Author: Tim Kowal

Tim Kowal is a husband, father, and attorney in Orange County, California, Vice President of the Orange County Federalist Society, commissioner on the OC Human Relations Commission, and Treasurer of Huntington Beach Tomorrow. The views expressed on this blog are his own. You can follow this blog via RSS, Facebook, or Twitter. Email is welcome at timkowal at gmail.com.
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Book Report 2013

Still not a lot of uninterrupted non-manic toddler time for writing, but she does enjoy some political non-fiction before bed. Among my favorites this year were the latest installments from Robert George and Mary...

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It’s Time to Unbundle Health Insurance and Health Care

John C. Goodman in his book Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis argues that Obamacare will not make health care better or more affordable because it doubles down on the same genetic defects as before–the ill-conceived bundling of health care and health insurance. Reformers opposed to Obamacare will be unable to propose a real solution until they see the problem.

The Democrats Have a “Principled” Contingent, Too

Ever since “The One” was elected, the Democrats have seemed to represent a relatively coherent ideology. Its New Left contingent was quiescent with the express and implied promises of a decisive leftward move. And...

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Cultural Kelvin

Awash in the reek of my own community’s orgy of modernity, I found Tim Stanley’s ablution most welcome: In the words of Joe Orton, “Cleanse my heart … let me rage correctly.” So what...

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“Picking the man and then searching the law books”

Two weeks ago, the Justice Department issued a public notice inviting applicants “‘to refer anyone who had any information’ that might build a case against [George] Zimmerman for either a civil rights violation or...

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A leisurely Sunday afternoon riot

After we returned from an early dinner with friends late Sunday afternoon, we began to hear the reports of disturbances a few blocks away from where we live in downtown Huntington Beach.  The annual...

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What happened to the “danged fence”?

You won’t find me getting terribly agitated about immigration reform either way – I think it’s the right thing to do, but I don’t see it as much of an opportunity to gain Hispanic-vote...

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Human life is not too controversial

The rhetorical case for protecting the unborn has succeeded. The debate is over.  It would be, that is, had the Supreme Court not issued – in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s own words – a “difficult to justify,” “heavy-handed judicial intervention” in Roe v. Wade 40 years ago.  Today, nearly two-thirds of Americans support making abortion generally illegal after the first three months of pregnancy.  A staggering four-fifths support bans in the last three months.  So if the pro-choice movement is […]

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Prop 8 stands?

Consider this: 1.  The Supreme Court today ruled in its opinion holding DOMA unconstitutional that the states are entitled to decide their own marriage laws.  Assume this is not a meaningless statement – a “bald, unreasoned disclaimer,” as Justice Scalia called it.  (This may be asking much of those who recall the majority opinion author’s prior work in Lawrence and Romer, rich with such disclaimers.) 2.  President Obama also acknowledged today that Americans’ views on marriage are based on “deeply […]

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The NSA and Privacy: Why Conservatives Should Not Be Sanguine

Defending the NSA’s program that collects information about the American public’s phone calls and emails, President Obama offered this bit of doublespeak: Well, in the end, and what I’ve said, and I continue to believe, is that we don’t have to sacrifice our freedom in order to achieve security. That’s a false choice. That doesn’t mean that there are not tradeoffs involved in any given program, in any given action that we take. So all of us make a decision […]

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How do you interpret a constitution?

The biggest cause of confusion faced by Originalists—the folks who think the Constitution means what it originally did in the late 1700s—isn’t the one you’d probably guess at first.  You’d probably guess it has to do with how we can know what 18th century Americans were thinking.  And how can anyone know what Americans more than two and a quarter centuries ago thought “due process” was, or what a “reasonable search and seizure” was?  We can hardly get consensus on […]

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How do you interpret a constitution?

The biggest cause of confusion faced by Originalists—the folks who think the Constitution means what it originally did in the late 1700s—isn’t the one you’d probably guess at first.  You’d probably guess it has...

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“You don’t ‘seize’ the center, you create the center”

When I learned it, I thought the motion for this month’s Intelligence Squared U.S. debate – “The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die” – was simply dreadful.  How could the opposing case possibly be made without fighting a losing battle with the proposition itself?  Of course the GOP needs to win more votes from the center; of course they’ve been successfully characterized as out-of-touch with centrists.  And indeed, the pre-debate poll showed a staggering 65% in favor of the […]

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Irregular Constitutional Order

I’ve seldom agreed with Hugh Hewitt so strongly—and readers know I agree with him a lot—as I do on repealing the medical device tax through regular constitutional order and not the usual rendering of pig lips and cow parts.  Hewitt has a post today on the issue at his blog.  Here’s a key exchange from Hewitt’s interview yesterday with Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means health subcommittee, who agrees with Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp on […]

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The judge as moral philosopher

Reviewing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner’s Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts in the Claremont Review of Books, David Forte exposes Justice Scalia’s famous legal positivism as moral philosophy by another name.  “They call false,” Forte writes of Scalia and Garner, “the ‘notion that the quest in statutory interpretation is to do justice,’” and they, like Alexander Hamilton, prefer judges to be “‘bound down by strict rules and precedents.”  But judging, Forte pushes back, is […]