BRETT KAVANAUGH SENATE SUPREME COURT CONFIRMATION HEARING: DEMOCRATS GRILL TRUMP NOMINEE ON “ASSAULT WEAPONS.”
DO NOT FOR ONE INSTANCE BE TAKEN IN BY FALSE CLAIMS OF DEMOCRATS THAT “OF COURSE” THEY DEFEND THE SECOND AMENDMENT AND THAT THEY ONLY SEEK TO ENACT SO-CALLED SENSIBLE, COMMON-SENSE GUN LAWS. THAT IS PURE, NAKED DECEPTION. THE KEY GOAL OF CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS IS AND, FOR DECADES, HAS BEEN THE REINING IN OF THE RIGHT OF THE AMERICAN CITIZENRY TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. AND THEY WILL NOT STOP THERE. CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS ALONG WITH OTHER LEFT-WING ELEMENTS IN SOCIETY, INCLUDING THEIR ECHO CHAMBER, THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA, SEEK NOTHING LESS THAN THE UTTER, TOTAL DISSOLUTION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT.
THE DUBIOUS LEGAL ARGUMENT EMPLOYED BY THOSE WHO SEEK DESTRUCTION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS PREDICATED ON THE NOTION THAT THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS REFERS TO A COLLECTIVE RIGHT, ASCRIBED ONLY TO ONE’S CONNECTION WITH OR ASSOCIATION WITH A MILITIA. WERE THIS TRUE, THE SACRED, FUNDAMENTAL, UNALIENABLE, NATURAL RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS WOULD BE TRIVIALIZED AS WOULD THE CITIZENS THEMSELVES BE TRIVIALIZED. IF SUCH WERE IN FACT THE CASE, AMERICANS WOULD WITNESS THE FALL OF A ONCE GREAT NATION AND FREE REPUBLIC.
BUT THOSE WHO WOULD DESTROY THE SECOND AMENDMENT HOLD TO A FALSE NOTION OF THE IMPORT OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT. FOR, THEIR NOTION THAT THE WORD, ‘PEOPLE,’ THAT APPEARS IN THE OPERATIVE CLAUSE OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT, REFERS TO THE CITIZENRY IN A “COLLECTIVE” CAPACITY OR SENSE HAS BEEN REPUDIATED. IT IS NOW SETTLED LAW THAT THE WORD, ‘PEOPLE,’ AS IT APPEARS IN THE OPERATIVE CLAUSE OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT, REFERS TO THE CITIZENRY OF THIS NATION IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY OR SENSE. AND THE RIGHT THEREFORE RESIDES, INTRINSICALLY IN THE INDIVIDUAL, AND NOT IN AN AMORPHOUS COLLECTIVE MILITIA. AS SUCH, THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS IS FUNDAMENTAL, AND MUST BE RESPECTED. THE RIGHT REFERRED TO IS NOT INCIDENTAL, AND, THEREFORE, THE RIGHT IS NOT TO BE PERFUNCTORILY DENIED, AS THOSE WHO DETEST THE SECOND AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE YOU, FALSELY, TO BELIEVE.
“The first salient feature of the operative clause [in the Second Amendment] is that it codifies a ‘right of the people.’ The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase ‘right of the people’ two other times, in the First Amendment’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment’s Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (‘The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people’). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body.
Three provisions of the Constitution refer to ‘the people’ in a context other than ‘rights’—the famous preamble (‘We the people’), § 2 of Article I (providing that ‘the people’ will choose members of the House), and the Tenth Amendment (providing that those powers not given the Federal Government remain with ‘the States’ or ‘the people’). Those provisions arguably refer to ‘the people’ acting collectively—but they deal with the exercise or reservation of powers, not rights. Nowhere else in the Constitution does a ‘right’ attributed to ‘the people’ refer to anything other than an individual right. . . .
This contrasts markedly with the phrase ‘the militia’ in the prefatory clause. As we will describe below, the ‘militia’ in colonial America consisted of a subset of ‘the people’—those who were male, able bodied, and within a certain age range. Reading the Second Amendment as protecting only the right to ‘keep and bear Arms’ in an organized militia therefore fits poorly with the operative clause’s description of the holder of that right as ‘the people.’
We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.
