Idea for State Civil Disobedience
The Supreme Court's recent decision in Raich got me to thinking: what if a state (say, California) simply decided to repeal all of it's laws prohibiting the posssession and sale of marijuana? And then passed a further law prohibiting it's law enforcers from arresting anyone for violation of federal marijuana laws?
Various states have already enacted parts of this thought experiment, but in different areas. In Montana, the state House passed a bill explicitly stating that, contrary to what SCOTUS opines, machineguns made and sold in the state of Montana are not involved in interstate commerce (UPDATE: the bill has, unfortunately, died in committee in the state Senate). And many left-leaning city governments bar their police officers from arresting illegal aliens for violating federal immigration laws.
So states have taken some actions in this area. In the immigration area, states have no laws, and are barred from doing so by the Consitution, which reserves that power for Congress. But local governments have barred their police from enforcing a federal law, with no punitive reaction on the part of the feds.
So what would happen if a state, especially a large one like California, or better yet several states, abolished their state laws prohibiting the growing, selling, and possession of pot? And then told their cops not to arrest anyone for it? What would the feds do? And what would the implications be in the larger sphere of state vs federal power?
I don't normally like holding California up as an example for others to follow, but I think in this case, if they would be the ideal state to take the lead.
Krauthammer Supports Thomas for Chief Justice
In a column written yesterday, Charles Krauthammer comes in in support of nominating Justice Clarence Thomas to replace Chief Justice Rehnquist if, as expected, Rehnquist retires later this summer. I'm loving this, as Thomas became my favorite Justice with his dissent in Raich.
What I find especially interesting is his commentary on originalism, and Thomas' dissent:
Thomas' dissent refuses to bow to such 20th-century innovations. While Scalia's opinion is studded with precedents, Thomas pulls out founding-era dictionaries (plus Madison's notes from the Constitutional Convention, The Federalist Papers, and the ratification debates) to understand what the word commerce meant then. And it meant only ``trade or exchange'' (as distinct from manufacture) and not, as we use the term today, economic activity in general. By this understanding, the federal government had no business whatsoever regulating privately and medicinally grown marijuana.
This is constitutional ``originalism'' in pure form. Its attractiveness is that it imposes discipline on the courts. It gives them a clear and empirically verifiable understanding of constitutional text -- a finite boundary beyond which even judges with airs must not go.
And if conditions change and parts of the originalist Constitution become obsolete, amend it. Democratically. We have added 17 amendments since the Bill of Rights. Amending is not a job for judges.
Could it be? A member of the MSM who advocates an originalist view of the Constitution?
And would Krauthammer support this originalist philosophy if it was used by the Court to strike down huge chunks of the New Deal and the Great Society?
Only because it seems so unusual these days
What originally caught my eye with this story was this section:
Carolyn Gallagher isn’t bothered by the sound of gunshots that regularly boom from her neighbor’s backyard.
After all, people began firing for sport at what’s now the Tacoma Rifle & Revolver Club in University Place before Washington was a state.
Wow, I thought. A gun club that's been somewhere for years, had a city grow around it, and the neighbors don't piss and moan and try to get the city to put it out of business. I was going to post the link just for that fact alone.
But as I read further, it dawned on me how this whole situation is almost an ideal for how different groups of citizens and local governments should interact in a situation like this.
Synopsis: the gun club needs money to pay for improvements, so they want to sell an unused and undeveloped portion of their land. The neighbors would rather the land stay undeveloped; they like the open space, and don't want the traffic and other changes that developing the land would bring. But the neighbors don't go to the city and try to get it to change the zoning of the land or pull some other legal maneuver to make it unsellable. The city government, listening to it citizens, figures that buying the land from the gun club themselves is the best option. But they don't try to bullying the gun club into selling at a lowball price. They find another group, a consevation group, whose interests coincide, and enlist their aid.
The issue hasn't been worked out yet, but I'm optimistic, since all the parties involved seem, so far, to be conducting themselves with a goodly degree of decency and common sense. Pity that something like this seems so unusual these days.
Further cool note: I had no idea there was a gun club in University Place. I may have to join after I get to Ft Lewis.
You Don't Even Want to Go There
Lew Rockwell has a list of the most anti-freedom states in the union.
You don't want to live there. You don't want to take a vacation there. If you must drive through, gas up before you cross the state line to minimize the tax dollars you might have to feed them.
New War Slang
In wars past, the derogatory term in the American army for those who served in the relative safety of the rear areas-quartermasters, personnel and finance admin types,etc- was the well known REMF-Rear Echelon Mother F***er.
Reading a embed blog from San Francisco Chronicle reporter Anna Badkhen, I discovered that the term REMF has, at least in Iraq, been replaced. The new term is non-MOS specific, especially since so many formerly rear-area types find themselves frequently in the line of fire as they haul supplies, mail, vouchers for advance pay, and otherwise move about the ever dangerous roads of Iraq to do their jobs.
