Mike Rappaport raises some tough questions about the conservative case for majority rule and, with it, judicial restraint. But they strike me as fundamentally consequentialist questions converging from two directions: first, the contingent fact that the Supreme Court happens now to lean conservative and thus might be inclined to confine left-leaning majorities, and second, the fact that majority rule does not necessarily produce conservative results. Both propositions are true. But neither refutes my claim that majority rule itself is a conservative principle even if it sometimes produces unconservative results.
There is no dictum more central to Burkean prudence than the idea that one does not establish rules for the ordinary case based on the extreme one. So why is Rand Paul, of all people, on television speculating on what the Boston marathon case might mean for a policy on the domestic use of drones?
His answer, apparently leaning more toward his presidential ambitions than his 13-hour filibuster on the topic, was that he would not have objected to the use of a drone against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during the manhunt for the alleged Boston marathon bomber. This is being interpreted as abandoning Paul’s general objection to the use of drones against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
The current Liberty Law Talk is with Amity Shlaes on Calvin Coolidge. There are many impressive elements in Shlaes' new biography of the thirtieth president. Of note is Coolidge's discipline and refusal to place tax dollars at the service of numerous projects: agriculture, pensions, public works, etc. Federal coffers were flush, why not spend it, many asked? Coolidge frequently chose the pocket veto to say no to them. He vetoed over 50 bills while in office. So Ronald Reagan is adored by advocates of limited government, but it was Coolidge who actually cut the government, halved tax rates and didn't…