We move now from the holder of the right—‘the people’—to the substance of the right: ‘to keep and bear Arms.’”~ (A portion of the Opinion of the Majority, penned by the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia), in District of Columbia vs. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 578-581 passim (2008)
Well before the Brett Kavanaugh Senate Confirmation Hearings, the Arbalest Quarrel pointed out that Congressional Democrats’ assault on and goal of elimination of the right of the natural, sacred, and unalienable right of the people to keep and bear arms, as succinctly codified in the Second Amendment, was and always has been a central plank of the antigun Democratic Party agenda. See “the United States Safe Act in the Making: Penned and Penciled by Andrew Cuomo.”
This was so even though in the weeks and months leading up to the Hearing. Democrats and their liberal media echo chamber talked incessantly about Democrats’ Party’s other goals. These goals included: one, open borders; two, expansion of personal federal income taxes; three, the complete elimination of ICE, and the hamstringing of other law enforcement agencies across the Country; four, the clamping down of all investigations into subversive activities of high ranking Governmental Bureaucrats of the Deep State; and five, the removal of Donald Trump from Office.
DEMOCRATS CONSISTENTLY REMONSTRATE AGAINST THE PLAIN MEANING OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. THEY DO THIS BECAUSE THEY SEE THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AS OUTMODED, DRAFTED AND RATIFIED TO REFLECT THE NEEDS OF AN ANCIENT TIME AND, SO, IN NEED OF DRASTIC REVISION. THUS, THEY SEEK TO REWRITE THE DOCUMENT TO REFLECT A MODERN WORLD. THIS, UNFORTUNATELY, A NOTION NOTION HELD NOT JUST BY POLITICIANS AND LAY PERSONS, BUT BY JURISTS AS WELL. IN FACT, RETIRED LIBERAL-WING JUSTICE, JOHN PAUL STEVENS WISHES TO REWRITE THE BILL OF RIGHTS. HE SAYS SO IN A BOOK HE HAS PUBLISHED. AND, IN THE WORDS OF THE LIBERAL-WING U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, OUR CONSTITUTION IS, AFTER ALL, “A RATHER OLD CONSTITUTION” MEANING THAT GINSBURG, TOO, APPARENTLY THINKS OUR CONSTITUTION IS IN NEED OF RADICAL REVISION.
The Senate Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing on the President’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, that took place for several days, laid bare the Democrats contempt for our Constitution and, especially, their misconception of the Bill of Rights as framed by the founders of our Republic. Spending a good part of three days of the Senate Confirmation Hearing process, by turns pontificating, chastising, and even excoriating Judge Kavanaugh, it became clear to all Americans that those Democrats, who sit on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, have succumbed to the will and wishes of Americans on the far left of the political spectrum, or otherwise always held to extreme left-wing views concerning the Constitution.
Americans who believe that the Constitution, and especially that part of it–the Bill of Rights–that sets forth the fundamental rights and liberties of the American citizen, proclaim that the Bill of Rights can mean essentially whatever it is they choose it, or wish for it, to mean. They do not look at the plain meaning of the text, but read into the sacred Document what they wish for the words of the Document to mean; not what the framers of it meant, as clearly articulated in it.
But, application of such an erroneous belief concerning the Constitution, destroys the very efficacy of it. Revisionists take the U.S. Constitution to be infinitely malleable, flexible, bendable. This is what they mean by the Constitution as a “living document”–that it can be changed to reflect changes in society, changes they seek to impose on the Nation. Thus, they would twist the Constitution and contort it to a degree that essentially destroys its import and purport, as conceived by the framers of it. These leftist revisionists don’t care, and they do not care for a jurist, such as Judge Kavanaugh, who does not share their view of a Constitution they perceive to be easily malleable, like a lump of clay that one might knead into any convenient shape.
Judge Kavanaugh’s jurisprudential approach to Constitutional case analysis is in line with that of Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, Justice Gorsuch, and of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. These eminent jurists do not read into the Constitution what they may happen to wish to see. They take the Constitution for its literal word. That doesn’t sit well with Americans who hold to a Socialist philosophy; who have drafted a new plan, a new design for our Nation; who have a Socialist Agenda and who seek to implement radical Socialist policies for our Country–policies destructive to a free Republic and destructive of a free market Capitalist economic society; policies inconsistent with the Constitution of this Nation as ratified by the founders of our Nation. Hence, progressive forces in our Nation do not want Judge Kavanaugh—brilliant and thoughtful a jurist though he be—to sit as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
SENATE JUDICIARY DEMOCRATS HAVE MADE THEIR IDEAS AND GOALS PATENTLY CLEAR TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
The Democrats sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee made no attempt to hide their distaste of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, known. Even as the right of the people to keep and bear arms is explicitly set down in stone in the Bill of Rights, these Congressional Democrats would like to see the Second Amendment weakened, disassembled, abandoned, and eventually, even obliterated from historical records and memory.
