Monday, January 25, 2010

Constitutional Law 101 Lecture 2 Now Available For Download


An Internet Course

Presented By Professor Henry Mark Holzer

Hank Holzer delivered his live Lecture 2 on Sunday, January 24, 2010. This is its content:

2. The American Constitutional System

A working definition of "constitutional law."

"Originalism" and other tools of constitutional interpretation, emotional and otherwise. And a word about this week’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Griswold v. Connecticut, illustrating federalism, separation of powers and judicial review—and judicial invention at its worst.

Kelo v. City of New London, illustrating the Supreme Court's playing fast and loose with clear constitutional language.

Judicial supremacy: primarily Chief Justice John Marshall's opinion in Marbury v. Madison, which established the principle of Judicial Review; how the Supreme Court came to be the Constitution's final arbiter and the Court the more equal branch.

Federalism: the relationship and tensions between the federal and state governments, with examples showing federal legislation affecting matters which should be within the powers of the states; how the Court thwarted Arkansas voters, and how the conservatives thwarted Congress in the Brady Law case of Printz v. United States.

Separation of powers: the relationship and tensions between the three supposedly equal branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial — with examples of where the "more equal" Court refereed battles between the other two branches and, in the bargain, expanded its own powers. Illustrations include President Truman's seizure of the steel mills during the Korean War and the House's refusal to seat a playboy Congressman.

The length of Lecture 2, and how it can be downloaded, can be found after the last sentence of that lecture’s contents, HERE. Click on “Add to Cart” to purchase.


Please remember that while there is no "homework" for these lectures, to benefit fully from them Hank Holzer strongly recommends you obtain and read a copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Also, especially before you download Lecture 2, you will benefit from reading the Supreme Court opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut. You will find it useful to have the four documents available during the lectures you download.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"The Best of Times, the Worst of Times": Ruminations by Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer about Anne C. Heller’s "Ayn Rand and the World She Made"

Corrected Version

Hank Holzer and I got to know Ayn Rand a half-century ago. For several years we represented her legally, and during these past fifty years, Rand’s ideas have continued to be a major influence on our lives (and that of countless others.)

Until recently, there was virtually no biographical information available about Rand written by people without their own axe to grind. The Brandens, hardly dispassionate observers, have had their say. The Ayn Rand Institute, devoted to the promulgation of her ideas and thus having its own interests to serve, has weighed in. Other biographical writing has been published, but by authors who did little or no original research and provided only superficial analysis of Rand and her work.

In late 2009, a biography by Anne C. Heller entitled Ayn Rand and the World She Made was published. Heller’s book is commendably long on biographical detail and contains some fascinating insights about Rand’s unconventional ideas in the context of her novels (especially The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged), but it is unfortunately a mixed bag when it comes to providing her readers with a satisfactorily balanced perspective from the people who knew Ayn Rand well—particularly in the Sixties and at the time of her break with her then “intellectual heir,” Nathaniel Branden. Some of Heller’s sources, quoted and anonymous, who know better, have nothing good to say about Rand.

For about five years in the late 1960s, Hank Holzer and I were close friends of Ayn Rand. It is from this perspective that we have written our lengthy essay/review entitled, “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times”: Ruminations by Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer about Anne C. Heller’s Ayn Rand and theWorld She Made. It can be found HERE.