Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson was live on KGVO on Monday
A rare live visit to the KGVO studio on Monday by constitution specialist Rob Natelson of the Independence Institute, brought 90 minutes of questions from Talk Back listeners.
One of the first topics discussed was an upcoming challenge to the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States.
“The central idea is basically that a state cannot significantly restrict abortion on demand, or as the court is now saying, place an undue burden on it,” Natelson said. “In practice this means, I think, because no one is sure, that if the abortion is made more inconvenient as a result of a settlement, then the rule is invalid.”
On raising property taxes, Natelson said the lion’s share of property taxes goes to public education, and that there are alternatives available for parents of school-aged children.
“I have often thought that one of the choices, one of the ways to overcome it, is to bring more competition into the system through the choice of school,” he said. “I noticed the Montana legislature took a step in that direction, and of course the Supreme Court upheld a Montana school choice program last year.”
In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, Natelson felt that the federal government should not have shut down the entire country, but should have allowed states, through their legislatures, to adapt ways to respond to the pandemic that suit them better.
“Basically you have to look to the state and the local authorities to decide,” he said. “And that makes sense, because the kinds of solutions that make sense in New York City don’t make sense in Missoula, do they?” The kinds of solutions that make sense in Chicago don’t make sense in New Mexico, and so it should have been handled at the state and local level, as all previous pandemics have been handled. That would have been both the constitutional and the politically intelligent way to answer it. Instead, the Trump administration took hold of them, and they were very badly gored. “
A final question for Natelson was whether he was happy that, for the first time in 16 years, the Montanese elected a Republican governor to work with a Republican-dominated legislature.
“I’m going to phrase my comment in sophisticated legal terms, ‘Yippee’! “, did he declare. “I am particularly happy about it. Greg Gianforte was on the same page as me on many issues, including education issues. When I myself ran for governor in 2000, Greg Gianforte organized fundraisers for me in Bozeman, so, I mean, I’m absolutely thrilled. I am also absolutely delighted with the choice of Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras.
Juras was a law professor at the University of Montana while Natelson taught there.
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