Hobby Lobbyist

Hobby Lobby won its case - to not be forced to provide contraception – 5-4:

The justices’ 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

Look for an escalation of “War on Women” rhetoric in 3…2…1…

Looks Like The DFL Is Going To Have To Find $2 Mill Somewhere Else!

The SCOTUS rules 5-4 that forcing private independent healthcare contractors (and, presumably, child-care workers) to join unions violates the First Amendment:

The ruling is a financial blow to labor unions that have bolstered their ranks in Illinois and other states by signing up hundreds of thousands of home health care workers.

 The case was brought by a group of Illinois in-home care workers who said they didn’t want to pay fees related to collective bargaining. They claimed the “fair share fees” violate their constitutional rights by compelling them to associate with the union.

According to a local attorney involved in the case, the opinion distinguishes between actual public employees and those – like daycare providers and Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) that are employed by their customers. 

Minnesota’s PCA/daycare unionization law is a dead issue now – as is the Messinger Dayton administration’s litigation to defend it.

Up next, Hobby Lobby.

RIP Otis McDonald

In the late sixties, a justifiably obscure SCOTUS’ “decision”,  ”US v. Miller” (a depression-era case involving a robber who was murdered before his case made it to the court, and for whom no attorney argued before the high court) was dragged out of the legal ether by a series of liberal, activist judges, and installed into a misbegotten place as binding precedent that led, by a tortuous “logical” route, to the Second Amendment being interpreted for four decades as a “collective right”.   Just the way the Ku Klux Klan interpreted it until the 14th Amendment came along.

The Heller case began the process of flushing this noxious bit of authoritarian posturing down the latrine of history.

But it fell to Otis McDonald – a seventy-something black man who just wanted to defend his life and property against the crime that had overrun the neighborhood where he’d lived since 1971, in which he’d raised three of his children – to deliver the coup de grace against Chicago’s racist, classist gun ban.

Otis McDonald

It was merely the latest of several fights for McDonald, who was 76 when the SCOTUS upheld his demand to be allowed to defend himself, his family and his property, and not be treated like the government’s livestock.

It was one of many battles he fought in his long, full, unsung-but-productive life.

McDonald started life as one of 12 children of a Louisiana sharecropper who’d left the land at 17, deep in the Jim Crow era.  He worked for decades as a janitor at the University of Chicago, joined the union, earned a living, raised a family…

…and watched his neighborhood decay from a comfortable blue-collor area to a crime-ridden gang shooting gallery.

He sought “permission” to own a handgun – because as an older man, he couldn’t stand up in fight against one predatory teen, much less the whole pack.  The city of Chicago, adhering to the gun control movement’s orthodoxy that black people must only be seen and heard at the polls, and shouldn’t be getting all uppity in between elections, shut him down with, as it were, prejudice.

And so he, along with three other co-plaintiffs, filed suit – which duly led to the Supreme Court and, in 2009, victory in the case that bore his name, and incorporated the Second Amendment as law binding all lesser jurisdictions; the right to keep and bear arms was, as it has always been, a Right of The People, not the National Guard, not to be frittered away by self-appointed racist elitists out of the fear of armed brown men that motivates all gun control.

McDonald, on the day of his case’s epic victory.

McDonald, a humble man without even a high school education, accomplished more to secure freedom than many buildings full of Ivy-League-spawned pundits and lawyers ever will.

Otis McDonald passed away last week at age 79, after a long battle with cancer.

Massood Ayoub:

As a black man in America, he fought his way up from economic disadvantage to earning a good living for his family. He fought against violent crime in his adopted city of Chicago, and in so doing came to his most famous battle as the lead named plaintiff in McDonald, et. al. v. City of Chicago. In the plaintiffs’ landmark victory in that case in 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that neither the Windy City nor any other city could ban law-abiding citizens from owning handguns for defense of self and family. The McDonald decision helped pave the way for the concealed carry permits now being issued throughout Illinois

.And the wages of McDonald’s victory are being felt – despite the media’s attempt to suppress them – today.  More at noon.  Oh, yes – oh, so much more at noon.

And so rest in peace, Otis McDonald.  Your legacy – leaving your world a freer place than the one you came into  - is one that shames those of a whole lot of people who came into this world with advantages you never dreamed of.

At noon today:  McDonald’s legacy is already saving lives.

