Judge Napolitano on the 2012 Election, Obamacare, and The Future of Liberty


"Those of us who really yearn for a return to first principles, the natural law, the Constitution, a government that only has powers that we have consented it may have… are frustrated by the choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney," says Judge Andrew Napolitano, author of the upcoming book Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Your Constitutional Freedoms, Fox Business contributor, and former host of "Freedom Watch."

Reason Magazine's Matt Welch sat down with Napolitano at FreedomFest 2012 and discussed the ramifications of the Supreme Court's ruling on the individual mandate and whether or not there's a substantive difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney from a libertarian perspective.

Held each July in Las Vegas, FreedomFest is attended by around 2,000 limited-government enthusiasts and libertarians a year. ReasonTV spoke with over two dozen speakers and attendees and will be releasing interviews over the coming weeks. For an ever-growing playlist, go here now:

About 6:30 minutes.

Camera by Tracy Oppenheimer and Alex Manning; edited by Zach Weissmueller

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  1. "For Reason TV, I'm Chartlon Heston from the beginning of The Planet of the Apes."

    So the Judge prefers Romney's future Supreme Court picks to Obama's? Well, it doesn't seem Mitt could do much worse than almost every one of the ones on the bench now.

    1. He could appoint another Clarence Thomas. With very few exceptions, I could definitely live with that.

      1. Thomas is, at best, a very mixed bag that still tilts towards the state.

        That's damning with very faint praise, in case that didn't come through.

        1. Sounded more like fainting with damned praise to me.

        2. I'd agree that a few of his decisions are like that, but all in all, he's very much an originalist and federalist, two pillars (IMO) of freedom.

    2. Next time I see Matt, I'm going to make him say, "take your stinkin' paws off me you damned dirty ape."

      1. Perhaps someone, I don't know, BakedPenguin, could shop Matt's head onto Heston's well-oiled and loinclothed PotA body.

    3. I agree with the Judge. When push comes to shove, Obama is just worse than Romney. I think a lot of people on this board (and writing for this magazine/blog) are just being obstinate. Yes Romney (and Ryan to a lesser, though very real extent) are too statist. But Obama accepts a socialist world-view, i.e. capitalism can only be tolerated at best is small doses, a group of experts should oversee the vast majority of what we do, what we are (male/female, black/white, rich/poor, etc.) is more important than who we are. I can't stand the guy and will hold my nose and vote to get him removed. My opinion is summarized by the bumper sticker I have on my car: "Anyone But Obama". It's the only reasonable choice. Yes Obama is that bad.

      1. Romney is that bad, he's a military socialist. Obama is a welfare socialist but they both suck horribly, you're making a mistake imo.

        If Romney is even a little bit better it makes no difference, the standard for winning as a "capitalist" president needs to be higher.

        Also Obama is going to be remembered as a dork and loser if he gets two terms and the economy crashes. It is excellent to see Democrats whine.

  2. Speaking of celebrities, Penn Gillette does a better job than Piers Morgan of challenging conservative Obama critic Dinesh D'Souza.

    I must say that BBC interviewers are simply horrible on challenging the people they interview, relying on moral indignation rather than facts.

    I don't even like D'Souza's weird thesis, but one would think that a professional journalist could point out the difficulties.


  3. The Future of Liberty


  4. Bring back Freedom Watch!

    1. The Constitution is not as "limiting" and beautiful as the Judge claims. The necessary and proper clause are extremely amorphous, so is the commerce clause. And the Supreme court slowly rules against freedom.

      And our debt accretion is technically constitutional.

      1. So the progressives of the New Deal area and after would like you to think. A simple reading by a 2nd grader will tell you the proper meaning.


  5. With either Team in absolute power, "liberty" is fucked.

  6. There is no doubt in my mind that Th Jefferson was the small government candidate and, relatively, Romney is the small government candidate.

    And it is a fact that, fairly speaking, the Democratic-Republicans were the party of laissez-faire.

    But what that meant to them was, in large part, anti-corporatism. You can not argue except that the current anti-corporate factions are on the left, even if Barack Obama pays them no mind, e.g. signing very weak banking regulations as a response to the housing investment crisis of 2003-2013. Can you believe Goldman Sachs was selling CDSs they thought were worthless, which they were selling short, but which for customers were 93 cents on the dollar.

    So, in at least one important way, the left is distinctly more in line with TJ and the Democratic-Republicans than the modern Republicans, not to mention his party was also the secular party.

