Posts tagged ‘Constitution’

06/11/2013

Treason

by wfgodbold

Oh, right, I have a blog. Sorry about the absence dearth lack of posts laziness.

Anyway, I’ve seen much bandying about of “treason” and such regarding Snowden, the private contractor working for the NSA that leaked information on what the agency is actually doing, and I thought I would point this out:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. U.S. Const. art. III § 3.

I doubt this applies to Snowden; he didn’t adhere to our enemies, nor did he give them aid or comfort.

However!

Nidal Hasan, the Islamist psychiatrist who shot up Fort Hood (*spit*), is intending to use the “defense of others” defense in his trial. He even said–in court–that he did so to protect the Taliban from deploying soldiers.

So, Hasan confessed in court that he killed American soldiers to protect the Taliban. I doubt that qualifies as giving aid or comfort, but it certainly seems to fall under the umbrella of “adhering to their enemies.”

Treason is a term of art, gentle reader. Don’t bandy it about carelessly.

12/18/2012

Those proposing bans on semiautomatic firearms* want to take us back to the ’80s

by wfgodbold

The 1880s.

Those of you who are good at math will note that that is closer to the 1791 ratification of the Second Amendment than to today (~90 years vs. ~130 years). Certainly far closer to the framing than TV, or the internet, but about on par with radio.

Proposing that somehow the arms protected by the Second Amendment are only those in existence at its framing and ratification is the first step down a dangerous road. If that logic applies to the Second Amendment, there’s no reason it couldn’t apply to any of the others.

Twitter? Facebook? The entire internet? TV? Movies? Video games?

Not protected under the First Amendment because at its framing and ratification you had to own a printing press and print pamphlets or stand on a soapbox and shout at passers-by to be heard.

Email? Cars? Your computer? Cloud storage?

All searchable without a warrant, probable cause, or even reasonableness, because the framers did not have any of that technology.

If you don’t like the Second Amendment, you’re welcome to try to repeal it, but consider: Would repealing the First Amendment mean that we no longer have the freedom of speech, or the press, or religion? Rights are not conferred by the government–they are, in the words of the Framers, unalienable.

Self-defense is a human right, and the best, effective means of self-defense is a firearm. A firearm puts the weak, the infirm, and the small on equal footing with their attacker.

To abrogate that right in the face of media-driven hysteria would be wrong, particularly when that hysteria is based on several false assumptions: (1) Mass shootings are not becoming more common, (2) An assault weapons ban would not have stopped the CT shooter, (3) Anything that would have prevented the CT shooting would have serious constitutional problems, and (4) America has already had a conversation about guns, and the gun control side lost.

I understand the drive to do something, but gun control proponents are focused more on doing anything, whether it would work or not, and whether it would be constitutional or not.

*Including, among others, the NY Post, which somehow fails to note (probably because of the pearl-clutching) that the AR-15 was invented in the late 1950s. The NYT notes that the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America (and yet disingenuously posts a picture of a rifle that would be illegal under CT law, instead of one that was legal, like the shooter actually used). In Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects arms in “common use.” (554 U.S. at 627) The most popular rifle in America surely falls under this “common use” umbrella.

04/27/2012

Jim McGovern came up with a genius plan to eviscerate Citizens United…

by wfgodbold

By amending the Constitution such that (H/T Eugene Volokh):

Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

Section 2. People, person, or persons as used in this Constitution does not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulations as the people, through their elected state and federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, and such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.

Prof. Volokh focuses on the impact this will have on freedom of the press; since most media organizations are corporations, and Section 2 expressly excludes corporations from any constitutional protections of any kind (including freedom of the press), this will make it more difficult to raise capital.

That’s all well and good, but as I read Sections 1 and 2, it occurred to me that Jim “NRA F-rated” McGovern had inadvertently delivered the coup de grace to the “collective rights” argument for infringing on the Second Amendment (which, after Heller and McDonald, was already practically dead (you know, aside from certain reactionary holdouts)).

After all, if “people” refers to natural persons, how could it possibly mean the right to keep and bear arms in the service of a militia? Or as part of an army?

Sure, those aren’t corporations, but the Second Amendment refers to the right of the people to keep and bear arms. And if this new amendment explicitly states that the rights protected by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons (and an army or a militia is no more a natural person than a corporation is), I don’t see how you could consistently argue that in this one case, the right isn’t an individual right.

Well done, Jim McGovern.

In your misguided quest to infringe on free speech, you inadvertently euthanized the antiquated view that the right to keep and bear arms is not an individual right.

09/28/2011

Frank Lautenberg was told there would be no math.

by wfgodbold

Though he does a good job of completely freaking out in his opinion piece from this past Sunday:

OUR STREETS are flooded with guns. In a country with just over 300 million people, there are just under 300 million guns in our neighborhoods.

Guns have been used to murder about 100,000 people in the United States over the past 10 years. By comparison, approximately 6,000 American soldiers have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq during that same period.

So first the Honorable Mr. Lautenberg freaks out because there are as many guns in this country as there are people.

And then, in this country literally awash in firearms, he tells us that we’ve had, essentially, less than three people murdered with guns every day for the past ten years (Why should the anti-gunners be the only ones to abuse statistics?).

I’m sure most of those murders are tragedies (I say most because I don’t really give a rat’s ass about gangbangers shooting each other so long as they don’t kill the innocent); I do think it’s despicable that the Honorable Mr. Lautenberg tries to use our war dead to advance his anti-civil rights cause.

Any port in a storm; we can’t possibly let those licensed to carry concealed take advantage of that horrible Full Faith and Credit clause! That would be beyond the pale!

Truly, he is an honorable man.

 

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