Hold The Straw

One of the least useful arguments against gay marriage was “so it’s about love?  So if you love your goat, or a child, you could marry them?”

Neither goats nor children (age of consent laws notwithstanding) have standing to sign contracts, of course.  It’s kind of a strawman.

But the other, inevitable part of the argument is “so what about polygamy?”

Remember – it’s all about love, and civil rights.  And groups of people most definitely do sign contracts.  So who are we to hold our antiquated “monogamous” standards over polygamists’ heads?

No, it’s not a strawman

What’s magical about the number two?

In fact, you could argue that there is an even better argument for polygamy than for same sex marriage. For one thing, there’s a long tradition (just look at the heroes of the Old Testament.) It’s also intimately tied to religious practice, which means that by prohibiting polygamy, we might also be undermining the “free exercise thereof.”

Why should we impose our values on others?

Now, you might say that there is historical evidence to support the fact that polygamy is bad for women and children. This is sophistry. The truth is that right now about half of all marriages end in divorce, and lots of kids are already struggling, so it’s not like traditional marriage is a panacea. Besides, nobody is forcing you to be a polygamist. This is a choice.

And unlike gay marriage, which is entirely a modern Western social construct, Polygamy has occurrred througout human history, including our own. 

There are practical reasons, too. It’s harder and harder these days to make ends meet. As a man, I can only imagine how much more efficient it would be to have one wife in the workforce and another wife at home with the kids. This would be much better for the children than shipping them off to some nursery school. And having three parents is a lot better than having just one … or none.

Yesterday’s SCOTUS decision, and last fall’s election in Minnesota, had clear-ish verdicts; “marriage” is “about love” and “civil rights”.

So what – legally - is the difference between a monogamous and polyamorous family unit, since those are the standards?

Just So We’re Clear On This

On Tuesday, lefties squealed like stuck cats that the SCOTUS were a bunch of racist fascists for repealing the parts of the Voting Rights Act that said that the states of the Old South – in many of whom blacks have better election turnout than whites – should forever be judged by their pre-1960 election records.  States Rights were a bad thing!

Yesterday, the same precise lefties danced in the streets due to the SCOTUS’ getting the feds out of the way of states rights. 

Just making sure we all follow this.

The Eternal Three-Branch Campaign

I don’t so much care about the repeal of DOMA itself; I thought it usurped laws that should be reserved to the states, and why shouldn’t gays pay into the divorce industry like everyone else anyway?

But Justice Scalia’s dissent on the DOMA decision was instructive:

“The Court is eager—hungry—to tell everyone its view of the legal question at the heart of this case. Standing in the way is an obstacle…”

The Court has “power to decide not abstract questions but real, concrete ‘Cases’ and ‘Controversies.’ Yet the plaintiff and the Government agree entirely on what should happen in this lawsuit. They agree that the court below got it right; and they agreed in the court below that the court below that one got it right as well.”

“What, then, are we doing here?”

Parts of the majority decision read like a Media Matters press release.

 

Legal Chum

What to say about the SCOTUS striking down parts of the Voting Rights Act?

The Act was intended to add federal oversight to elections in states with long-standing patterns of discrimination in voting, and gross disparities in turnout.

In 1960, about 70% of whites in Mississippi voted compared to under 7% of blacks.  The most recent figures show blacks in Mississippi have higher turnout than whites.

Is it time for the feds to give the states back what is under the Constitution their sovereign right, subject to further litigation in cases where actual discrimination does still exist?  Well, so says the SCOTUS.

Naturally, the left is playing this as “Voting Rights for Blacks Gutted!”, which is disingenuous at the very least, but it’s what they need to do to get ready for what will no doubt be a tough election for Democrats in 2014.

Perhaps its time for the Feds to look at elections in Minnesota.

Chanting Points Memo: Only The Master Gets To Write Gun Control Laws

Over the years on this blog, I’ve made certain observations about human behavior as manifested through online media, like blogs and Twitter.

I’ve captured and codifed some of these observations as “Berg’s Law“, a series of common observations that I’m pretty sure are universal.

One of the most commonly-invoked Laws is “Berg’s Seventh Law”, which states “When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds”.

I’ve rung up quite a number of occurrences of Berg’s 7th over the years. And I’ve found another.

Big-time.

