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Firearms Preemption Update

Passed the Senate by a veto-proof margin. That’s not something that happens often in this state! If we can do that well in the House, we may be able to get this, despite the Dem governor. The GOP currently has a comfortable majority in the House, and pro-gun Dems are not yet extinct in this state. This might be doable!

Not a bad idea to call your senator and thank them. Shows we’re paying attention.

Toomey Cozy With Gun Control Crowd

We spent years trying to get rid of Arlen Spector, and now Pat Toomey being Arlen reborn is probably a best case scenario for guns:

The big question now is whether we’ve lost Toomey for good on the gun issue, or whether he’s just going to play both sides like his predecessor did. If Toomey is intent on being anti-gun, I can have a Democrat do that job just as well as a Republican. Just sayin, Pat.

Can We Please Start Seeking Congressional Authorization to Fight Wars as Our Constitution Demands?

It doesn’t get any more right when it’s “our” side that does it:

All of this is true, but it’s also true that the President launched the attack without approval from Congress and no clear and present danger to the United States or our allies.

The precedent for going to war under these conditions was set by the previous Administration, but that doesn’t mean that the current Administration should necessarily follow it.

It was wrong for Obama to intervene in the Syrian Civil War without even so much as consulting Congress when Obama did it, and likewise Trump should seek approval from Congress if he’s going to continue it. If he can’t get approval from Congress, that should say something.

I do think the President can act without Congress in the face of clear, immediate threats, and Assad might be a butcher, but we ought to demand our elected leaders follow the law.

UPDATE: For the comments: how many of your lefty friends on social media are acting like Obama hasn’t been bombing targets in Syria for several years now?

Gorsuch Vote Goes Nuclear

The GOP pushed the button on the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, clearing the way for Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed. Personally, I think they ought to nuke the filibuster for everything. Well, not completely nuke, just go back to the old rule that a Senator has to hold the floor to filibuster. The way some people have been talking you’d think the filibuster rule was carried down from Mount Horeb on stone tablets. In reality the filibuster rule that does not require the Senator to hold the floor only dates to 1975. Before that, it’s use prior to the 20th century was almost unheard of. In the 20th century, before the 1975 rule, it was mostly used to hold up civil rights legislation. So this idea that it’s a longstanding, revered institution is mostly nonsense.

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.

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