Yet, curiously, wrongly, and even weirdly, Congressional Democrats believe it to be perfectly permissible to expand the domain of what they presume to be fundamental rights, worthy of protection, such as a right to abortion on demand, and equal protection rights expanded to include individuals exhibiting gender dysphoria—an expansion of purported rights, nowhere explicitly mentioned or even alluded to in the Bill of Rights. All the while, Congressional Democrats seem to be under no similar compunction to retain those fundamental rights that are expressly codified in the Bill of Rights.
For example, Democrats see no legal or moral compunction against constraining Americans’ free exercise of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of speech—to proscribe what they, alone, perceive as permitting ideas anathema to their own—and they see no legal or moral issue with doing away with the Second Amendment altogether. That is their goal, clearly inferred through three days of Senate Hearing on Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and as further evidenced in antigun legislation Congressional Democrats have proposed in the last twenty plus years.
Democrats argue, as they made pointedly clear during the Confirmation Hearing that, in matters pertaining to the citizen ownership and possession of firearms, State orchestrated cries for “public safety,” as the ground for curtailing the exercise of a fundamental and natural right should, and, indeed, must, invariably outweigh the personal right of self-defense. Moreover, Congressional Democrats consistently and continuously convey at best a blasé attitude toward the right of the people to keep and bear arms—a natural and fundamental right that the framers of the Constitution saw need enough to codify in the Bill of Rights, and did so to preserve a free Republic and to protect the sanctity and autonomy of the American citizen.
From the questions posed by Senate Democrats to Judge Kavanaugh, and by the comments they made, these Democrats do not perceive the Second Amendment to be worth protecting and strengthening, or, otherwise they simply don’t care that, as the framers of the U.S. Constitution well knew, it is only through an armed citizenry that tyranny in Government can be ultimately, successfully, forestalled. The need for the free exercise of that right has not diminished with the passing years, decades, and centuries. Rather, contrary to the pronouncements of those who seek to constrain the exercise of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, the need to preserve and to strengthen this sacred right has actually, increased, many-fold, as the power of the Nation’s Federal Government with the assistance of technology has itself increased exponentially in the centuries since both the formation of our Country as an independent sovereign Nation and free Republic, and since the ratification of our Constitution.
DESTRUCTION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT WAS ALWAYS FIRST AND FOREMOST IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEMBERS’ CROSSHAIRS.
While expressing concern for the survival of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1973)* which was certainly a central point of discussion manifested through three days of Confirmation Hearings, Democrats made abundantly clear, on the flipside, their disgust for the salient holding in Heller vs. District of Columbia, 554 U. S. 570, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637 (2008). Indeed, at times, Democrats’ expression of their disdain for Heller eclipsed their concern for the preservation of Roe vs. Wade. In fact, as Senator Diane Feinstein began her questioning of Judge Kavanaugh, during the first day of the Confirmation Hearing, the first set of questions that she directed to Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee did not involve the issue of female reproductive rights, but were aimed squarely at the Second Amendment—namely and most notably at so-called “assault weapons”—which, as one of a plethora of antigun measures that antigun zealots would love to impose on the Nation as a whole, this one, in particular, has been, for decades, the especial target of Congressional Democrats. Wallowing in the abyss of fallacious reasoning and seeming self-pity, they plead with Judge Kavanaugh to forsake centuries of case law and jurisprudential history, ostensibly to ensure the safety of children, but oblivious to the fact that it is not the firearm, an inanimate object–their singular target for annihilation–that is the cause of violence, but, rather, a weakness of heart and will that prevents them from actively and avidly enforcing the hundreds of laws that Congress has enacted to forestall aggressive acts of those who would wreak violence on innocent lives: the lives of innocent adults as well as children.
WOULD DEMOCRATS BE SUCCESSFUL IN IMPLEMENTING A FEDERAL ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN IN 2019 IF THEY WERE TO CEMENT MAJORITIES IN BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS?