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Eric Black, Flat Earther

I hinted at this in the past few weeks; one of the hard parts about being a Second Amendment supporter is that it feels a lot like the movie Groundhog Day.  Every time the left goes through one of its spasms of gun-grabbing, they bring up the same, exact, precise points every single time.  There is nothing new, ever, under the sun when it comes to anti-gun “arguments”.  Never!

And yet every single liberal, especially in the media, receives the same threadbare worn-out arguments from their elders during every spasm of this debate, as if they’ve discovered some new logical Killer Anti-Gun App.  And they trot them out with all the pride of a toddler that just made a good pants, repeating the moldy meme with a nod and a knowing, condescending wink, as if they think you’re lucky they suffer fools like you.

And you – me, in this case – shake your head, and re-muster facts that you’ve been deploying since before your children were born, and feel a little like the burned-out gunfighter in a Clint Eastwood movie; I’ve lived this day, or at least this argument, more times than I can remember.  I know these facts backward and forward.  There is not a corner of the left’s argument that I can’t make better than the lefty I’m wasting my time with.  

And on you go.

Fortunately, we’re not alone.

———-

The problem with Eric Black isn’t that he’s a lefty who’s been getting steadily more “out” about it for years, in the “pages” of the MinnPost, whose focus has been sliding away from “legitimate journalism” toward “being a DFL Public Relations organ” for this past year or so.

It’s that he believes, and reports, so much that is just not so.

Yesterday, he – oh, God, it’s that Groundhog Day endless repetition thing again – dragged out the theory by the gloriously-occuponymous Dr. Carl Bogus, that the Second Amendment was written to protect slave-owners.

I read it yesterday, and thought “even in monster movies, there’s only so many times you have to kill the critter before the movie ends”.  So with the esteemed Carl Bogus.

Fortunately, Joe Doakes from Como Park – an actual lawyer – took over.  I’ll add the odd bit of emphasis to Joe’s email:

God, not that old chestnut again. Carl Bogus? Really?

 Okay, facts: Bogus was indeed a law professor. He wrote a law review article for UC Davis in 1998. He admitted there was plenty of evidence the Founders intended the Second Amendment so ordinary people could resist tyrants. But he argued Southern slaveholders probably wanted to keep ordinary people armed to prevent slave rebellion. Therefore, the Second Amendment might have served two purposes: resist tyrants and oppress slaves. Bogus’ explicit argument is that ordinary people couldn’t have resisted tyranny and oppressed slaves acting alone so when the Founders said “the people” they must have meant “state militias.” His implicit argument is that since slavery is bad, the Second Amendment is tainted so we can ignore it.

Bogus’ arguments were immediately rebutted by other legal scholars, see for example “The Approaching Death of the Collectivist Theory of the Second Amendment” by Douglas Roots, 39 Duq. L. Rev. 71.; and “The Supreme Court’s Thirty-Five Other Gun Cases” by David Kopel, 18 St. Louis U. L. Rev. 99. The Supreme Court cited several of Bogus’ works in District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) but the majority opinion expressly rejected his collectivist legal theory. Bogus was mentioned in Justice Stevens’ dissent in MacDonald v. Chicago, 130 S. Ct 3020 (2010) as the source for a single statistic on handgun violence, but not even Stevens endorsed Bogus’ collectivist legal theory. Nobody endorses his secret slavery theory.

Bogus’ legal theories are not taken seriously by Constitutional scholars, only by gun-control advocates hoping to rent his diploma to give the appearance of credibility. That’s why Bogus was appointed a director of Handgun Control, Inc. and served on the advisory board of the Violence Policy Center. That’s also why Eric Black cites him. It’s as if the Flat Earth Society suddenly learned of this brilliant mathematician named Ptolemy who PROVED the Sun does indeed revolve around the Earth and thus vindicated what they’ve believed all along. Sorry, fellas, serious scholars have moved beyond that hoax.

Joe Doakes

Como Park

I’m thinking; is there an issue besides guns where a journalist can get away with so much guileless incuriosity as the gun issue?

And wrap that incuriosity in so much misguided-yet-inflammatory rhetoric?

Inevitably, the MinnPost ran a photo of Confederate soldiers along with Black’s piece. I suppose we should be thankful it wasn’t a photo of white guys lynching a black guy, huh?
That said, I suspect I just gave some clever MinnPost copy editor another bright idea for the next round of anti-gun articles, along with the next, inevitable citation of Carl Bogus as an expert on the Second Amendment.    You’re welcome, MinnPost.