The new term is FOBbit: a soldier who never leaves the FOB (Forward Operating Base), or at most leaves the FOB only to move to another FOB.
Lovely little bit, that.
Election Reform Proposals for Washington State
OK, here's my quick swipe at fixing the problems with elections in Washington state. I'm not a lawyer, so these are not written in legalese. I'm working on intent here, not trying to create something that's totally loophole-free right here right now.
Tighten Voter Registration
-Require proof of citizenship (birth certificate or naturalization papers) and proof of residence in county/city/precinct when registering. PO boxes are not valid addresses
-Create state felon database and require county registrars to check all voters against database. Also require courts to notify a person's county of residence of any felony conviction. I hate federalizing things, and I don't like NICS much, but I have to wonder if it could be used for checking voter registration just like checking for gun purchases.
-Remove from the rolls any voter who is not credited with voting in three consecutive general elections in which seats in the state legislature and the House of Representatives are contested.
-Whatever governmental office issues death certificates (county coroner) would be required to forward the names of all deceased persons of legal voting age to the registrar of voters for removal from the voter rolls.
-All voters will be required to show photo ID (WA driver's license or ID card, military/dependant ID card, or US passport) in order to receive a ballot at the polling place
Vote Counting, Reconciliation, Certification, and Challenges
-If the number of votes does not match the number of voters, the election cannot be certified. Period.
-If, after two recounts, the cumlative total of illegal votes and any vote counting discrepancies (which there shouldn't be any, see above) is greater than the margin of victory, the election will be revoted. Any illegal votes must be identified and confirmed within 90 days of the completion of the second recount.
-Any elections official found to have submitted false reports concerning ballot reconcilliation and/or certification shall be guilty of a felony and shall serve a term of not less than 90 days and not more than a year in prison, and shall futhermore be barred from serving in any elected, appointed, or civil-service job in the state of Washington.
I'd also want to do something to limit voting by mail, since this is one area where committing fraud is the easiest. However, since I'm in the military and that's how I vote, I don't want to eliminate it. One thing I would want to try to do is to get rid of voting by mail for personal convienience. If you're in the state, and within a reasonable distance of you assigned polling place, get your lazy butt over there and vote in person. I don't know if it's a problem at all, but I would disallow permanent absentee status for any out of state addresses within the United States and its territories, except for military personnel and their dependants. If you're going to be there long enough to need permanent absentee status, register to vote there.
OK< those are my ideas. I'm wearing my asbestos boxers, so flame on.
Still Not Being Serious
Your name alone strikes fear into others; but maybe, just maybe, there's a little vulnerability and weakness beneath that stoic, fierce exterior of yours.
Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.
On a less serious note...
Murder Rate Down Since End of AWB
Of course, the MSM is ignoring this.
The FBI reported that for the first time since 1999, homicides declined last year 5.4 percent in cities with more than 1 million people, and overall, murders fell 3.6 percent nationwide.
"Anti-gun hysterics have once again been proven wrong in their fear mongering," said SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb. "Their forecasts of blood running in the streets were baseless, and they knew it. However, when you're in a war to crush a Constitutional right, one class of firearms at a time, truth is typically the first casualty."
The ten-year-old Clinton Administration ban on certain semiautomatic firearms expired last September, amid alarmist warnings that violent crime would escalate, including violence against children.
Where is the news media on this," he wondered. "If homicides had gone up, you can be certain that would be making front page headlines, with reporters linking the rise to the end of the ban. But that's not the case, and the mainstream press, with the exception of an April 28 New York Times article, has been pretty quiet about it.
Of note: this is the first pro-gun press release I've received from Google's news clipping service.
Prospects for Stewart in Light of Raich
The Department of Justice had requested that the Supreme Court hold off on granting cert in the case of U.S. v Stewart, pending the outcome of Raich. With Raich now decided in the federal government's favor, I'd expect to see movement of some sort on Stewart soon.
There are two things the Supreme Court could do here: first it could grant cert and hear the case. Given that the arguments are almost identical to those in Raich, I don't think they're likely to do this. What I think they're more likely to do is to return the case to the Ninth Circuit with a directive to re-examine the case in light of the ruling in Raich. I think this has potential to be a good thing from a Second Amendment standpoint.
I say this because it allows for Stewart to base his appeal completely on the Second Amendment. His original appeal to the 9th Circuit was a two-pronged appeal, one prong being based on the Commerce Clause, and the other being based on the Second Amendment. The 9th Circuit ruled in Stewart's favor on the Commerce Clause prong, and the DoJ appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court. The 9th Circuit ruled against Stewart on the Second Amendment prong, citing their ruling in Silviera v. Lockyer. To the best of my knowledge, Stewart did not appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court.
