A rare live visit to the KGVO studio on Monday from Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson from the Independence Institute, brought 90 minutes of questions from listeners on Talk Back.

One of the first subjects addressed was an upcoming challenge to the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.

“The core holding essentially is that a state may not restrict abortion on demand significantly, or as the court now says impose an undue burden on it,” said Natelson. “As a practical matter what that means is, I think, because nobody is sure, that if abortion is made more inconvenient as a result of a regulation then the regulation invalid.”

On the matter of increasing property taxes, Natelson said the lion’s share of property taxes goes to public education, and that there are alternatives available to parents of school aged children.

“I've often thought that one of the choices, one of the ways of addressing it is to introduce more competition into the system through school choice,” he said. “I noticed that the Montana legislature has taken a step in that direction, and of course the Supreme Court last year upheld a Montana school choice program.”

In responding to the COVID 19 pandemic, Natelson held that state governments should not have shut the entire country down, but the states, through their legislatures, should have tailored ways to respond to the pandemic more suited to them.

“Basically, you need to look to the state and local officials to decide this,” he said. “And that makes sense, because the kinds of solutions that make sense in New York City don't make sense in Missoula, right? The kinds of solutions that make sense in Chicago don't make sense in New Mexico, and so this should have been handled at the state and local level, as all previous pandemics have been held handled. That would have been both the constitutional and the politically smart way to respond to it. Instead, the Trump administration took ownership of it, and they got very badly gored.”

One final question for Natelson was if he was pleased that for the first time in 16 years, Montanans elected a Republican governor to work with a Republican dominated legislature.

“I'm going to put my comment in sophisticated legal terms, ‘Yippee’!,” he said. “I'm particularly happy about it. Greg Gianforte was on the same page with me on many issues, notably education issues. When I ran for governor myself in 2000, Greg Gianforte organized fundraisers for me in Bozeman, so, I mean I'm just absolutely tickled pink. I'm also absolutely delighted on the choice of the Lieutenant Governor, Kristen Juras.”

Juras was a fellow law professor at the University of Montana while Natelson taught there.

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