Feminist dogma patrol, maybe, and even that doesn’t generally impact the Constitution.

Mark Dayton’s mental health?  That’s not so much “incuriosity” as “a gentlemans’ agreement between journalists and the DFLers who own them”.

What is it about Second Amendment issues that makes so many journalists act like journalists think mere partisan bloggers act?

———-

Nothing against Eric Black, of course.  He’s doing his job, which these days seems to be “advancing the DFL and Democrat Parties’ narratives”.  It’s good to have a gig.

But the mainstream media in the Twin Cities has gotten a free pass on their habit of just slopping whatever crap fits the DFL’s narrative in front of the public for far too long.

Freedom 2, Fascism 1

The US 7th Circuit has struck down Illinois’ civilian firearms carry ban:

The state of Illinois would have to allow ordinary citizens to carry weapons under a federal appeals court ruling issued today, but the judges also gave lawmakers 180 days to put their own version of the law in place.

In a 2-1 decision that is a major victory for the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the state’s ban on carrying a weapon in public is unconstitutional.

“We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside,” the judges ruled.

And there’s your importance of Heller and McDonald, right there.

“The theoretical and empirical evidence (which overall is inconclusive) is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden.

Boy, has it ever.

David Sigale, an attorney who represented the Second Amendment Foundation in the lawsuit, called the decision by the appeals court in Chicago “historic.”

“What we are most pleased about is how the court has recognized that the Second Amendment is just as, if not at times more, important in public as it is in the home,” he said. “The right of self-defense doesn’t end at your front door.”

I loved the little bit of closet fascism buried in this next graf (emphasis added):

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel said through a spokesman that he was “disappointed with the court’s decision.” The city is reviewing the opinion and will work with others “to best protect the residents of Chicago and still meet constitutional restrictions,” Bill McCaffrey added.

Comandante “Mayor” Emanuel:  your city is a war zone.  The best thing you can do to “protect the residents” is require each of them to become proficient at firearms.

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Our Moron Judiciary

Retired SCOTUS Justice Stevens is many things.

  • He’s a liberal dinosaur.
  • If you are either a pro-Second-Amendment Democrat or a Gary Johnson voter, he is a big reason to suck it up and vote for Mitt; the thought that another Obama term means three more “justices” like him should keep you up at night.
  • He’d seem to be one of those lawyers that you just want to punch when they’re in their twenties and thirties and strutting around showing everyone how much smarter than everyone else they like to think they are.
  • He’s either hopelessly ignorant, or he’s senile

This piece in the WashEx is evidence for all of the above:

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called for Congress to tighten gun laws in the wake of shootings such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colorado.

So Aurora can be as safe as Chicago!

Stevens noted that the legal precedent for restricting gun rights — United States vs. Miller — still stands, despite the ruling in the 2005 Heller case that overturned the Washington, D.C., ban on owning handguns, even in one’s own home.

Which proves the “dinosaur” case.

The “senile” case?  That comes next (with emphasis added by me):

“[Miller] was generally understood to limiting the scope of the Second Amendment to the uses of arms that were related to military activities,” Stevens said today during a question-and-answer session after a speech today with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project. “The Court did not overrule Miller [in Heller].

That’s technically true.  Heller overruled a specious, logically-vacuous train of opinion in lower courts that Miller meant that the Second Amendment was not a right “Of the People”, but that it might refer to assemblies of people like the National Guard.

Remember the bolded bit.  We’ll be coming back to it very shortly.

Back to Justice and Dolt Stevens:

Instead it ‘read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns . . . Thus, the Second Amendment provides no obstacle to regulations permitting the ownership or the use of the sorts of the automatic weapons used in the tragic multiple killings in Virginia, Colorado, or Arizona in recent years.”

For starters, Stevens – like the entire generation of bobbleheaded activists that spawned him – contradicts himself; he said Miller was limited in scope to the use of military weapons – which are, largely, “automatic”.  Meaning…

…well, not what “Justice” and senile fool Stevens thinks.  Here’s some remedial firearms education:  this is “automatic”:

This is “Semi-Automatic” – a mode found on many hunting firearms and possibly the majority of personal defensive handguns:

It was semi-automatic weapons that were used in virtually every major shooting - not full automatic.  The death tolls were not a function of gun’s firing mechanism, but of the fact that the victims were packed into small spaces and rendered defenseless…

…by the laws the likes of Justice Stevens foisted on us.

