micheal Baca, in T-shirt second from left, cast his electoral ballot for John Kasich, though Hillary Clinton had won his state’s popular vote. AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Supreme Court to decide the future of the Electoral College

Many Americans are surprised to learn that Electoral College members do not necessarily have to pick the candidate their state's voters favored. Or do they?
Members of the military wearing U.S. Army Special Forces insignia block protesters near Lafayette Park and the White House on June 3, 2020. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Why soldiers might disobey the president’s orders to occupy US cities

There is a long line of military heroes who had the moral courage not to follow immoral orders. In the days ahead, some may have to consider what exactly their oath to the Constitution requires.

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