To be sure, it is by no means certain that Democrats will take control of the House in November, after the midterm elections. Less likely, but of greater concern, is the prospect of Democratic Party control of the U.S. Senate. If Democrats do take control of both Houses of Congress, what is certain is that they intend to muscle through Congress a new “assault weapons” ban, modeled on the New York Safe Act of 2013.
Democrats would get substantial assistance from progressive State Governors, led by the virulently anti-Second Amendment Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo—assuming, which is likely, albeit depressing to contemplate, that Cuomo does prevail in the coming New York Gubernatorial election, in November, to secure a third term in Office.
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN’S RAISON D’ETRE IS TO PROHIBIT CIVILIAN OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION OF ANY FIREARM THAT SHE PROCLAIMS TO BE AN “ASSAULT WEAPON.”
If you recall, Feinstein attempted to ram through an “assault weapons” bill in 2013. That bill was even more draconian than the original restrictive U.S. Senate Legislation, “The Violent Crime and Control Protection Act of 1994.” In Subtitle A of Title XI of the 1994 Act, Senator Feinstein laid out a comprehensive nation-wide ban on an “assault weapons.” Subtitle A of Title XI severely restricted the “manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons.” The “assault weapons” provision included a sunset provision and, in 2004, the “assault weapons” provision of the 1994 Act did expire. It was not reauthorized by Congress.
Feinstein wasn’t done. On the heels of enactment of, and in lockstep with, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Safe Act, signed into law by Cuomo, on January 15, 2013, U.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein, sought to generate public interest in a new and incredibly ambitious federal “assault weapons” ban, modeled in substantial part on the “assault weapons” provisions of the NY Safe Act. The Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy provided the pretext for this.
Feinstein’s bill, used much of the language of Cuomo’s NY Safe Act, but to emphasize her personal distaste for firearms, the federal bill included over 110 specifically named firearms and categories of firearms. This categorization of specifically named firearms was unnecessary as the list was redundant. No matter, Subtitle A of Title XI “The Violent Crime and Control Protection Act of 1994” included the list anyway. Feinstein’s “assault weapon”, bill, if successful, would have caused the entire Nation to suffer the constraints on a weapon in common use by the American citizenry that Cuomo’s New York assault weapons ban has imposed on residents of New York.
Fortunately for American citizens, Feinstein’s federal bill, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, went nowhere because the Senate Democratic Party Majority Leader at the time–Harry Reid–stripped Feinstein’s assault weapon ban out of a broader gun control bill that Democrats sought to pass. Senator Reid evidently believed that doing so would make the restrictive gun control measures more palatable to reluctant members of the Senate. Feinstein was furious, but Reid remained undeterred. The bill, sans Feinstein’s “assault weapons” ban provision, was still soundly defeated on Roll Call vote of the Senate held on April 17, 2013.
IF BRETT KAVANAUGH IS CONFIRMED TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT AS AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, A FEDERAL ASSAULT WEAPONS’ BILL THAT BECOMES LAW IS LIKELY TO BE STRUCK DOWN AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee know full well that, even if they were to secure majorities in both Houses of Congress, any “assault weapons” bill they happen, in 2019, to enact into law would be immediately challenged on the ground that a ban on an entire category of weapons in common use is contrary to the core of the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in the 2008 Heller decision and as reiterated by the high Court in the 2010 McDonald decision (561 U. S. 742, 780, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2010)). Unlike the unhappy present situation with core Second Amendment cases that wend there way to the high Court, that are invariably not taken up for high Court review, this is likely to change with Brett Kavanaugh sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court as a petition for a Writ of Certiorari would likely be granted. Brett Kavanaugh would provide the crucial fourth vote necessary for a Second Amendment case (subsequent to the seminal Heller and McDonald cases) implicating the core of the Second Amendment, to finally be heard.**
