William J. Watkins, Jr. | All Articles

William J. Watkins, Jr.
William J. Watkins, Jr.
Research Fellow, Independent Institute
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      William J. Watkins, Jr.

      William J. Watkins, Jr. is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute. He received his B.A. in history and German summa cum laude from Clemson University and his J.D. cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a former law clerk to Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and he has served as Assistant U.S. Attorney, Associate at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, and Associate with Leatherwood Walker Todd & Mann.

      His books include Judicial Monarchs: The Case for Restoring Popular Sovereignty in the United States and the Independent Institute book, Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy (Palgrave/Macmillan), and his scholarly articles have appeared in the South Carolina Law Review, The Independent Review, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, Exploring American History Encyclopedia, and America in World History Encyclopedia.

      Mr. Watkins is the recipient of the R. Glen Ayers Award for Historical Writing and the CALI Award for Contracts I, Civil Procedure, Problems in Professional Responsibility. His popular articles have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Daily Caller, USA Today, Washington Times, Austin American- Statesman, Providence Journal, San Jose Mercury News, Washington Examiner, Denver Post, Fort Worth Star- Telegram, Bellingham Herald, Lexington Herald-Leader, Sacramento Bee, Duluth News Tribune, Janesville Gazette, Walworth County Today, Wapakoneta Daily News, Dispatch, La Crosse Tribune, Lewiston Sun Journal, and Newport Daily News, San Francisco Examiner, Human Events, Chronicles, and Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.

Bill of Rights Day And National Mourning

black ribbon mourning Shutterstock/Chinnapong

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day. Americans are encouraged to display the flag and meet to celebrate the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who declared the first Bill of Rights Day in 1941, described these early amendments as the “great American charter of personal liberty and human dignity.” He urged an annual “day of reassessment of their present meaning and their living worth.”

Did The Constitution Deliver?

11:33 AM 09/15/2016

By federal statute, September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.   Americans are treated to speeches, news articles, and proclamations praising the U.S. Constitution.  Woodrow Wilson, writing in the late 1800s, correctly observed that an “undiscriminating and almost blind worship” had developed toward the Constitution in all the American states.  One hundred and thirty-one years have passed since Wilson penned those words, but little has changed.  The American people continue to venerate our national charter.

Without Antonin Scalia, What Now For The Constitution?

12:07 PM 02/15/2016

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest serving member of the U.S. Supreme Court, has died of "natural causes" at the age of 79. The 1986 Reagan appointee once made it clear why his sudden departure is a matter of great concern.

Let Modern Privateers Disrupt ISIS

1:36 PM 12/07/2015

The Paris attacks and subsequent investigation leave no doubt that jihadists were preparing coordinated aggression against the West and that many sleeper cells remain. Recent ISIS propaganda videos threaten New York City and other American targets.

Remembering Our First Constitution

10:52 AM 09/17/2015

By federal statute, September 17 is designated Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Americans on this day are encouraged to remember and revere the signing of the U.S. Constitution, which took place in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. The anniversary should remind us of our nation’s unique heritage, but the observance has long been clouded by a politically correct collective amnesia.

John Roberts And Barack Obama: Partners In Legacy

7:08 PM 07/22/2015

Just as President Barack Obama sees the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) as central to his legacy, so does Chief Justice John Roberts. No interpretation, however tenuous or downright wrong, is off the table for the Chief when adjudicating a case dealing with the ACA.

The Great Charter Turns 800

12:26 PM 06/02/2015

June 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Part peace treaty and part written constitution, the Great Charter is the fountainhead from which so many cherished American liberties spring.

China Declares War On U.S. Intellectual Property, Gets Into The Patent Trolling Business

11:13 AM 10/08/2014

China is not known for its respect of intellectual property rights. According to the U.S.-China Business Council, counterfeit products make up approximately 15-20 percent of total Chinese GDP. That is staggering, making China in some ways a scofflaw nation. Thousands of shipping containers arrive in the U.S. daily from China and contain a variety of knockoffs headed for American cities. The sale of these products, both at here and in other countries, takes money out of the pockets of American companies and workers.

Gingrich is right about judicial supremacy

4:04 PM 01/17/2012

The press has belittled Newt Gingrich for criticizing the judicial supremacy of the Supreme Court. Commentators have labeled him “fascist” and accused him of embracing a “sinister radicalism.” Gingrich’s ideas, we are told, offend basic constitutional principles, like the separation of powers.

Government by Commerce Clause

3:53 PM 11/30/2010

Are there any limits to the federal government’s power to regulate commerce? U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson has promised a decision on this issue before the end of this year. Judge Hudson is presiding over the Commonwealth of Virginia’s challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare), which forces Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

Electing the supremes

12:34 PM 07/01/2010

Republicans and Democrats are battling over Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court - and for good reason.  The stakes are high.   Our political leadership realizes that the court has become the most powerful policy-making body in the nation.