By Jay WexlerBy all accounts, it would seem that when hearings begin this month on Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the American people will once again be subjected to a charade. Democratic Senators will ask probing questions of the nominee, seeking to understand his approach to constitutional interpretation, and Judge Gorsuch will decline to answer them, claiming that he cannot signal how he will vote in cases that might come before the Court. A couple of days will go by, and at the end, nobody will know anything more about the nominee than what they can already learn from his Wikipedia page.
By Jay WexlerAs someone who has written a book about the “odd clauses” of the Constitution, I always find it exciting when some weird and heretofore unnoticed clause starts grabbing some of the nation’s headlines. This time it’s the so-called Emoluments Clause of Article I, Section 9 (I think it should be called the “Presents Clause” but I’ll get to that), which prohibits anyone holding “any Office of Profit or Trust” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” The news media has been reporting for well over a month that Donald Trump’s extensive business network puts him in danger of violating this clause; and on Monday a group of extremely prominent legal experts filed suit in federal court claiming that Trump has already violated this constitutional provision.
A Q&A with Jay WexlerIn Mumbai, Hindus carry twenty-foot-tall plaster of Paris idols of the elephant god Ganesh into the sea and leave them on the ocean floor to symbolize the impermanence of life, further polluting the scarce water resources of western India. In Hong Kong and Singapore, Taoists burn paper money to appease “hungry ghosts,” filling the air with smoke and dangerous toxins. These are some of the instances of religious practice colliding with environmentalism that humorist and law professor Jay Wexler investigated for his new book that came out this month, When God Isn’t Green. Over two years, he made a round-the-world trip to understand the complexity of these problems and learn how society can best address them. We caught up with Wexler to ask him about his journey and how we can work toward ecofriendly rituals.
Jay Wexler ponders the enormity of until-now-hidden humor of the famously stoic justice.
Today marks the 78th anniversary of the end of Prohibition. In honor of this historic date, read about the 21st Amendment in this freebie chapter from The Odd Clauses. Bonus: act out the Granholm v Heald play with your friends...
Jay Wexler explains the Original Jurisdiction Clause, what a Special Master is, and how the states have fared in court cases against each other.
Michael Bronski was named one of the Out100 by Out Magazine. (Be sure to check out the full spread--some amazing photos!) Gender Outlaw Kate Bornstein, whose memoir will be published by Beacon Press in 2012, weighs in on a tricky...
Anita Hill spoke with the Takeaway about some of the remarkable women profiled in her book, Reimagining Equality. You can also listen to her read a chapter from Reimagining Equality at Vanity Fair. Jay Wexler talks about The Odd Clauses...
What Constitutional Odd Clauses apply to the Occupy Wall Street movement?
Today is Constitution Day (observed). Constitution Day is really celebrated on September 17th, but we can't be trusted to acknowledge the document that grants us our rights and freedoms on a Saturday, can we?
Jay Wexler clears up pressing Constitutional issues in Cars 2--that is, if Constitution applied to cars.
Jay Wexler discusses one of the Odd Clauses of the Constitution, and whether President Obama has the authority to raise the debt ceiling.
The author of Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars has an offer Christine O'Donnell can't refuse.
Defending Immigrant Rights from Arizona to Manhattan.
Law prof Jay Wexler looks at the recent ruling on the use of "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance and finds the court's conclusion Constitutionally dubious.
In Beacon Broadside's first original video, Jay Wexler discusses the historic case that allowed a Harvard Square bar to get its liquor license over the objections of a nearby church.
Jay Wexler explains Supreme Court stays and shares his own memories of clerking for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Jay Wexler reflects upon one of the crucial moments of his tenure as a Supreme Court clerk: totally tanking on the March Madness pool.
Jay Wexler wants to see his friends, not just their kids, on the holiday cards in his mailbox.
We had been living in Krakow for three months when I started feeling homesick for Boston. It's not that I don't like Krakow. As everyone knows, Krakow is the new Prague. It is blessed with magnificent architecture, a vibrant student population, and more beets than you can shake a stick at. But it just isn't Boston. Nobody honks a horn just to hear how loud it is. You can't find a bowl of clam chowder anywhere. And while plenty of drunk guys roam the streets, they generally aren't chanting "Yankees Suck."