The intellectual standards of Robert Trivers

Alex Greene: Our Constitution, Accountability and the Limits of the Power to Prorogue

UK Constitutional Law Association

Constitutions do many things. They distribute authority amongst public bodies, enshrine important points of substantive principle, and cement relationships between rulers and the ruled. However, in a more abstract and fundamental sense, constitutions also tell us something about ourselves as political collectives: they express the kind of polity we embody and the kind of people we have come to be.

Whether written or unwritten, constitutions establish the contours of our political communities. To use Hannah Arendt’s metaphor – borrowed from the Ancient Greek understanding of law as nomos – constitutions are the walls that encircle, define, and defend the everyday aspects of our political lives. It is against this normative backdrop that I want to reflect upon one element of what is expressed by the recent judgement of the United Kingdom Supreme Court in the cases of R (on the application of Miller) v The Prime Minister and Cherry and…

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Sam Fowles: Cherry/Miller: What’s Next?

UK Constitutional Law Association

Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down its unanimous judgement in Cherry and Others v The Advocate General and Miller v the Prime Minister. The court found that the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue parliament was unlawful and, consequently, null and void. This article aims to identify some of the immediate constitutional and political impacts of that decision.

The decision

Four key points underpin the court’s reasoning. First, the matter of justiciability. All parties accepted that the court was entitled to determine the existence and extent of prerogative powers. The government parties, however, argued that, where the power was exercised within its lawful bounds, it was not justiciable. Cherry and Miller argued that, even within lawful bounds, the ordinary principles of judicial review applied. The question of justiciability formed the cornerstone of the government’s case. Ultimately, however, the court decided it on entirely uncontroversial terms. The court found that it…

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Alfred Marshall on moral hazard and the theory of the firm


Another brain teaser for woke left @NZGreens @greenpeace @oxfam @AOC @BernieSanders @SenWarren @jeremycorbyn

Danny Nicol: Supreme Court Against the People

No longer possible to repeal the Fixed term parliament Act because dissolution by the queen would be subject to judicial review

UK Constitutional Law Association

The chorus that the United Kingdom Supreme Court’s decision on prorogation (R. (on the application of Miller) v The Prime Minister; Cherry and others v. Advocate General for Scotland [2019] UKSC 41) has “nothing to do with Brexit” cannot withstand serious scrutiny. The British electorate’s decision to leave the European Union is the pivot around which contemporary politics revolves. There is no question to my mind that the aim of prorogation was to ease Britain’s withdrawal from the organisation, and thankfully the question of prime ministerial motivation was not a live issue in the Court’s judgment. This post argues that the Court acted in a partisan fashion as if it were the legal wing of Remain, and that as a result the judiciary now needs to have its wings clipped.

The political fundamentals against which the Miller-Cherry case fell to be decided are as follows: (1) a majority of…

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California’s Dangerous, Bipartisan Anti-Vaccine Movement

Green Jihad

By Bethany Mandel, September 24, 2019, National Review

Activists left and right are protesting an effort to close loopholes in a state law mandating vaccination for schoolchildren. Here’s why they’re wrong.

There aren’t many policy proposals or causes that unite Left and Right these days, but in California, one has emerged: opposition to Senate Bill 276, which aims to close loopholes in a state law mandating vaccination for schoolchildren. Liberal and conservative activists alike have protested the bill at the state capitol and demanded that state legislators scrap it.

Unfortunately, this particular bipartisan movement isn’t just wrong — it’s dangerously wrong.

California has been the epicenter for anti-vaccine sentiment, and measles outbreaks, for the last several years. That’s not a coincidence; the former fuels the latter. When “herd immunity” dips too low, the entire “herd” is placed at risk. Anti-vaccine activists often ask, “If vaccines work and you’re vaccinated, why…

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James Flynn’s book on free speech was banned after it was accepted

Why Evolution Is True

James Flynn is a well known researcher on human intelligence at University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the man after whom the “Flynn Effect” is named. If you don’t remember that term, it refers to the continuing increase in intelligence, as measured by IQ, throughout the world. We don’t fully understand the trend, but it seems to be a real phenomenon.

At any rate, in this new article in Quillette(click on screenshot), Flynn recounts how a book he just wrote defending free speech (called, of course, In Defense of Free Speech) was rejected by Emerald Publishing, but not on very substantial grounds.

In fact, the book appears to be largely about colleges and universities and their attempts to deplatform speakers or otherwise enforce ideological purity through speech codes, trigger warnings, and the kind of “party line” that pervades much of the humanities. Why did the…

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Bruce Gilley Lecture on colonialism in Africa

Pielke on Climate #5

The Climate Fix


Welcome to issue #5 of my occasional newsletter on climate and energy issues. The above image comes from an essay I have in press titled “Climate Change as Symbolic politics in the United States,” which I’ll share in due course. The image shows a “word cloud” for President Obama’s Rose Garden comments on the Paris Agreement and those of President Trump in the Rose Garden. They were speaking in the exact same location about the exact same policy, but they clearly live in different symbolic realities.

As a reminder, my day-to-day research or writing is focused on sports governance and various issues of science policy. But I’ve written a fair bit on the topics of climate and energy over the past 25 years, including two recent books and a boatload of academic papers, and I’m paying attention. So caveat lector!

A few things to say up front:

  • If you don’t…

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