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>

Engaged citizens make for good governments. That’s the central idea behind the ninth annual Goldwater Institute Legislative Report Card, which takes into account 375 votes during the first session of Arizona’s fiftieth legislature. The result is a citizen-friendly tool for evaluating legislators’ votes against a simple, important standard: their impact on liberty.

The Goldwater Institute is charging that legislation approved last year allowing school districts to spend unused bond money is unconstitutional because it benefits so few districts.

Under the law, districts that have unused capital-bond proceeds from elections more than nine years earlier can use that money on any capital improvements, such as renovating a school, and not just the originally intended project.

Judicial activism has become a universal pejorative, a rare point of agreement between red and blue America. Conservatives and liberals alike condemn courts for overturning policy decisions they support. Both sides would reduce the judiciary's constitutional scrutiny of the actions of other branches of government -- a role it exercises not too much, but far too little.

Prince Charles is publicly advocating a ban on Big Macs. While touring a diabetes center, he asked a local official, Have you got anywhere with McDonalds, have you tried getting it banned? That's the key.

Its no secret that Big Macs and fries aren't good for you (incidentally, neither are fish n chips, chap).

Arizonans decided 19 ballot propositions this election, the most of any state. That's a lot of direct democracy. Maybe its time to ask how well its working.

Our states founders wanted the people to have direct access to the ballot. They saw it as a fundamental protection against unresponsive government. But if this process provides an occasionally needed corrective, its not the best way to make law.

The Arizona Supreme Court recently handed Governor Napolitano a double defeat.  In the first, the Court agreed to review the Governor's line-item veto.  In the second, the ruling in the line-item case was unanimous.    

This summer treated us to the films "Too Hot Not To Handle" and Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," as well as news that the Supreme Court will decide whether carbon dioxide (CO2) should be considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

Reinforcing the idea that CO2 is a pollutant, Gore and others often speak of "CO2 pollution." Before you train yourself to add the "p" word to your vocabulary, consider that CO2 comes from the Earth itself and its levels have fluctuated greatly throughout history.

Each year feminist groups organize an "Equal Pay Day," a day to lament the disparity between men's and women's wages. There's one problem with Equal Pay Day'"the premise.

Evidence shows women's choices, not discrimination, cause wage gap. Warren Farrell, former board member of the National Organization for Women's New York chapter, identifies 25 decisions that individuals make when choosing jobs in his book, Why Men Earn More. Women, he finds, are much more likely to make decisions that increase their quality of life, but decrease their pay. 

Too often occupational licensing laws protect industries from healthy competition rather than protect the public from valid health or safety risks. A recent front page story in the ­Arizona Republic exposed a classic example of an industry seeking to use government to prevent competition from entering the market. 

Line-item vetoes have become a touchy subject at the Arizona Legislature.  The Legislature recently filed suit against the governor, claiming that her line-item veto of changes to the state's personnel program, violated the Arizona Constitution.

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