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Currently Browsing: Government

Dems Want Deal on Gorsuch

The Dems are looking for a deal that would allow Neil Gorsuch through without a filibuster, but would preserve the filibuster for further appointments. The dumbest thing the Stupid Party could do is take this deal. Force the Dems to filibuster Gorsuch, and use the “nuclear option” if they do. The GOP already know the Dems would have done this to them if they had taken the Senate and White House and we were looking at Hillary’s nominee to replace Scalia. They know because when they thought victory was a lock they said as much.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind compromising on a more liberal originalist like Randy Barnett if one of the Dem appointees on the Court kicks it or retires. But for political reasons, that probably isn’t happening. Neither side wants a justice who will limit government too much.

I’ve thought for a while that they should return to the old filibuster rule that requires the filibustering Senator to actually hold the floor. You’d think Senators would love opportunities to grand stand on issues that are important to voters, especially in this social media driven world.

Administrative Power

I’m often conflicted, because while I fundamentally believe popular sovereignty, I don’t view the concept as particularly good at preserving individual rights. So we have a republican government with lots of checks on its power. At least in theory. In practice it’s never really lived up to the ideal, but it probably worked better than many alternatives. But one thing I’ve always loathed is the Administrative State. Some people are now calling it the “Deep State” while others argue such a concept is a figment of right-wing nut jobs imaginations. The Administrative State is very real, and this strikes me as an excellent critique of it:

My scholarship (past and forthcoming) argues that administrative power undermines equal voting rights by shifting much lawmaking power out of Congress into the hands of unelected administrators. My work shows, moreover, that this shift occurred when the knowledge class regretted the boisterous sort of politics that came with equal voting rights. Woodrow Wilson candidly explained that “the reformer is bewildered” by the need to persuade “a voting majority of several million heads”—especially when the reformer needed to influence “the mind, not of Americans of the older stocks only, but also of Irishmen, of Germans, of Negroes.” One could go on at length with such quotes, and certainly administrative power has been dominated by whites of a certain class, but the point is not narrowly about racism. Instead, it is about how a class that expected deference to its knowledge was disappointed with the results of equal suffrage in a diverse society. It therefore welcomed a transfer of lawmaking power out of the elected legislature and into the hands of the right sort of people.

The argument, in other words, is not against an elite, but against the administrative dilution of representative government and equal voting rights. There will always be elites, and this is part of the valuable differentiation that can occur within a free society. Rather than oppose such differentiation, my scholarship suggests that all Americans, even elites, should confine themselves to working through the Constitution’s representative framework of government.

Hat tip Instapundit.

Conspiracy Theories

A few years ago, if you had said “The CIA is using my TV to spy on me,” you probably would have been sent to the loony bin for observation. But thanks to Wikileaks, we know it’s true! The Internet loves a good conspiracy theory, so I’ll throw one out there:

Also because of Wikileaks, we now know the intelligence community has the ability to hack systems and leave a Russian or Chinese “signature” on an attack. I’m thinking this probably just involves leaving some Russian or Chinese language root kit laying around, but maybe it’s more sophisticated than that. I haven’t read the documents first hand yet.

It was always in Barack Obama’s personal best interests for Hillary Clinton to not be the next President of the United States. Had Hillary won, Obama would have been forced to take a back seat, and the Clintons would then be firmly at the helm of the party. If Obama was to retain control of the Democratic Party, Hillary had to lose. But Obama couldn’t be seen to be deliberately sabotaging her campaign. So what’s the conspiracy theory? The whole “Russians! Under My Bed!” scare is a cover. Obama used Weeping Angel to sabotage Hillary’s campaign and had the intel community leave evidence to ensure it would get blamed on the Russians. Now his plants in the intel community are using the cover to sabotage Trump, and hopefully draw attention away from the hit on Hillary. Crazy? Absolutely! But so was the idea that the CIA would use people’s TVs to spy on them a decade ago.

I’m just messing around here, but at this point it wouldn’t surprise me. How long before people are putting on tin foil hats because it really does keep the CIA from reading your thoughts?

UPDATE: Along the same lines, this is the beginning of the end for encryption as we currently know it.

Does Cruz Know Something?

Ted Cruz is predicting there will be a Supreme Court vacancy this summer. A lot of people are getting very optimistic about Second Amendment cases because we get to replace Scalia with Gorsuch. Even if Gorsuch turns out to be as solid on the Second Amendment as Scalia, that doesn’t get us anywhere. Recall that before Scalia stepped down, the Supreme Court still wasn’t taking gun cases, even when the lower courts were just as if not more blatant than the 4th Circuit Court of appeals was. We need to replace Ginsburg or Breyer if we’re going to get anywhere.

Interestingly, however, not too soon after Cruz made his prediction, Ginsburg told the BBC she’s not so sure how much steam she’s got left:

Asked how much longer she would stay in post, she said: “At my age you have to take it year by year. I know I’m OK. What will be next year?”

She added: “I’m hopeful however, because my most senior colleague the one who most recently retired, Justice John Paul Stevens, stepped down at age 90. So I have a way to go.”

I wouldn’t read too much into that, but that doesn’t sound like someone who’s intent on staying on the High Court until the bitter end.

Crowninshield Gets Three Years for Manufacturing Without a License

For those of you who remember, Daniel Crowninshield set up a scheme whereby a person would purchase an 80% lower, then would pay him to use his CNC mills to finish it. The government argued that this amounting to manufacturing without a license. A novel theory, to be sure, but because they picked the right guy they never had to test out this novel theory in court.

