Currently Browsing: Government
Feb 24, 2017
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.
Feb 22, 2017
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.
Jan 31, 2017
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.
Jun 17, 2016
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.
May 18, 2016
New 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.
Apr 20, 2016
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:
Mar 24, 2016
The 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.
Mar 22, 2016
There’s a lot of concern that if Hillary, Bernie, or Joe Biden put in as pinch hitter for an indicted Hillary win in 2016, our goose is cooked as far as the Supreme Court go. But it’s not written in stone that the Supreme Court must have nine justices. Originally, there were six justices. Congress then added additional justices as we added federal circuit courts until it reached ten. Then in 1866, Congress passed the Judicial Circuits Act which said the next three justices to retire would not be replaced. That didn’t last long before in 1869, the number was returned to nine, which is where it remains today.
If the court were reduced back to 7, Scalia would not be replaced, and the next justice to die or retire likewise would not be replaced. You have two Dem appointees on the Court who are getting up there in the years (Breyer and Ginsburg), one Republican (Kennedy), and Thomas isn’t getting any younger either. It would seem to me that would preserve the balance on the court, and lower the stakes somewhat. But I think both sides like the high stakes, and therefore I don’t think this will ever happen.
Feb 17, 2016
So notes SCOTUSBlog. Typically when the Supreme Court is even numbered, splits uphold whatever the lower court ruling was. This indicates cases that split will be reheard when the next justice is confirmed. We have no Second Amendment cases before the Court currently, but the stakes in this election keep getting higher and higher, and yet the three ring circus carries on.
We’re going to need more than hope to hold the Senate firm on not voting on Obama’s nominee. It’ll take a lot of letters, e-mails and phone calls to keep Senators in line.
This may be all I have for today. The news cycle is not thrilling. Maybe a news post tomorrow.
Feb 15, 2016
Mitch McConnell came out pretty quickly and said that the Senate would not confirm a replacement for Scalia until after the election. The left is, naturally, in full outrage mode. I don’t really care. The Senate has to hold firm, because the very existence of the Second Amendment as any kind of meaningful right is at stake. I really enjoyed this bit of snark from Jim Geraghty this morning:
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell should just give this speech:
We should not confirm any Obama nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances. They must prove by actions not words that they are in the mainstream rather than we have to prove that they are not . . .
This is just a prologue considering the constitutional harm and dramatic departures that are in store if those few are joined by one more ideological ally. We have to, in my judgment, stick by the precepts that I’ve elaborated. I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally from joining Sotomayor and Kagan on the court.
That, of course, is a speech from Chuck Schumer from June 2007, with “Bush” replaced with “Obama” and “Roberts and Alito” changed to “Sotomayor and Kagan.” Watch the video; the audience at the American Constitutional Society gave it roaring applause at the end.
Read the whole thing. The Dems would never be so stupid as to confirm a justice that would fundamentally alter the makeup of the Court in the last year of a Republican Administration. Kennedy was confirmed in Reagan’s last year, but the vacancy occurred in 1986. The Senate rejected Robert Bork, then Douglas Ginsburg withdrew after it came out he once smoked a doob. Kennedy was a compromise candidate the Dems were relatively pleased with.
I tend to agree with Charles Cooke that the GOP should probably have remained open to acceptable candidates. If Obama decided to float Prof. Randy Barnett or Prof. Akhil Amar as compromise candidates, I would argue the Senate should take them pretty seriously. Neither Profs. Barnett or Amar fit nicely on the left-right spectrum, but neither are likely to greatly offend either side.
On the other hand, it would seem likely that President Obama has until February 22nd to make a recess appointment, since the Stupid Party decided to afford him that opportunity. Of course, let’s not give him any ideas either.