Stevens also had a recommendation for people who keep a weapon in their homes for self-defense purposes. “Maybe you have some kind of constitutional right to have a cell phone with a pre-dialed 911 in the number at your bedside and that might provide you with a little better protection than a gun which you’re not used to using,” he said to laughter.

My next 200 rounds at the range is dedicated to you, “Justice” Idiot Stevens.

As will be my next semi-automatic rifle purchase.

You’re welcome.

“Just Plain Wrong”

Matt Bai of WorldNet Daily, in the intro of a piece that tries to separate fact from self-indulgent liberal fiction in re the Citizens United case’s impact on politics.

Libs, of course, have been telling themselves and (mostly) everyone else that Citizens United completely swept away the foundations of democracy.

As a matter of political strategy, this is a useful story to tell, appealing to liberals and independent voters who aren’t necessarily enthusiastic about the administration but who are concerned about societal inequality, which is why President Obama has made it a rallying cry almost from the moment the Citizens United ruling was made. But if you’re trying to understand what’s really going on with politics and money, the accepted narrative around Citizens United is, at best, overly simplistic. And in some respects, it’s just plain wrong.

Read the whole thing.  And pass it on to your liberal and propaganda-addled (ptr) friends.

UPDATE:  Whoops – it wasn’t in WorldNet Daily.  The piece appears in that noted conservative tool, the NYTimes.

I regret the confusion.

UPDATE 2:  Bai, not Sai.

…Or You’ll Fall For Everything

Congresswoman Betty McCollum – my “repreentative” – put out a press release after yesterday’s SCOTUS decision:.

“Two years ago, I was proud to vote in support of the Affordable Care Act. Today’s historic Supreme Court decision affirms President Obama’s leadership to extend healthcare coverage to millions of Americans.

…and destroying the healthcare system and Americans’ sovereign rights to make key life decisions for themselves, rather than having them mandated by the government.

It is now time for Republicans in Congress to end their vitriolic repeal campaign and work on effectively implementing this law to the benefit of the American people.”

And there you go,.  ”Vitriolic”.

Dissent is hate!

We need to repeal Obamacare.  And we need to repeal Betty McCollum’s job as Congresswoman.

If you can spare a buck or two – or an hour or two – please donate or volunteer for the Tony Hernandez campaign.

And Now Our Mission Is Clear

From SCOTUSBlog’s liveblog of the Obamacare decision:

The money quote from the section on the mandate: Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.

And so like any other unjust or intrusive tax, we need to aboliish it.

If this isn’t the call to wake up, organize Republicans and get to the polls to vote airtight straight tickets for conservatives who wijll win, and who will go to Washington focused like laser beams on expunging Obamacare, then nothing is, and this nation is doomed.

As We Wait…

…for the SCOTUS to hand down their decisions on Stolen Valor and that other case, here’s something you can use at the water cooler when your lefty friends inevitably call the Roberts court “activist”:

Here’s the data on the first five years of the Roberts Court (gleaned from this NYTimes infographic):

 

(1) The Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts overturned precedent decisions at an average rate of 2.7, 2.8 and 2.4 per term, respectively. By contrast, the Roberts Court overturned precedent only at an average rate of 1.6 per term.

(2) The Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts overturned laws at an average rate of 7.9, 12.5, and 6.2 laws per term. By contrast, the Roberts Court struck down only 3 laws per term.

 

Just three laws per term! Far, far from being “eager” to overturn legislatures, as hack Toobin dribbled, and obviously, indisputably playing no unusual role in “second-guessing laws,” as Fallows alarmingly squeaked, the Roberts Court has been a model of restraint. Restraint is, naturally, one of Chief Justice Roberts’ well-known characteristics and it was remarked upon during his confirmation hearings. One could even creditably call the Roberts Court the most restrained, incrementalist Court of the modern era. (I assure you, these numbers have not changed appreciably in the past two years.)

So historically the Roberts court is quite conservative, and by that i’m talking in terms of judicial restraint.

But to a wahhabi lefty, “activist” means “rules against us”:

Should the mandate be overturned today, liberals will repeat their lie endlessly in order to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and to tarnish the Chief Justice’s good name.