Once granted, and the case heard, a Conservative-wing majority, properly employing sound judicial and logical and jurisprudential reasoning, would likely determine that an outright ban on civilian ownership and possession of a substantial number of semiautomatic firearms—including handguns, rifles, and shotguns, as well as non-semiautomatic weapons, such as revolving cylinder shotguns, along with so-called large capacity magazines, that are all in common use in this Nation—would be and must be struck down as inconsistent with the import and purport of the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the high Court’s Majority in the U.S. Supreme Court Heller and McDonald cases. And this explains why Senate Democrats are particularly worried over the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court—enough so that they devoted substantial time to questioning Judge Kavanaugh over his methodology for resolving cases involving the Second Amendment. And this explains why the American people must suffer through a delay on a confirmation vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee, due to the 11th hour political stunt pulled by Senator Dianne Feinstein, herself. Feinstein has raised an issue concerning a naked, uncorroborated allegation against Judge Kavanaugh, of a purported event allegedly occurring decades ago, that the Senator learned about through a letter she received in July of this year, and which she had sat on all this time, obviously to bring up at an inopportune time as it serves purely as a convenient political delaying tactic. Chairman Grassley and Senate Democrats, sitting on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, should not allow Democrats to turn the Confirmation process into a circus act. Unfortunately, Democrats are not acting alone. Senate Republican, Jeff Flake, who also sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee said he wishes to hear from Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser before he will vote to allow the Confirmation process to proceed. It is no secret, though, that Senator Flake, who will be stepping down from the Senate, anyway, has no love for President Trump, and apparently takes delight in constantly admonishing him to the Press. It therefore stands to reason why Senator Jeff Flake would jump ship and play with Democrats in opposing the President’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to sit on the high Court even though a brilliant jurist, such as Judge Kavanaugh, sitting on the highest Court in the Land would help preserve our free Republic and strengthen our Bill of Rights.
Does Jeff Flake think so little of the President that he would be willing to sacrifice the well-being of both the Nation and the American citizenry by placing obstacles in the President’s path. Apparently this is so. For our part, we believe that Jeff Flake cannot leave Congress soon enough. That is the best thing he can do for this Nation and its people.
IN OUR UPCOMING ARTICLE:
The methodology which Judge Kavanaugh utilizes to analyze and resolve Second Amendment cases, which Democrats sitting on the Senate Judiciary Panel, scarcely touched upon, but denigrated nonetheless, will be discussed in detail in our next article on the Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing. We look specifically at Judge Kavanaugh’s critical important dissenting opinion in the case popularly styled, Heller II (Heller vs. District of Columbia, 670 F.3d 1244 ; 399 U.S. App. D.C. 314; 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 20130).
*Associate Justice Byron White and Justice William Rehnquist dissented from the Majority Opinion, penned by then Chief Justice Warren Burger. Note: Justice Antonin Scalia had not yet been appointed to the high Court at the time Roe was decided. Justice Scalia was confirmed to the high Court in 1986, the same year that then U.S. President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice Rehnquist to serve as the new Chief Justice to replace retiring Chief Justice Burger, and whom the Senate subsequently confirmed as the new Chief Justice.
Six years later, in Casey vs. Planned Parenthood, 505 U.S. 833, 112 S. Ct. 2791, 120 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1992), the high Court essentially reaffirmed the holdings in Roe, namely that a Constitutional right to elective abortion exists, but only until viability as the State “has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting . . . the life of the fetus that may become a child.” Casey vs. Planned Parenthood, 505 U.S. at 846. The majority in Casey held that an elective abortion is a fundamental right but the Casey Majority loosened the standard for determination of whether a State regulation unduly burdens a woman’s right to elective abortion. The Court replaced the stringent strict scrutiny approach, that favors a State’s interest in protecting an unborn child, to a lesser standard that would operate in favor of a woman’s decision for an elective abortion. Note: Justice Scalia who dissented from the Majority made clear that nothing in the Constitution elevates a woman’s decision to have an abortion to the that of a fundamental right. His dissenting opinion is critical to the methodology of textualism and originalism. Justice Scalia opined: “The States may, if they wish, permit abortion on demand, but the Constitution does not require them to do so.” Casey vs. Planned Parenthood, 505 U.S. at 978. Further, Justice Scalia opined:
“That is, quite simply, the issue in these cases: not whether the power of a woman to abort her unborn child is a ‘liberty’ in the absolute sense; or even whether it is a liberty of great importance to many women. . . . A State’s choice between two positions on which reasonable people can disagree is constitutional even when (as is often the case) it intrudes upon a ‘liberty’ in the absolute sense. Laws against bigamy, for example—with which entire societies of reasonable people disagree—intrude upon men and women’s liberty to marry and live with one another. But bigamy happens not to be a liberty specially ‘protected’ by the Constitution.