Given the 9th Circuit's ruling in Silviera, any appeal to them based purely on the Second Amendment is going to fail, so it would have to serve to purpose of introducing evidence for an appeal to the Supreme Court. The evidence would be that 18 U.S.C. 922(o)
922 (o) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun.
is unconstitutional in that it fails the test set by the Court in U.S. v Miller. In the Miller case, the Court stated:
In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a "shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length" at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.
Note the phrase "In the absence of any evidence." There was an absence of evidence in Miller not because such evidence did not exist-the U.S. military had been using shotguns for years at that point, many of which had short barrels-but because none was presented. Miller's attorney had not presented any such evidence in the district court, which ruled in his favor anyway. By the time his case made it to the Supreme Court, Miller was dead, and his co-defendant, Layton, was in prison on a separate charge. With nobody to pay him, the attorney did not present their argument before the Supreme Court. Also, since no evidence was presented to the district court, the Supreme Court had no evidence on Miller's side on which to base their opinion.
This is why being able to introduce evidence at the Circuit Court is critical. Machineguns, the possession of which is prohibited under 922 (o), are "part of the ordinary military equipment" and have been for almost a century now. This evidence would need to be introduced at the Circuit level to allow the appeal to succeed at the Supreme Court level.
What are the chances of this succeeding? It's tough for me to say, especially since I'm not a constitutional scholar or Supreme Court watcher. The Court refused to grant cert to Silviera, despite the fact that the 9th's ruling that the Second Amendment does not guard an individual right to arms remains in conflict with the 5th's ruling that it does. One difference between Silviera and Stewart is that Silviera was a challenge to a state law-California's "assault weapon" ban-while Stewart challenges a federal law. Silviera would have required the Supreme Court to rule on whether the Second is incorporated, and thus applies to the states, under the Fourteenth Amendment. Since Stewart would require them to make no such finding, given the current Court's dislike for making big, sweeping decisions, I think it increases the chances that they would hear an appeal by Stewart based on Miller.
Bad Day In Court
The results on two important cases, in both Washingtons, are in, and it's not a good day.
First, SCOTUS issued it's long awaited ruling in Gonzales (formerly Ashcroft) v Raich, deciding that intrastate commerce in marijuana, or even intrastate non-commerce (i.e. production for personal use) effects interstate commerce and thus is within Congress' power to regulate. This is completely in keeping with the Court's 1942 decision in Wickard v Filburn. I was a little bit surprised to find O'Connor among the three dissenters and Scalia on the side of the majority, although he concurred rather than joining in the majority opinion. For more learned discussion, check out the Volokh Conspiracy.
Effects? This doesn't bode well for US v Stewart, which deals with homebuilt submachineguns. Although they can't claim that there exists a substantial interstate market in full-auto firearms, since Stewarts defense rests on the fact that Congress can't regulate production for strictly personal use, I'd expect SCOTUS to reverse the 9th Circuit if they take up the case, although I think, in order to avoid revisiting the same legal ground, they might find against Stewart on the grounds that he failed to pay his NFA tax. The big reason they might not go there is that would force them to address the Constitutionality of the NFA tax in light of Miller, since I believe the subguns that Steward built were Sten guns, a military (and thus, IMO, a militia) weapon. I think the current Court is quite anxious to avoid engaging the Second Amendment if they have any way of avoiding it.
My biggest gripe with the current Court is their deference, to the point of bordering on reverance at times, for stare decesis. They're simply unwilling to overrule previous decisions. I'm not a legal scholar, but in my opinion pretty much all of the cases which ultimately legitimized the New Deal were examples of fairly massive judicial overreach. Furthermore, at least in my opinion, many were made under threat from FDR.
Second,Judge Bridges ruled against Dino Rossi in the challenge to the Washington state governor's elections. The gist of the decision was that, while all sorts of mistakes were amde, huge numbers of illegal votes were cast, unverified votes counted, and there were more votes than voters, since it can't be determined who those votes were for, the election can't be overturned or annulled.
Discussion at Sound Politics feels that, under Judge Bridges interpretation, the election contest statue is in conflict with ballot secrecy laws. In order to overturn an election, the challenger must prove that there votes were counted illegally, and who those votes were for. However, ballot secrecy laws make it impossible to know how any on individual voted. Which makes the contest statue almost meaningless.
You can expect this one to be challenged in the state supreme court. What they'll do at this point is anyone's guess, but I'd say the odds favor the former AG.