Anyone taking bets on whether Ed Schultz, in a fit of self-righteous fury, tells his fans to storm the court with pitchforks and torches?

School Daze

Remember when Obama’s career as a “Constitutional Scholar” was supposedly a signal qualification for his bid for the presidency?

As we career toward the Supreme’s – ahem, the “Death Panel’s” – decision on Obamacare, either does law professor Glenn Reynolds:

Perhaps if Obama had ever written any scholarly articles on the Commerce Clause, he’d have had a better understanding. But then, he never wrote any scholarly articles on anything. As former Obama colleague Richard Epstein said: “I like Obama but I reject the suggestion that he is an intellectual. He is an activist merely mimicking the mannerisms of an intellectual.”

Not that being an intellectual is especially a qualification for the Presidency either; career academic Woodrow Wilson was not only one of our most disastrous presidents ever, but one of the most disastrous leaders in world history, whose incompetence caused problems we’re still paying for in treasure and blood (although he’s criminally overrated by the same academy he sprang from).

But as to those who said Obama’s tenure as a “constitutional law professor” was some sort of dispositive qualification for office?  Baked wind.  A President needs to know the Constitution about as well as a good policeman.  He’s got people to do the detail work.

Although with any luck, Obama’s going to need some new ones tomorrow.

Here’s A Flashback For You

Remember back in 2008, when liberals would stare all starry-eyed into space with that look teenagers used to get when Leif Garrett or Nick Carter appeared in Tiger Beat: “Oooh, Barack Obama was a constitutional lawyer!  That’s an ideal background for a President!”

At best, it’s irrelevant; a President needs to know about as much about Constitutional Law as a good cop does.  He’s got people for the complicated stuff.

At worst?  It’s one of the worst possible backgrounds for a President; the last think you want to do is turn lawyers loose around the law with nearly unlimited power.

Thom Lambert – a lawyer and former law student of President Obama – knows better:

Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun. Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise. Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5. You’d be a little embarrassed, right? You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.

(That’s one of the things I always wondered about people who went to law schools or “elite” universities; the idea that the institution one attends defines one’s personality, or indeed personhood.  To the extent it does, it’s in the sense of say “Hey, look at me, I went to Cornell, Go Tigers” – or, for that matter, “I’m qualified for a job because I went to an Ivy League school” – at in appropriate times).

(But I digress).

Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense (the deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act got through the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed to survive a filibuster and passed 219-212 in the House), saying that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that violates the Constitution is like saying that Kansas City is the capital of Kansas.

The Democrats, presiding as they have over four years of rot and decay, have switched to the “say what you’d like the truth to be and hope people buy it” school of public relations.  History shows it’s not a bad choice, albeit it’s still wrong…

Thus, a Wall Street Journal editorial queried this about the President who “famously taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago”: “[D]id he somehow not teach the historic case of Marbury v. Madison?”

I actually know the answer to that question. It’s no (well, technically yes…he didn’t). President Obama taught “Con Law III” at Chicago. Judicial review, federalism, the separation of powers — the old “structural Constitution” stuff — is covered in “Con Law I” (or at least it was when I was a student). Con Law III covers the Fourteenth Amendment. (Oddly enough, Prof. Obama didn’t seem too concerned about “an unelected group of people” overturning a “duly constituted and passed law” when we were discussing all those famous Fourteenth Amendment cases – Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, Romer v. Evans, etc.) Of course, even a Con Law professor focusing on the Bill of Rights should know that the principle of judicial review has been alive and well since 1803, so I still feel like my educational credentials have been tarnished a bit by the President’s “unprecedented, extraordinary” remarks.

Read the whole thing.

And then get a friend to come out to the polls to vote The Light Worker out of office this fall.

Reframing

Judicial Activisim.

To a conservative, it’s writing new law from the bench.

To a liberal / neosocialist?  It’s upholding the Constitution.

Joe Doakes from Como Park writes:

President Obama said:

“And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example, and I’m pretty confident this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

Judicial activism. You keep using that phrase. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Which is true.  But the real point is, just watch; this’ll be the opening salvo of an effort by the Administration, Media Matters and the left and media (ptr) to reframe “Judicial Activism” as a synonym for “Originalism”.