The [majority on the high] Court destroys the proposition, evidently meant to represent my position [which they in fact misrepresent, namely] that ‘liberty’ includes ‘only those practices, defined at the most specific level, that were protected against government interference by other rules of law when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified,’ ante, 505 U.S. at 847 (citing Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110, 127, n.6, 105 L. Ed. 2d 91, 109 S. Ct. 2333 (1989). That is not, however, what Michael H. says; it merely observes that, in defining ‘liberty,’ we may not disregard a specific, ‘relevant tradition protecting, or denying protection to, the asserted right,’ ibid. But the Court does not wish to be fettered by any such limitations on its preferences. The Court’s statement that it is ‘tempting’ to acknowledge the authoritativeness of tradition in order to ‘curb the discretion of federal judges,’ ante, 505 U.S. at 847, is of course rhetoric rather than reality; no government official is ‘tempted’ to place restraints upon his own freedom of action. . . . The Court’s temptation is in the quite opposite and more natural direction—towards systematically eliminating checks upon its own power; and it succumbs.” Casey vs. Planned Parenthood, 505 U.S. at 979-981.
Justice Scalia’s remarks are directed against a jurist’s wrong, albeit, natural tendency, as is the case with anyone who wields power, but particularly jurists, who–specifically invoking the force of law in their decisions–operate without restraint, when they ought to be circumspect. As a result, such jurists tend to create an ever expansive array of dubious substantive rights. Not surprisingly, we see these same jurists irreverently curtailing fundamental rights and liberties that do exist and have existed since ratification of the Bill of Rights, namely and particularly, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, which they happen to be personally philosophically opposed to.
AQ’s Note: The liberal wing of the Supreme Court—and the liberal wing of U.S. District Courts and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, as well—sees fit to play with standards of review whenever it suits the result it wants. Thus, liberal wing judges and the liberal wing of the U.S. Supreme Court tend to revert to “interest-balancing” approaches to judicial review as that approach invariably serves to support the results they want, that is to say, tends to support predetermined decisions.
Thus, in Second Amendment cases, liberal-wing Judges of the lower Courts and liberal-wing Justices of the high Court employ “interest-balancing” to support restrictive, draconian firearms’ regulations even where Government enactments clearly and blatantly impinge upon and infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms—a right succinctly codified in the Bill of Rights. These same jurists also resort to “interest-balancing” in abortion cases, but, in those cases, rather than using “interest balancing” to support legitimate actions of Government that seeks to preserve the life of the unborn child, these jurists conclude that “balancing” the interests of Government, on the one-hand, and the interests of the individual on the other hand—the interests of the individual seeking abortion ought prevail over that of Government that seeks to protect the unborn child. With little wonder, then, Justice Scalia was leery of invoking a traditional, “interest-balancing” standard of review in Heller that might, after the fact, ostensibly, give judicial cover to a liberal-wing Judge who happens to detest the very existence of the Second Amendment.
It is clear enough that some regulations, such as the District of Columbia law banning, altogether, citizen ownership and possession of handguns within the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, are clearly, categorically unlawful. Thus, the majority in Heller saw no need to revert to an “interest-balancing” standard of review, when it rendered its opinion that the D.C. handgun ban is de jure unconstitutional; for, application of any traditional standard of review would amount to mere legal pretense—an empty, redundant exercise, devoid of import. Although Justice Scalia was circumspect in penning the Majority’s Opinion, one finds, clearly enough, when perusing the opinion, that the Majority in Heller knew full well that the D.C. handgun ban was audacious in its conception and abjectly ludicrous–a bald-faced “slap-in-the-face” at the fundamental right codified in the Second Amendment. The D.C. handgun ban therefore deserved no serious judicial consideration.
If the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights were to have any meaning and purpose at all, the D.C. restriction had, properly speaking, to be struck down, and struck down unceremoniously; and so it was. The Heller majority, though, used the case to exemplify once and for all, beyond any further need for clarification, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is an individual right, unconnected to one’s service in a militia. With that point now clearly articulated, it was the fervent hope of the Heller Court’s majority, that Government action that fails to give proper deference to the right as codified in the Second Amendment would at once be struck down; and that it would be unnecessary for courts to go through tortuous gyrations to strike down firearms’ laws and regulations that are facially unlawful.