What needs to be done, as Judge Bridges alluded to, is a revision of both the election laws to make fraud more difficult, as well as the contest statute (i.e., something along the lines of "if the number of illegally cast ballots, improperly counted ballots, and unreconciled ballots in any election is great than the margin of victory, the election shall be redone.") Given that the Democrats control Olympia, that they seem committed to 'reforms' to make fraud easier, and that they benefitted from the chaos in King County, I don't see that happening in the near future.
As for Dino Rossi, if his challenge fails in the state Supreme Court, he can do one of two things. He can wait until 2008 and run against Gregoire again, at which time she'll have the unenviable task of defending her record, or he can run against Maria Cantwell for the US Senate in 2006, at which time Senator Cantwell will have to defend her lack of a record.
Judge Bridges is scheduled to issue his decision today at 0900 PDT. Lucky for me, that's during my lunch hour, so I'll be able to watch online (video feeds can't get through the firewall here on post.)
Reasons I Hate Living in the South
This morning's temperature when I got in my car at 0530: 72 degrees.
And there was condensation on all the windows. That's just not right.
31 and a wake-up. Just get me back to Washington.
I Love My Wife, Part VII
"I just think it's so sexy that you walk around wearing a gun. It makes you look so manly." -Mrs HL
For the record, the gun is question is a Kahr K40 in an IWB holster from HBE Leatherworks.
FN SCAR One Step Closer to Entering Service
Of course, this is service with the SOCOM types. However, I have to think that this might well improve it's chances against the XM8 for the Big Army contract to replace the M16/M4.
Count me among the many, however, that thinks DoD is making a mistake by not at least giving the RobArm XCR serious consideration. Even if Robinson doesn't own the facilities to produce the rifles on the scale DoD would require, contracts for license production wouldn't be that tough, and I'm sure Colt, FN Mfg, or even Beretta would love to get in on that action.
Link found via THR.
Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) Passes Critical Review
United States Special Operations Command
Jun 2, 2005, 09:58
HERSTAL, Belgium: The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) announced today that it conducted the third critical design review for the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) with FN Herstal since the contract award on 5 November 2004.
USSOCOM's SCAR Program is providing the first, truly modular and reliable assault rifle designed and built from the ground up for the finest fighting forces in the world. The critical design review was spearheaded by the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane Division (NSWC-CD), Crane, Indiana, and supported by USSOCOM Operators.
FN Herstal displayed several improvements to the existing platform, including a SCAR version in the 'flat, dark, earth' color representation, an anodized aluminum upper receiver rail colored in 'flat, dark, earth,' a polymer lower receiver version and a concept model of the EGLM. As in the previous Critical Design Reviews, FN Herstal provided SCAR rifles in various configurations including a 20" barreled 7.62 SCAR-Heavy (SCAR-H).
Troy Smith, SCAR Program Manager said, "With the third critical design review, we continue to emphasize the importance of Operator involvement side- by-side with FN Herstal and Operator developers that will continue throughout the lifetime of the program. We continue to make changes to improve this weapon through an iterative process. In the end, we very much look forward to providing the Operators designed for them in mind with the best solutions technology has to offer."
Throughout the meetings, the developer worked side-by-side with the Operators for an iterative design process. The team was able to make immediate changes and improvements to prototypes and designs. Operators tested the weapons on the range to gauge the initial capabilities of what they had previously outlined in the requirements.
The program originally had four increments which have been condensed based on early demonstrations of the SCAR-H prototypes. The condensed increments allow the production and fielding of the SCAR-H concurrently with the SCAR-L.
The SCAR will be built at the FN Manufacturing LLC, plant in Columbia, South Carolina, which employs approximately 500 people. FN Manufacturing LLC, is a precision machining manufacturer specializing in the production of small arms. Their products include the M16 rifle, M240 machine gun, M249 SAW, and the FNP Polymer 49 pistol for military and law enforcement markets.
The USSOCOM plans, directs, and executes special operations in the conduct of the War on Terrorism in order to disrupt, defeat, and destroy terrorist networks that threaten the United States, its citizens and interests worldwide. USSOCOM organizes, trains, and equips special operations forces that are provided to the Geographic Combatant Commanders, American Ambassadors and their country teams.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane Division, the center responsible for the SCAR program testing, is located in Crane, Indiana. NSWC-CD is a shore command of the United States Navy under the Naval Sea Systems Command headquartered in Washington D.C. The focus of NSWC Crane is to harness the power of technology for the Warfighter. NSWC-CD specializes in the Acquisition and Fleet support of Electronics, Ordnance and Electronic Warfare products and systems.
The Herstal Group, a 2500-person strong corporation, employs nearly 900 people in the United States. The Herstal Group includes Herstal, the parent company and two main subsidiaries: FN Herstal, active in the Defense and Law Enforcement fields, and Browning specializing in hunting and shooting, marksmanship and outdoor sporting goods. The Herstal Group is headquartered in Liege, Belgium.