Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's constitutional is at the whims of a handful of judges

Many, if not most, Americans believe that the US Supreme Court has the last word on what's constitutional or what the Constitution means. Those believers are wrong.

The idea that the US Supreme Court has the final say on the law comes from the Court itself -- not from the Constitution (see Marbury v. Madison). Congress has consistently shown that if lacks the courage, integrity, and understanding to stand up to the Supremes.

The US Supreme Court often issues opinions that are wrong and sometimes outright evil! The justices on the Court rarely agree on anything. How can they get so much wrong? Because they rarely rely on the Constitution to determine what's constitutional. Instead, they rely on "precedents" -- often-flawed opinions of past judges!

Now, we learn that, in the background, Supreme Court justices quietly edit their opinions without public notice or input!

The Constitution clearly specifies that Congress is the legislative (law-making) branch of the central government. Not bureaucrats in the executive branch. Not unelected lawyers in imperial black dresses.

The Constitution requires all government officials (politicians, judges, bureaucrats, law enforcement officers (including all attorneys) and members of the military forces) to swear to be loyal to the US Constitution -- not to judicial opinions and precedents, political parties, or to any person or group of persons.
One single object will merit the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation. — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Livingston, March 25, 1825

The public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges' views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice. I have no fear of constitutional amendments properly adopted, but I do fear the rewriting of the Constitution by judges under the guise of interpretation. — Justice Hugo Black, Columbia University's Charpentier Lectures (1968)
While many citizens don't take a formal oath of loyalty to the Constitution, it is imperative that all voters understand the Constitution and the principles upon it was built and vote accordingly. Vote for principles -- not people or issues.

We need smarter voters.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Domestic terrorists?

Regarding last month's armed confrontation in Nevada's desert, I read this commentary on a forum this evening:
These criminals and potential domestic terrorists need to be treated as the hooligans that they are. A bloodbath needs to be avoided as this is their sick wet fantasy but everything must be done to enforce the law and put these criminals behind bars. We live in a nation of laws and in the 21st century. We have a Federal Government who has ultimate authority over state laws. This is established fact as determined by repeated U.S. Supreme Court rulings. We don't live in the wild, wild west. The domestic terrorists who pointed weapons at federal authorities in Bundy's dump need to be arrested if they show up at this criminal enterprise in Utah. We cannot allow hooligans to think that they can break the law and that their actions don't have consequences. This is Native American land for goodness sake. I think that is self evident. Any person who denies the authority of the federal government over the state is delusional and naturally a loon. But this describes libertarians in general as being a bunch of out of touch extremists not in line with the realities of the world. I still like you as a person and a friend but denying the way that the U.S. government and our laws operate is inherently being a loon. For goodness sake, you are defending radical militias who are committed to bringing civil war towards the goal of bringing America "back" to some utopian fantasy. You are defending people who have respect for Timothy McVeigh. [emphasis mine]
Clearly, some people are governed by emotion and ignorance -- not reason, fact, and history. And they just love to throw the term "domestic terrorist" and at anyone who respects the US Constitution and the liberties it protects (if followed).

The states are not mere functionaries of the central government (as the ignorant, and the power-mongers who thrive on the ignorance of the masses, in this nation seem to believe). The states were and are sovereign (possessing supreme or ultimate power) states before the central government was even a dream. King George III acknowledged that fact in the treaty that ended our war for independence.

Through the US Constitution (I suggest all study it), those sovereign states created the central government -- not to have "ultimate authority" over them, but to simply perform clearly defined and limited roles better done collectively than as individual states such as national defense. Those roles are listed in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution. The 10th Amendment clearly tells the central government that it has no powers other than those listed in the US Constitution.

The writer mention "repeated US Supreme Court rulings" that say other wise. First off, kings rule (we supposedly have none of those). Supreme Court justices do not rule -- they issue opinions -- opinions which are rarely unanimous but usually conflicted and contradictory, and often even outright wrong. A major reason this nation's government is out of control is because politicians and bureaucrats obey dangerously flawed Supreme Court opinions rather than the plain wording and intent of the very US Constitution they swear to follow.

