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>

As they do every four years, liberal columnists and pundits are fretting that a Republican presidential victory will mean a right-wing U.S. Supreme Court that will undo decades of (mostly liberal) precedents.

Funny thing, we've had a working conservative majority on the Court for over a quarter-century, and the hysterical predictions haven't come true. The Court has restored greater protection for property rights and limits on government power, but the Court has overturned few precedents. The changes have been evolutionary, not revolutionary.

The Arizona Republic recently reported that developer abandonment threatens bankruptcy for "as many as 200 of the more than 10,000" Arizona homeowner's association communities. If there is an HOA bubble that is about to burst, it was created by government mandates and subsidies, so the best reform option is to stop those policies, not throttle contractually-created communities with more regulation.

Only six months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear in Heller that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms. Now the fight is shifting from guns to ammunition by gun prohibitionists who would render the right to keep and bear arms meaningless by limiting and taxing bullets.

It is inherently dangerous to confer the coercive powers of government upon a guild. Exhibit A: the Arizona State Bar, which is on a rampage to suppress free-speech rights.

The candidates considered by President Barack Obama for the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter ran the gamut from mainstream to radical. In choosing Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Obama appears to have resisted the impulse to choose a justice who would try to remake the Constitution, in favor of a well-qualified judge who usually votes along liberal lines but shows an independent streak.

Sen. John McCain, the probable Republican presidential nominee, has discovered that the fastest, surest, and best way to win over skeptical conservative voters is to promise to appoint conservative judges a critical issue considering that several Supreme Court justices are likely to retire during the next administration.

Rarely are proposed statutes models of clear and precise writing. But H.B.2331, sponsored by Reps. Tom Boone and Sam Crump, is exactly that. It provides that Arizona cities and counties "shall not enact an ordinance or resolution that in any way limits or prohibits the lawful enforcement of the United States immigration laws."

One of the hallmarks of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts is its avoidance of divisive constitutional rulings at all costs. The latest example of this approach is the Court's decision in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder, which sidestepped a constitutional challenge to the "preclearance" provision of the Voting Rights Act.

In the aftermath of the 1964 presidential election, the American media was quick to interpret Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory as not just a defeat for Barry Goldwater, but as the end of a movement.

"Barry Goldwater not only lost the presidential election yesterday," New York Times Washington Bureau Chief James Reston declared, "but the conservative cause as well."

The Arizona Senate is considering a bill that would regulate homeowner associations by imposing government mandates on HOA contracts.

This bill runs afoul of freedom of contract, the principle that the government should not interfere with agreements reached by willing parties. This principle recognizes that the state should not superintend the wisdom of contractual relationships.