Place Your Bets

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I am willing to bet a crisp new $1.00 bill that Obamacare will be upheld in its entirety by the US Supreme Court.

The four liberal justices will say it’s fine – indeed, doesn’t go far enough.

The four conservative justices will say it’s abhorrent to the concept of enumerated powers and must be stuck down.

Anthony Kennedy will decide that ordinarily, the federal government can’t reach so broadly under its power to regulate interstate commerce. But he’ll find that the right to decide when and where to have a family is a Constitutional right and some people can’t afford birth control pills or abortions, so the entire nation can be forced to buy health care insurance in order to fund poor people’s birth control choices. In this one unique situation, the constitutional right to abortion is so important that any means the government uses to fund it, is justified.

5-4 to uphold.

Place your bets now.

Joe Doakes

Como Park

No action on that bet.

It’s waaaaaay too plausible.

Given The Drumbeat Of Gun-Control Prattle From The Left Lately…

…it’s almost reassuring to see that gun violence in Washington DC, which along with Chicago is the model city for gun control, is skyrocketing…:

Violent crime so far this year in the District has spiked sharply — a 40 percent increase that includes twice as many robberies at gunpoint than at this time last year.

Across the city, all police districts are reporting increases in violent crime, and all but one have had double-digit percentage increases, according to internal Metropolitan Police Department documents. The documents contained preliminary crime data for the city as of Thursday.

The crime rate is increasing this year after a downward trend — the number of reported homicides last year dropped to the lowest level in a half-century.

Homicides were the only category of violent crime to decline in the first six weeks this year. As of Thursday, the city had recorded 10 homicides compared with 11 at a similar point last year.

Overall, though, incidents of violent crime — homicides, sexual assaults, robberies and assaults with deadly weapons — are rising at an alarming pace.

…even as the Democrat orcs that govern our federal cesspool continue to stonewall the law-abiding gun owner and the defy post-Heller law of the land.

Democrats! The blood of all those innocent victims is on your hands!

Rolling In Justice

Government’s assault on human rights finally hits it where it lives; in its budget.  

The District of Columbia owes the plaintiff in Heller Vs. DC for legal fees and expenses:.

Dick Heller sued the city in 2003 over its ban on handgun ownership and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban in June 2008, saying it violated the Second Amendment.

A federal judge on Thursday issued an opinion awarding Heller’s attorneys $1,137,072.27 in fees and expenses. The attorneys had argued they should be awarded $3.1 million. Attorneys for the city said the figure should be closer to $840,000.

Governments can try to ignore speedbumps like “the Constitution” and “the law” and “morality”. But once you start talking money?

This could get fun.

Here’s To Government Planning!

Government loves to accrete power unto itself.

Because, say it and its adherents, there are some jobs that government just plain does better.

And in some cases, arguably, they have a good case.  Defense?  Sure.  Courts?  Yep.  Law Enforcement?  Sure, usually.  Public education?  Enh.  Roads?  Well, that’s the way we do it, I guess. Welfare?  Ugh. Economic planning?  Heh.  No.

Now, some believe government just plain does it all better.  Larry Pogemiller’s a great example – as he himself once said, “I think it’s silly to assume that people can spend their own money better than government can”.

Anyway, opinions vary.  But either way, one of the ways government does things is by “eminent domain” – basically, taking private property for the public benefit, whether that benefit is a road (mkay) or a hospital (sure) or…

…well, the projects range all over the place.  Being a government program, it can be used to further pretty much any government agenda.  It’s been used in the Twin Cities to seize the property of businesses in downtown Minneapolis to build the Target headquarters, and around 494 and Penn to make room for Best Buy – because government decided it just plain knew better than the people who were already there.

Anyway – one of the signal events in the history of Eminent Domain was the “Kelo” case, a SCOTUS case decided in 2005.  Pfizer wanted New London, Connecticut’s government to seize some private property to build an office/R’nD facility.

Pfizer won.

Everyone lost.

Brian Garst at Breitbart notes the rest of the story:

The public response was one of outrage. Facing the potential wrath of voters, politicians across the country moved to add new protections against such abusive seizures. But that wasn’t enough to save the homes of the folks in New London, whose property never would be developed. Pfizer, the intended beneficiary of the land theft, walked away years ago from their development plans.

Now, to add new insult to injury, the vacant lot is a dump. Literally.