    Still, you folks are the best on civil liberties. I don't think the ACLU is as passionate about it as you folks are.

    1. The Left is only anti-corporations they don't like.

      1. They are perfectly fine with those who work within their ideology.

    2. Libertarians are the most consistent anti-corporatists. Whether it's opposing bailouts, the Fed, subsidies, regulations and laws aimed to crush competition etc., whereas the anti-corporate left often seems to find the need to make "exceptions"

      1. No, you missed the point.

        To be a libertarian, a real believer in limiting government interference in the economy, you have to against the existence of corporations themselves. It's a government grant of limited liability.

        ? that he who acts through an agent should be responsible for his agent's acts, and that he who shares the profits of an enterprise ought also to be subject to its losses; that there is a moral obligation, which it is the duty of the laws of a civilised nation to enforce, to pay debts, perform contracts and make reparation for wrongs. Limited liability is founded on the opposite principle and permits a man to avail himself of acts if advantageous to him, and not to be responsible for them if they should be disadvantageous; to speculate for profits without being liable for losses; to make contracts, incur debts, and commit wrongs, the law depriving the creditor, the contractor, and the injured of a remedy against the property or person of the wrongdoer, beyond the limit, however small, at which it may please him to determine his own liability (Cox, 1856, pp. i?ii).

        I'd say that quote doesn't end perfectly, but it is damn fine use of the language.

    3. Democrats are called Socialists, back in Europe.

      Libertarians oppose bailouts and subsidies, Democrats want to punish corporations which is different.

      And no one wastes more money than Presidents like Obama, private corporations can't commit schemes on that level.

      Pre-crime is immoral, it punishes innocent people. Libertarians own you dude.

  7. I am still hoping Napolitano gets nominated to the Supreme Court.

    Yeah, yeah, I know......but I can wish cant I?

    1. Obama is the president most dangerous to human freedom since Abraham Lincoln.

      I can see why.

      Just so you know The South will never rise again. Get the fuck over it.

      1. You're an idiot, he's not defending racism or slavery.

        Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and was a racist freak anyway.

        1. Pretty sure when the south attacked Fort Sumner the enumerated powers to defend against enemy's foreign and domestic kicked in.

          You are an idiot to think Lincoln was looking for war.

          It came to him not the other way around.

          You are also an idiot to think prisoners of war are given the right to stand before a judge.

          You are further an idiot to think that the rights of prisoners of war were not restored after the war ended.

          1. Fort Sumter

  8. Oh, and speaking of liberty.....

    I must once again make everyone here jealous by informing y'all that yesterday I acquired a beautiful stainless steel, 'ivory' handled Ruger vaquero in 32 mag. with a 4.5 in. barrel.
    I have never fooled with .32s before. I have discovered that it is surprisingly zippy and lots of fun to shoot. It will be the wife's new toy.

    My single action collection is nearly complete. I only need a convertible blackhawk in .357 with the extra 9mm cylinder.

  9. If this country can still be saved we've got to start by impeaching all the Justices except Clarence Thomas.

  10. At 5:08

    "Obama is the president most dangerous to human freedom since Abraham Lincoln."


    1. You can stop slavery and allow people to secede at the same time.

      Also the founders had slaves when they wrote the constitution, so the UK should have stopped them from seceding?

      Your logic is not razor sharp.

      1. White people don't get to enslave other white people, just like they should not enslave minorities.

      2. You can stop slavery and allow people to secede at the same time.

        Lincoln had no intention to outlaw slavery. His plan was to restrict the growth of slavery and then over time it would end on its own. The south knew this.

        So the south to preserve an already dying and brutal practice, unprovoked, attacked Fort Sumner. That happened. As President he had no choice but to defend against a hostile power.

        You are probably not a racist...but you are getting your history from racists.

        Try looking at US history before the war. none of it fits your insane narrative of Lincoln as a power hungry mad man bent on war or the north as an aggressor.

  11. @Joshua Corning-
    Fort Sumter, you forget, was in South Carolina. Not surprising that the Confederate States would demand the evacuation of the U.S. military. I was only after several months of refusal when Lincoln sent in an invasio fleet to reinforce the fort that the battle took place. So the South seceded to preserve a brutal and possibly dying practice, but the aggression was on the part of Lincoln, to whom national unity was sacred. Sometimes a conflict is between two bad causes.

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