Elliot Engstrom | All Articles

Elliot Engstrom
Elliot Engstrom
Lead Counsel, Civitas Institute
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      Elliot Engstrom

      Elliot Engstrom is Lead Counsel with the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF). There, he litigates in courts across North Carolina against abuses of government power. Cases range from public records lawsuit to administrative agency actions to constitutional litigation. Prior to joining CLF, Engstrom worked as a litigation clerk at the Goldwater Institute and as Director of Communications for Young Americans for Liberty. He is a 2014-15 Koch Associate and a 2016-17 E.A. Morris Fellow.

Scalia’s Vacancy Will Set Off A Structural Power Struggle

              U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia gives a speech sponsored by the Federalist Society in Bozeman, Mont., on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013.  Scalia said the U.S. Supreme Court is making decisions that should be left to Congress or the people, from wiretapping to

The vacancy of Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court has set off a predictable power struggle over his replacement. As that struggle plays out during the coming months, it will serve as a reminder that, as much as Americans love the Bill of Rights, it is not the most important part of the United States Constitution.

In Afghanistan, today’s friends are tomorrow’s enemies

11:47 AM 08/09/2010

Now that coalition forces have just recently suffered their deadliest month yet in the conflict in Afghanistan, it now has become more crucial than ever to rethink the strategy of the United States and its allies in the region.  Currently, the cornerstone of this strategy rests upon two key factors – winning over the local peoples of the region, and training local forces to carry the burden when, and if, coalition forces leave the region.

Realism, taken to its logical end, is non-interventionist

10:48 AM 07/19/2010

Usually supporters of America’s current wars in the Middle East find me to be naïve when they discover that I am vehemently opposed to an American presence in the region.  In their minds, I just do not understand realism or how power politics actually functions.  My anti-war sentiments are the idealistic notions of an inexperienced youth who thinks that everyone should just get along.

Overextension, lack of restraint on both sides of the Atlantic

12:00 AM 06/07/2010

Financial crises can be very difficult events to understand. Even for those who have spent a great deal of time studying such areas as finance and economics, comprehension of these disasters can be elusive. However, analyzing shared elements in the recent American and Greek financial crises can help give even the economic layman insight into their common causes.

Is there a positive side to communitarianism?

12:00 AM 05/04/2010

I’ll admit, maybe the flat-screen TV’s and minifridges are a bit much, but, as far as socialist-leaning countries go, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Scandinavia. While for many libertarians and conservatives the “taxation is theft” debate immediately comes to mind when speaking of such countries, I’d rather point to the rationale behind Norway building the world’s “most humane prison”—to attempt to give people who are imprisoned a real chance at reintegrating into society upon release. In other words, a real, tangible concern for the welfare of people other than one’s self. Time writes:

Federal government and the link to poverty

12:00 AM 03/17/2010

Often times when conservatives speak of the government treating the rich differently than the poor, the discussion is framed around taxes and welfare, with the argument being made that the government forces the highest earners to pay a massive percentage of all taxes, both punishing success and stifling overall economic productivity and making it all the more difficult for anyone not in the upper echelons to accumulate wealth for themselves. I sincerely hope that I have not constructed a straw man version of this common conservative argument, as I certainly think it has a great deal of credibility. However, I also would like to draw attention to the fact that while government loots the rich through the direct means of taxation, it likewise loots the poor, albeit through a different set of means that is much more difficult to recognize, and thus much more difficult to counteract.

Lessons from the anti-federalists

12:01 AM 03/08/2010

The anti-federalists were some of the greatest libertarian-minded thinkers and writers in the history of our nation. They were extremely critical of attempts to unify the thirteen new states under a single Constitution, as they felt that government should be kept as close to home as possible. For example, the anonymous anti-federalist author “Montezuma” wrote an Oct. 17, 1787, article in the Independent Gazetteer titled “A Consolidated Government is a Tyranny,” which later became Antifederalist paper No. 9.