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What’s the Opposite of a Second Amendment Lawsuit?

New Jersey legislators are suing Governor Christie over New Jersey’s loosened concealed carry permit requirements. Note that Christie did not make New Jersey in any way, shape or form shall-issue. He just made it such that someone facing bonafide threats could qualify. That’s more like Maryland’s standard. It’s almost as if they don’t want the peons able to protect themselves at all! From ANJRPC:

“Although 43 states recognize the right to defend yourself with a firearm outside the home, New Jersey remains one of a handful of backward states that apparently prefer their citizens to become victims – except for legislators, who themselves hypocritically enjoy the armed protection of State House security,” said ANJRPC Executive Director Scott Bach.  “Only in the Garden State do lawmakers actively block those facing serious threats from defending themselves. New Jersey’s days denying right to carry to its citizens are numbered.”

Let’s hope they are numbered. Whether the case comes from the Third Circuit or some other, I don’t care.

The Gorsuch Shoe Will Drop This Week

Sounds like we’ll find out whether McConnell has to go to the nuclear option to get Gorsuch confirmed by Thursday. I think from a strategic perspective, Schumer would be making an awful mistake to force a nuclear strike over Gorsuch. It makes a lot more sense for the Dems to save that fire when the time comes to fight for one of their seats. Rumor has it that Kennedy might retire this summer, which would be more consequential than replacing Scalia with Gorsuch. This really doesn’t change anything on the Court.

Chuck Schumer is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. He’s probably one of the most coy politicians I can think of. If he’s not intent on blowing up his munitions stockpile to appease the angry base, he’ll arrange things so that enough red state Democrats and a few non-vulnerable blue ones vote for cloture to let Gorsuch eke by.

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty also notes Dems might want to hold off until later:

But imagine that Trump picks someone else. We can skip past the nominations of Judge Judy, Pirro, Dredd and Reinhold, but let’s assume Andrew Napolitano is right when he boasts that Trump is considering nominating him for the Supreme Court. Or Trump nominates his sister, or he nominates any figure who leaves conservative legal minds unnerved from a thin record or other flaws.

In other words, imagine Trump nominating his own version of Harriet Miers.

In that scenario, not only would Democrats be likely to have the votes to filibuster the nominee, but they might have some Republicans willing to join as well. Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans will nuke the filibuster without a second thought when it’s being used to block a sterling judge like Gorsuch.

That’s another good reason. Don’t believe it couldn’t get far worse.

Nazi-Era Guns

Apparently a Canadian MP running for Prime Minister decided to do a photo op shooting a pistol, causing the Canadian outlet “The Hill Times” to opine that said MP, who was shooting a 1972 Walther P1, was firing a “nazi-era handgun.” Twitter, of course, immediately started having fun with the accusation. My comments:

  • Congratulations to Canadian gun owners: you’ve made it. You’ve become a constituency the politically ambitious feel they should pander to. Note this is different from getting them to actually do something for you (that will, sadly, always be pulling teeth), but if you keep at it you might have some victories ahead of you.
  • I’m always reluctant to comment on firearms in foreign markets. For different reasons, different firearms are more common or less common in other countries. So if you go by what you’d expect here, you might be wrong. I often wonder how often “experts” really means “friends I know who like guns.” Apparently there are a lot of P1s in Canada, which is a postwar variant of the P38. So not even a “nazi-era handgun,” anymore than a Volkswagon Beetle is a “nazi-era car” (a point made quite humorously on the Twitter thread).

It was a cheap shot by The Hill Times, and I’m glad to see if backfire. The story showing now has obviously been edited to not quite be so comically bad. I actually have a Mauser 98K manufactured by Sauer and John in 1938 (Russian capture, and in not great shape, so no big collector’s item). Am I now a nazi-sympathizer, as The Hill Times was obviously trying to imply here?

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.

Russian Agent Hypothesis

There’s not much gun news, so I’ll give you a topic. One thing that doesn’t make sense to me about the Russian Agent theory of Trump is that the greatest geopolitical threat to Russia faces is cheap oil and gas. Oil and gas revenues represent 60% Russian exports, and 30% of its entire Gross Domestic Product. About 50% of the budget for the Russian government comes from state-owned oil and gas revenues. American Frackers are arguably a greater threat to Putin than the US military.

So if Putin were going to put a Manchurian Candidate in the White House, why would his man be generally supportive of American energy? Russia has put a lot of effort into anti-fracking propaganda in the United States. It would seem to me a top priority of a Russian stooge in the White House would be to halt pipeline construction and to use the EPA as a weapon to make hydraulic fracturing as expensive and unprofitable as possible.

Gun Control Has Never Worked for Democrats

Really, for most Dem politicians, gun control is preening virtue signaling meant to make sure the right people know they support right kind of people values. For Dems in safe urban districts, this doesn’t come at much of a cost. But what the Democratic Party faces today is that it’s been reduced to those safe urban districts. In order to come back, it’s going to have to appeal to people in the suburbs and exurbs. This is how the Dems came back strong in 2006.

Salena Zito argues that women with guns are the next threat to the Democratic Party.

A very important nugget from the poll: Like every woman interviewed at the outdoor show, an overwhelming 80 percent of them support the goals and objectives of the NRA.

So they represent a large chunk of white, suburban, conservative, pro-Second Amendment women who didn’t particularly like Trump but couldn’t vote for Clinton. They kept their opinions to themselves at dinner parties and pulled the lever for Trump in the voting booth.

Croney said that definitely described her.

Remember the Hillary Clinton that ran ads against Barack Obama in Pennsylvania for being too anti-gun? Yeah, if that Hillary Clinton had run for President, maybe she’d be in the White House.

I keep telling Dem friends, “Look, Hillary was a uniquely awful candidate. How bad is Hillary Clinton? She lost to Donald Trump.” It’s often a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true. Hillary did literally nothing to have broad appeal. Her girl power campaign was alienating to men. That’s bad news when you need Black and Hispanic men to turn out for you in numbers that rival Barack Obama’s if you’re going to win.

Making gun control the centerpiece of her campaign only scared off voters who might have been open to her in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. That virtue signaling works for Dems in safe districts. It’s bad news in a nationwide race. Barack Obama ran both times downplaying his support for gun control. It was only after he didn’t have to face voters any longer that we saw his true colors on the issue.

Trolling Brilliance

I have to hand it to whoever thought this up. Seriously, this was brilliant. In this, the Era of Trump, this is the smartest bit of opposition activism I think I’ve seen so far. My hat is truly off to you.

For the people who fell for this: shame on you. Educate yourselves. They weren’t passing these flags off to ordinary people on the streets: they were passing them off to what are considered “core conservative activists.” And hey, you waved them with all the red white and blue passion we’d expect from people who only give a fuck about cheering their own team and not a damned thing beyond that.

The stakes are going up folks. If conservatives wants to be taken seriously, it’s time to start acting like that’s the case. Educate yourselves. If you took half the time and resources you spent cheerleading and tried to actually learn something, you might get somewhere.

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.

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