Unfortunately, the late Justice Scalia, and Justices Thomas and Alito may not have realized the tenacity of governments and courts that abhor the Second Amendment, to find lawful governmental action that is facially and categorically unlawful. The philosophical disposition of jurists who personally abhor the Second Amendment, as we have seen, leads them to patently ignore the principal holdings of, and of the Majority’s reasoning in Heller and McDonald, even as they perfunctorily mention those cases in their opinions to which they give no more than lip-service. Unfortunately, too, the late Justice Scalia, and Justices Thomas and Alito may not have realized the reluctance of moderates on the high Court–now the lone Chief Justice, John Roberts, now that Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy has retired–to take up cases that blatantly ignore Heller and McDonald. This means of course that this Nation requires the swift confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the high Court. Judge Kavanaugh would hold the crucial fourth vote, that would allow cases that infringe the core of the Second Amendment to receive high Court review that they deserve.
The 11th Hour attempt by Senator Dianne Feinstein to throw a wrench into confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh must not be allowed to gain traction. If Republican Senators Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham, who sit on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and who, according to news reports, indicated they may refrain from allowing the vote on the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh by the full Senate to proceed, then that would send a clear message to the American citizenry, that elected Donald Trump to the U.S. Presidency, that elements exist, both among Republicans and Democrats, who do not wish for the U.S. President to fulfill his promises to the American people. President Trump has promised to nominate people to the U.S. Supreme Court who believe in the sanctity of the Bill of Rights as ratified. A confirmation vote of the full Senate, on President Trump’s nomination of John Kavanaugh to sit on the high Court, must proceed forthwith
**See, Friedman vs. City of Highland Park, 136 S. Ct. 447, 193 L. Ed. 2d 483, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 7681, a Second Amendment case implicating the very core of the Second Amendment that failed to receive a critical fourth Supreme Court Justice vote, necessary for review. This case, as with others decided by liberal judges of the U.S. District Courts and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, who take a very dim view of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, deals directly with the issue as to whether so-called “assault weapons” fall within the core of the Second Amendment.
Jurists deciding these cases use methodologies at odds with the reasoning of the majority in Heller and McDonald. Not surprisingly, these Courts invariably find for the government and against the American citizen in holding that firearms defined as “assault weapons” in l0cal regulations or State law, are not protected by the Second Amendment. That was the finding of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the Friedman case.
These are the pertinent facts of the case: The City of Highland Park, Illinois, bans the manufacturing, selling, giving, lending, acquiring, or possessing many of the most commonly owned semiautomatic firearms, which the City branded “Assault Weapons,” which many Americans own for lawful purposes like self-defense, hunting, and target shooting. The City also prohibited “Large Capacity Magazines,” a term the City used to refer to nearly all ammunition feeding devices that “accept more than ten rounds.” §136.001(G), id., at 70a. The City’s ordinances were challenged by an American citizen and resident of Illinois. The federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment for the City. The Petitioner appealed. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that routinely upholds such bans, affirmed the decision of the District Court. The Petitioner appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Certiorari was denied as the case did not receive a fourth critical vote from the Justices, necessary for the case to be heard. When cases are not decided for high Court review, the reasons for refusing to take up a case are not generally stated. The high Court simply asserts that a Petitioner’s Writ is denied, and the Court leaves the matter at that. The nature of the votes cast by each Justice is never given, either.
In the Friedman case, it is clear that the Seventh Circuit blatantly ignored the reasoning of the Majority in Heller and McDonald. The Writ for Certiorari should have been granted. It wasn’t. It is clear enough that the liberal-wing of the Court and two members of the conservative wing, likely the so-called swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who recently retired, along with Chief Justice Roberts, did not want the case to be heard, and they did not want the case heard for a specific reason. They obviously feared that application of the holdings of Heller and McDonald, together with the reasoning of the majority in those cases, would dictate the overturning of the Seventh Circuit Court’s decision in Friedman, and that, in turn, would result in a cascading effect, across the Country, where assault weapon bans would be overturned in every jurisdiction that presently ban or severely restrict the ownership and possession of a large category of semiautomatic weapons, including firearms that are not semiautomatic in operation, namely, revolving cylinder shotguns.
