Professor Matthew Franck, Chair of the Political Science Department at Radford University, has inaugurated a new feature at NRO's Bench Memos (a blog to which I also contribute): The Perennial Publius. Inspired by a class he is teaching on the The Federalist Papers, Franck has inaugurated a series of posts on the wit and wisdom contained therein. As he explains:
This semester I’m teaching a senior-level class in which my students and I are marching through the whole of The Federalist, the series of 85 essays written in 1787-88 to urge the ratification of the Constitution. Using the whole series in a class is a rare thing, in most universities, and I’ve never done it myself as a teacher. But the essays of Publius (the nom de plume of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay) are such a rich trove of insights into the principles of the Constitution, and of the thinking that undergirds it, that returning to them again and again is always a rewarding experience. . . .
Plus, as some scholar once demonstrated years ago (and it was no surprise), the Federalist essays are the most frequently cited source in Supreme Court opinions, after the Court’s own precedents themselves. How much authority to grant the hurried productions of Publius is an interesting question. But the prose is so sparkling, and the work looms so large in American consciousness as our most distinctive contribution to political science, that the temptation is always there in judicial chambers to haul out the Federalist for support. And more often than not, you’ll be on firm ground.
Franck has contributed eight items to the series thus far, including today's item on Hamilton's suspicion of standing armies. He is a provocative scholar who doesn't mince words, so this series is definitely worth a look. The series, and Franck's other posts on Bench Memos, are indexed here.