Article I of the US Constitution severely limits the amount and purposes of lands the central government is permitted to control: "places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings." There is no constitutional provision for the central government to hold land via out-of-control agencies such as the Bureau of Land management (BLM), National Park Service, National Forest Service, and the seemingly endless alphabet soup of other federal agencies. This is the core of the long public-land-access battle between the BLM and Cliven Bundy and hundreds of other ranchers; tourists, campers, hikers, and sportsmen; and the western states.

There certainly is no constitutional authority for any of the above-listed agencies to have sworn law enforcement officers -- with SWAT teams! (There are now over 70 federal law enforcement agencies -- how many do you think is enough and how much power do you think they should have?)

As for the "domestic terrorists" the writer condemns, they are nothing more than Americans who are fed up with a central government which refuses to obey the "supreme law of the land" which is the US Constitution -- not the central government or the Supreme Court. We need more people like those "domestic terrorists". Because of the insolent intransigence of the central government, they are coming.

BTW, there is no evidence that most of the "militia" in the final showdown between Bundy supporters and armed BLM agents were armed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stop the mandate for reporting of gun sales

A little noticed and virtually unreported April 15 notice posted in the Federal Register suggests the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) intend to expand to all states the multiple-rifle sale reporting requirement currently imposed on four border states (Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas).

The reporting requirement would apply to rifles with the following characteristics: (a) semi-automatic; (b) a caliber greater than .22; and (c) the ability to accept a detachable magazine. Inasmuch as the .22 Long Rifle cartridge is actually .223 caliber (a caliber greater than .22) it would appear that the only semi-automatic rifle caliber excluded from this sweeping mandate is .17. (Inasmuch as they also can be dangerous if misused, I'm curious why ATF is arbitrarily discriminating against the .17 caliber, non-detachable magazines, and non-semi-automatic arms.)

There is no evidence that the current multiple rifle sale reporting requirement imposed on gun dealers and buyers in those four states has done anything to stop gun crime or illegal gun trafficking. In fact, there is no evidence that the current multiple handgun sale reporting requirement imposed on the people of all 50 states has done anything to stop gun crime or illegal gun trafficking. The reporting requirement does, however, impose a heavier paperwork burden on law enforcement agencies and gun dealers with no discernible benefit.

This reporting mandate is imposed on dealer sales where all sales are already subject to a background check and in many cases, gun registration, owner registration, and/or a waiting period. The fact that the ATF wants multiple-sale transactions also reported to government agents indicates that ATF bureaucrats know that background checks, waiting periods, and gun registration imposed on responsible adults do not affect the behavior of criminals. But, they know that criminals cannot be controlled, so the seek to impose their imperialistic will on people they can control -- responsible adults.

In many jurisdictions, the multiple-sale reporting mandate is a de facto gun registration scheme that has no legislative authority or oversight. The report goes to local law enforcement where the transaction is often put into a permanent database for law enforcement future use -- possibly confiscation and arrest.

The ignorant will ask, why does anyone need to make a purchase of multiple arms?
1 - I might want a set of firearms with sequential serial numbers for gifts to my family.
2 - I might find a rare chance to buy multiple collectible firearms.
3 - Why not?

I am disgusted by the fact that Congress (including my self-described pro-gun congressmen from Utah) did nothing to stop the ATF when it imposed a reporting requirement for multiple sales of handguns. I was further disgusted when Congress (including my self-described pro-gun congressmen from Utah) failed to act when the ATF imposed the current reporting requirement for multiple rifle sales on the border states. Congress (including my self-described pro-gun congressmen from Utah) clearly is failing in its critical role of oversight over the agencies it creates. Because of this congressional failure, the entire federal bureaucracy is out of control. We no longer have a republican government or even a democracy. We have a government by unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats!

This proposed nationwide requirement for reporting multiple sales of rifles must be stopped immediately.

My votes upcoming elections will by determined by how well candidates fight against ATF abuses and overreach.

BTW, As long as only 5% of gun owners are members of the NRA, the NRA will continue to have little influence to get Congress and bureaucrats to honor the Second Amendment. If you are a gun owner and not a member of the NRA, you are a part of the problem -- you're a part of tens of millions of gun owners riding in the gun-rights wagon while a few of us pull! Join the NRA today!