Understandably, Justices Thomas and Scalia were livid that Heller and McDonald could and would dare be blithely ignored by jurists for ideological reasons, predicated on personal biases, mandating results that are contrary to law. Justice Thomas wrote a blistering dissenting comment in response to the high Court’s failure to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Friedman. The late, eminent Associate Justice, Antonin Scalia, who penned the Heller decision for the Majority, joined Justice Thomas in the Associate Justice’s dissenting comment. We can reasonably infer that Justice Alito, who penned the majority opinion in McDonald, also voted in favor of reviewing the Friedman case, even though he did not join with Justice Scalia in Justice Thomas’ dissenting comment. Even so, that meant that, at best, only three votes–one short, of the required minimum, four–were cast for high Court review of the Friedman case.
Justice Thomas wrote in salient part:
“[O]ur central holding in” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637 (2008), was “that the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home.” McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742, 780, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2010) (plurality opinion). And in McDonald, we recognized that the Second Amendment applies fully against the States as well as the Federal Government. Id., at 750, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3026, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894, 903; id., at 805, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3058, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894, 938 (Thomas, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment).
Despite these holdings, several Courts of Appeals—including the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the decision below — have upheld categorical bans on firearms that millions of Americans commonly own for lawful purposes. See 784 F. 3d 406, 410-412 (2015). Because noncompliance with our Second Amendment precedents warrants this Court’s attention as much as any of our precedents, I would grant certiorari in this case. . . . Instead of adhering to our reasoning in Heller, the Seventh Circuit limited Heller to its facts, and read Heller to forbid only total bans on handguns used for self-defense in the home. Based on its crabbed reading of Heller, the Seventh Circuit felt free to adopt a test for assessing firearm bans that eviscerates many of the protections recognized in Heller and McDonald.
The Court’s refusal to review a decision that flouts two of our Second Amendment precedents stands in marked contrast to the Court’s willingness to summarily reverse courts that disregard our other constitutional decisions. E.g., Maryland v. Kulbicki, ante, at 1 (per curiam) (summarily reversing because the court below applied Strickland v. Washington, 466 U. S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984), “in name only”); Grady v. North Carolina, 575 U. S. ___ , 135 S. Ct. 1368, 191 L. Ed. 2d 459 (2015) (per curiam) (summarily reversing a judgment inconsistent with this Court’s recent Fourth Amendment precedents); Martinez v. Illinois, 572 U. S. ___, ___ , 134 S. Ct. 2070, 2077, 188 L. Ed. 2d 1112, 1120 (2014) (per curiam) (summarily reversing judgment that rested on an “understandable” double jeopardy holding that nonetheless “r[an] directly counter to our precedents”).
There is no basis for a different result when our Second Amendment precedents are at stake. I would grant certiorari to prevent the Seventh Circuit from relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right.”
Had Judge Kavanaugh been sitting on the high Court, instead of Justice Kennedy, at the time the Court was considering Petitioner’s Writ in Friedman, it is highly likely that Judge Kavanaugh would have provided the critical fourth vote necessary for the Friedman case to be heard, along with one vote each cast in favor of review from Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito. Were the Friedman case heard, then consistent with the Heller and McDonald holdings—and this is a point that bears repeating—it is also highly likely the majority on the high Court would hold that so-called “assault weapons,” which include many popular semiautomatic weapons, and other kinds of weapons, including shotguns that operate through revolving cylinders, do in fact fall within the core of the Second Amendment. That would put to effective rest all the media fanfare and ridiculous uproar over this matter. Thus, any legislation that bans the civilian citizenry of our Nation from owning and possessing such weapons would be struck down as unconstitutional. This, then, easily explains, in great part, the apoplectic reaction by progressives, and by other left-wing radical elements in our society, toward Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to sit as the next Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. These left-wing elements know that unlawful legislation, which includes much of what it is they want, and what they would have obtained had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 Presidential election–and had she appointed non-originalists to the U.S. Supreme Court, which she would certainly have done–will not withstand judicial scrutiny at the level of the Supreme Court, with Judge Kavanaugh on the Bench. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed to sit on the high Court, that will put a damper on the efficacy of a Socialist agenda, ever coming to fruition, long after Donald Trump’s Presidency has ended. Thus, Donald Trump’s legacy and, indeed, the jurisprudential legacy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, will be preserved. Thus, the blood spilled by those who sought to create a free Republic, and the blood spilled by Americans, since–in all the wars and conflicts fought to maintain our free Republic–will not have been in vain.
Copyright © 2018 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.
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