Now, if you help people machine AR-15 lower receivers for profit, you can probably expect to spend some time in prison. Just a bit of general advice for people who might be tempted to try to walk the razors edge on violating or not violating the Gun Control Act: it probably will not look very good to a jury if you go by the alias “Dr. Death.” I mean, it’s a free country and all, but just sayin’. I’d also not advise not walking the razor on GCA while being a domestic violent misdemeanant, allegedly in possession of an unregistered machine gun. I’m sure that probably played into the decision to take the plea deal. Now the feds get to claim a scalp without having to test their novel theory of manufacturing without a license in court.

UPDATE: Along the same vein, attending open carry protests and making sure everyone knows who you are, and knows that you’er armed, when you have two felony raps is also not going to make things easy on your lawyer.

Trump’s Pick to Replace Scalia

It’s Neil Gorsuch. You can check out his profile on SCOTUSBlog here. As John Richardson noted earlier today, he’s not written any opinions on the Second Amendment, but he’s in the same mold as Scalia, except for not being very fond of Chevron Deference, which is fine by me. We don’t know exactly where he stands on the Second Amendment, but given his overall judicial philosophy, I’d find it doubtful he’d be against us. That will need to come out in the hearings.

Speaking of the hearings, I fully expect this to go nuclear, meaning the Republicans will have to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees the same as they were eliminated for lower court nominees by the Dems. I think they should do it, because they can be absolutely assured the Dems will do it if they control the Senate again in the future. They pretty much said they would. Don’t give GOP lawmakers room to be fools and unilaterally disarm.

It’s important to remember, Scalia was the strongest justice on the Court for the Second Amendment. Replacing him with someone just as solid is just not going backwards. I would have preferred someone with a record on the Second Amendment. We never had records on Roberts or Alito, but they both voted with us when it counted. Alito and Thomas are strong on this issue. Either Roberts or Kennedy, or both, are softer supporters. We need to get one more vote on there before we’ll be moving ahead.

UPDATE: NRA is endorsing the choice out of the gate. My guess is they have talked to him, and the speed of the release means they knew about it before it was announced.

Unintended (Or Perhaps Intended) Consequences of Terror Watch List

I wanted to elevate this comment from Divemedic the other day to a full blown post, so folks could understand how this could end up playing out if the Dems, Toomey and Bloomberg get their way:


My son is on [the Terror Watch] list. He is listed as a suspected terrorist. He was even visited by DHS agents, and his passport was revoked.

Now, I raised my son better than that, and he is most certainly not a terrorist, so how did he wind up on that list?

My son is a travelling nurse. He flies all over the world, treating and transporting patients from one place to another. It pays very well. He recently got paid for a 4 day trip, escorting a patient to Australia, and was paid $4000 for 4 days’ work. This week, he is in Milwaukee, and is being paid $12,000 for ten days’ work. In between trips, he works at the local trauma centers, and was one of the nurses on duty this past weekend in the Orlando area.

Now that you have the background, here is how he wound up on the terror watch list:

A known terrorist was arrested, trying to enter the country with my son’s passport. Well, not his actual passport, but a forgery with all of his information on it.

In all of his travels, he once had to go to the Dominican Republic to bring a patient home. While he was there, a government official photocopied the passports of the entire crew: 3 members of the flight crew, a respiratory therapist, and my son. Those photocopies were sold to people who make forged identity papers, and that information was used to create fake papers.

My son received a visit from DHS, they revoked his passport, and he had to apply for a new one. His name, birth date, and other information is now on the suspected terrorism watch list, because that information is now known to be used by terrorists.

This proposed law would prevent my son from buying a firearm, even though he has not broken a single law, nor is he likely to.


And remember, the Dems don’t want there to be any way for you to get off the list. They rejected the Coburn/NRA bill because it would provide for that. That’s because the goal is not to protect us from terrorists. The goal is to make as many people prohibited as possible so gun ownership becomes more burdensome and legally risky than it already is.

In NY, Cats Must Be Armed. People Not So Much

NRA Deputy CatNew York is considering a ban on declawing cats. But of course: in New York, we declaw people instead. I get that declawing is pretty gruesome, but like most feel-good legislation (gun control being only one example) things aren’t so cut and dry. The unintended side effect (and there always is one when you use the force of the state to bend people to your will) will likely be more cats being put down after frustrated owners dump their problem felines on overflowing shelters. Pick your evil.

Jackson to be Replaced on $20 Bill

I, for one, approve of replacing racist genocidal Democrats with gun toting Republican women! I have to admit that it’s Iowahawk’s Internets. He just allows us to dwell on it:

Campaign Against GOP Senators on Scalia Replacement Fizzling

Merrick GarlandThe campaign to pressure Republicans to confirm Merrick Garland seems to be fizzling. As Glenn Reynolds noted, “Because everyone knows the Dems would do the same thing if parties were reversed.”

This whole business is depressing. If the Dems win the White House in 2016, we’ll get worse, and that may be the end of a meaningful Second Amendment. I think we have two real votes for a meaningful Second Amendment on the court: Thomas and Alito. Scalia was the third, but he’s gone now. I didn’t think there was anything radical about the Alito and Thomas concurring opinion in the Stun Gun Case, yet it’s interesting that neither Kennedy nor Roberts joined it. My perception, I hope I’m wrong but fear I’m right, is that the reason there’s been no certiorari granted on any of the gun cases is because the Heller majority had two weak links. Heller and McDonald may very well be the best Scalia could extract from his colleagues who formed the five justice majority in those cases.

Our best case scenario is quickly shaping up to be President Trump picking Scalia’s replacement. I don’t know if that scares you, but it scares the hell out of me. Makes you think that maybe McCain & Romney weren’t such bad guys after all.

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