 

But via » Years Later, Land Seized in Kelo Decision Used for Debris Dump – Big Government.

In 2005, Kelo v. City of New London made eminent domain infamous. The widely reviled Supreme Court ruling gave the go ahead for the city of New London to use eminent domain for taking private property in order that it be given to a private company for “economic development.”

The public response was one of outrage. Facing the potential wrath of voters,  politicians across the country moved to add new protections against such abusive seizures. But that wasn’t enough to save the homes of the folks in New London, whose property never would be developed. Pfizer, the intended beneficiary of the land theft, walked away years ago from their development plans.

It gets worse.  After all that – the legal wrangling, the government arrogance at all levels, the failure of the “devleopment” plan and the evaporation of the promised “economic development”, what happened?

Now, to add new insult to injury, the vacant lot is a dump. Literally.

Following hurricane Irene, the city designated the site as a place to dump storm debris, and citizens can be seen doing just that in this video on the local paper’s website.

Doesn’t that make you feel all warm inside? The Supreme Court reassured us in Kelo that the government orchestrated theft “would be executed pursuant to a “carefully considered” development plan.” What they forgot to mention is that careful consideration from politicians is worth about as much as the city’s new debris dump, which is to say: diddly squat.

It’s a metaphor, really, for most government action; it’s a fiction that government, choked with special interests, bureaucrats motivated toward accreting power and politicians who crave votes, can plan anything better than the invisible hand of the market.

The fact of the matter is that the development of the property was already being “carefully considered” by the folks that owned it, as is the case for all privately held property, and in their careful consideration they wanted to keep living on it. The lesson of Kelo is not merely on the illusory nature of our property rights. It’s also about the abject failure that is central planning, and the inability of political forces to better plan economic activity than the private sector.

 

Fair Is Fair

Robert Merrill – a veteran Marine officer who spent three years at Harvard Law –   leaps to Elena Kagan’s defense, at least in re

If Elena Kagan is “anti-military,” she certainly didn’t show it. She treated the veterans at Harvard like VIPs, and she was a fervent advocate of our veterans association. She was decidedly against “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but that never affected her treatment of those who had served. I am confident she is looking forward to the upcoming confirmation hearings as an opportunity to engage in some intellectual sparring with members of Congress over her Supreme Court nomination. I would respectfully warn them to do their homework, as she has a reputation for annihilating the unprepared.

In my opinion, Kagan’s positions never affected the services’ ability to recruit at Harvard. Behind the scenes, the dean ensured that our tiny HLS Veterans Association never lacked for funds or access to facilities. Recruiters simply could not use the school’s Office of Career Services. Does this demonstrate an “activist” streak, as some have proclaimed? I don’t think so. The school’s policy against discrimination was akin to black-letter law. If anything, Kagan was an activist in ensuring that military recruiters had viable access to students and facilities despite the official ban. A Boston-area recruiter later told me that the biggest hurdle he faced recruiting at Harvard Law was trying to answer the students’ strangely intellectual questions.

There may be a lot of reasons to keep Elena Kagan off the Supreme Court – she’s a preening elitist on a court already so full of Ivy Leaguers, she’s a not-so-closeted authoritarian, whatever.  Maybe hatred of the military isn’t one of them…

Open Letter To Mayor Daley

To:  Mayor Richard Daley

From: Mitch Berg, Real American

Re:  Your priorities

Mayor Daley,

Your city is overrun by gang-bangers who, despite your gun ban, make your city more violent than Baghdad today.

Your city is broke – and that great legacy of your city’s corrupt, stupid system, Barack Obama, is doing the same to the rest of the nation.

So now that the Supreme Court has strapped your city’s moronic gun ban – itself a racist concoction and a legacy of your notoriously corrupt father’s tenure in office – into the chair and gotten the switch ready to flip, I suppose it makes sense that you’ll focus on the “real problem”, the law-abiding gun owner:

As expected, Mayor Daley and Chicago’s City Council are circling the wagons to defend against an unfavorable decision by the Supreme Court concerning the city’s gun ban.

Daley said the city would have in place a new ordinance aimed at making it difficult to purchase and own a gun in Chicago.

“We’ll publicly propose a new ordinance very soon,” Daley said at an afternoon press conference concerning the gun ban.

Great to see you’ve got your priorities straight.

That is all.