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.

18th and 19th Century Firearms Technology and the Second Amendment

Dave Kopel has an excellent article over at the WaPo detailing the fact that the Founding Fathers could have indeed envisioned repeating firearms, because there were several examples of them that were contemporaneous with the founding, or predated it. Even Henry VIII had a long gun that used a revolving cylinder to fire multiple shots without reloading. The issue was not that repeating firearms were unknown, it’s that they had to be hand made and were therefore the province of the very wealthy.

I’ve never believed that any of the founders would be supporters of modern gun control, mostly because they were gun enthusiasts themselves. There’s always the temptation on the other side to try to channel the founding to their own ends, but the fact is at the time, civilian ownership of firearms was wholly uncontroversial.

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.

Prep for Arizona Ballot Initiative?

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly have formed The Arizona Coalition for Common Sense. It looks like they mostly intend to push ending private transfers and sales. Last round Bloomberg barely eked out an electoral victory in Nevada, lost outright in Maine, and then lost in Nevada because the law was poorly drafted and demanded the FBI do something the FBI won’t do, which is run background checks on behalf of a point-of-contact state.

We’ve seen this pattern before. Bloomberg usually does push legislatively for a bill first, then comes in with the ballot only when the bill fails. Oregon’s Democratic legislature, for instance, preemptively surrendered on the issue, so no need for a ballot run there. Arizona’s legislature is not likely to play ball, however. Can we beat Bloomberg in Arizona, as we beat him in Maine?

Note they keep pushing the statistic that background checks are a 92% issue, when they have never come anywhere close to that at the ballot box.