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>

​While there are many things wrong with the Second Circuit’s reasoning and result, this brief will focus primarily on the two interests relied upon by the court to uphold the candidate expenditure limits.

Read the PDF here.

When this Court first created the contribution and express advocacy exceptions to protections for political speech, it recognized the questionable nature of the enterprise and strove to limit it, finding only in the most narrow of circumstances that a governmental interest in preventing corruption could trump protected speech. The government has since inverted the process, looking first for any proximity to an election as the preeminent question, and second to whether a speech interest exists. Speech jurisprudence is sliding down a slippery slope; prophylaxis is replacing narrow tailoring. It seems that it is now the regulation of speech, not its protection, that has its “fullest and most urgent application” where speech has any attenuated relation to an election.

Monday's Supreme Court decision on medical marijuana greatly expands federal power and restricts the ability of states to experiment with policies that differ with whatever party that controls Congress. While state medical cannabis laws remain in effect, law-abiding patients will think twice before violating federal law.

PHOENIX-In an important victory for consumers and free enterprise, the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down laws in New York and Michigan that make it a crime to buy wine directly from vineyards in other states, calling such laws discriminatory and anti-competitive. The decision may render similar Arizona laws unconstitutional.

The judiciary is an important, but often overlooked branch of Arizona state government. In particular, the Arizona Supreme Court has a profound effect on citizens' exercise of basic constitutional liberties through decisions that typically elicit little public scrutiny.

PHOENIX-The Goldwater Institute is pleased to announce the addition of 17 senior fellows, including Vernon Smith, Nobel Prize Laureate and former University of Arizona professor.

"The Goldwater Institute has a track-record of solid research and important contributions to public policy," Dr. Smith said. "I'm pleased to join in their work of expanding educational and economic opportunity."

William F. Buckley Jr. was in town Thursday to discuss the future of conservatism in a mock Firing Line with his son, the humorist and satirist Christopher, for the Goldwater Institute. (Christopher wryly noted what an honor it was to finally be a guest on the show, five years after it had gone off the air.)

Conservatives are feeling pretty cocky these days, believing that the political zeitgeist is at their back. But Bill Buckley's visit underscores the challenge four more years of the Bush administration presents to conservatism's fundamental beliefs.

In 2002, New Jersey's Carol Thomas made headlines after her teenage son used her 1990 Ford Thunderbird to sell marijuana to an undercover police officer. He was arrested, pled guilty and faced his punishment. However, that did not end the case. The government also seized Thomas' car, despite the fact that no drugs were found in the car, she was the sole owner, and she had no knowledge of her son's use of the car to sell illegal drugs. The government's action was pursuant to a legal doctrine-civil asset forfeiture-that allows police and prosecutors to seize and forfeit property without ever filing criminal charges against the property owner.