Post-modern restroom sign

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Polling blip or historic trend? (Trumpista politics edition)

Say what? Is the apparent anomaly in this recent NPR/PBS poll (see screenshot below) evidence of a historic electoral paradigm shift or just evidence of too small a sample?

Hat tip: Tyler Cowen

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Santa Alexandra?

Our Lady of Ocasio! Hat tip: @Vermeullarmine

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Boom or bubble?

Check out this fascinating report by Michael P. Regan (hat tip: Drudge) about the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), the world’s best-performing stock market. Here is an excerpt: “Jamaican stocks have surged almost 300 percent [over the past five years], more than quadrupling the next-best-performing national benchmark and septupling the S&P 500’s advance…. What explains these gains? A Caribbean economic miracle the world has overlooked? Not exactly: Real growth in Jamaica has averaged less than 1 percent the past four years, and it’s expected to come in at 1.7 percent for 2018. The bull market is partly a matter of math. It doesn’t take much investment to make a tiny market boom, and the total value of the 37 stocks in the main Jamaica index is less than $11 billion, smaller than the valuation of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. But it’s also a story about Kingston’s nascent attempts to reinvent itself as a financial hub, even as it works to reduce the heavy debt load that brought the country to the brink of crisis a decade ago.”

Welcome to Jamaica, Home of the World’s Best-Performing Stock Market

Source: Bloomberg|Quint

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Introduction to my Domestic Constitutional Violence paper

Happy Friday! Below are the first two paragraphs of my latest paper “Domestic Constitutional Violence,” which is now available here via SSRN (the footnotes are below the fold):

“We often associate violence with extra-legal behavior[1] or with the dark side of law enforcement.[2] But violence has also played a pivotal role in our nation’s history and in the development of constitutional law. Simply put, our government has often resorted to acts of “constitutional violence”[3] to effectuate major constitutional change. Consider the stain of slavery. From a practical perspective, it was not the formal enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment that eradicated this peculiar institution. Rather, it was the blood spilled in such costly battles as Bull Run, Chickamauga, and Gettysburg that settled the festering constitutional question of slavery once and for all.[4] The same logic applies to school desegregation and the Little Rock Crisis of 1957. From a practical perspective, it was not the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Cooper v. Aaron[5] that diffused the crisis or that ended school desegregation. Rather, it was President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s reluctant decision to send paratroopers of the 101st “Screaming Eagles” Airborne Division into Arkansas in 1957, a full year before the Supreme Court’s decision in Cooper, that desegregated the iconic Central High School and changed the course of U.S. civil rights .[6]

“In short, momentous constitutional questions are often decided not through ordinary legal channels but by force. But the use of force to effectuate constitutional change poses a constitutional puzzle. In particular, what is the relation between violence and the overall legal system of government created by the Constitution? After all, the federal courts and the Congress do not have their own armies to enforce their decisions or laws. So, as a matter of constitutional first principles, one could argue that a president is acting “within” the law when he uses military force to enforce a law or court order, but at the same time, isn’t the use of military force totally antithetical to the idea of a republican constitution?[7] If so, is there any viable solution to this logical paradox? Eisenhower’s fateful decision to resort to military force during the Little Rock Crisis thus poses a constitutional paradox.[8] Was his use of force itself lawful, and if so, what are the outer limits to this power?”

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States of perpetual emergency

According Ryan Struyk (via CNN), “the US has been in a perpetual state of declared national emergency for four decades, and the country is currently under 31 concurrent states of emergency ….” Do these multiple cries of alarm sound familiar?

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Feliz cumpleaños, Don Quijote

What’s up, doc? The first edition of Book One of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote (El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha), the first modern novel according to Harold Bloom, was published on this day in 1605 in Madrid.

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