Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Constitution

As Georgia’s Gun Freedoms Expand, So Do Others

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 7, 2014: 

Jack Hilliard, Deer Hunter, Wears His Handgun ...

When Georgia’s new “guns everywhere” law became effective on Tuesday, July 1, the governor was ecstatic:

[This is] a great day to reaffirm our liberties….

The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should be at the front of our minds.

The new law allows gun owners with carry licenses to do so in churches, schools, bars, and some government buildings that were previously off-limits. It also expands the state’s “stand your ground” laws to cover those previously convicted of felonies. And it prevents police from demanding without cause a person carrying to produce a license permitting him to do so.

Without saying so specifically, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal expressed a point often missed in the gun debate:

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Obama: A Law unto Himself

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Events of recent months have clearly revealed Barack Obama for what he is: a revolutionary progressive determined to change the United States into a fascist system of controls over every aspect of a citizen’s life. In spite of a recent series of events that would have humiliated and shamed a less committed totalitarian into silence and withdrawal, Obama instead has pressed on with his agenda.

On Saturday, in his weekly press conference, Obama announced that he was taking things into his own hands:

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Obama to “Go It Alone” on Immigration Reform

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 1, 2014:

 

English: The logo of U.S. Citizenship and Immi...

Speaking at the White House Rose Garden on Monday, President Obama said that because of the House’s refusal even to consider last year’s Senate bill on immigration reform (informally called “pathway to citizenship”), he is going to do it on his own:

I don’t prefer executive action. I prefer permanent fixes to the problems we face. I would love nothing more [than] for bipartisan legislation to be put on my desk so I can sign it. I take executive action only when we have a serious problem and when Congress chooses to do nothing.

In this situation, the failure to pass a darn bill is bad for security, the economy, and the future. So while I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act. Americans cannot wait forever.

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Flawed Logic in Court Ruling that Colorado’s Gun Laws are Constitutional

This article was first published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 30, 2014:

Cover of "The Second Amendment"

With her ruling that Colorado’s new gun laws are constitutional, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Kreiger didn’t let logic interfere with her thought process. She ruled that it was OK for the Colorado legislature to restrict magazine capacities to 15 rounds because the impact on precious rights was so small. In addition, she ruled that background checks on all private sales was constitutional because other states had passed similar laws and other courts had ruled them constitutional.

The Colorado Shooting Sports Federation, one of the several plaintiffs in the case which included many of Colorado’s county sheriffs who joined as individuals, smelled a rat without locating where it was in her 50-page ruling issued last week:

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Colorado Gun Laws Constitutional, Says U.S. District Judge

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 27, 2014:

In Search of the Second Amendment

On Thursday, a federal judge upheld Colorado’s new gun-control laws that mandate background checks for all gun sales and limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds. U.S. District Chief Judge Marcia Krieger issued her 50-page ruling on the 2013 laws after a two-week civil trial in late March and early April in Denver.

The lawsuit was originally filed by plaintiffs including sheriffs, gun shops, outfitters, and shooting ranges. Krieger ruled last year that the sheriffs could not sue the state in their official capacities but they could join the lawsuit as private citizens.

In her ruling, Judge Krieger (who was appointed to the position in 2001 by then-President George W. Bush) made clear from the beginning that she wasn’t going to rule on whether or not the new laws made sense:

A court does not act as a super-legislature to determine the wisdom or workability of legislation. Instead, it determines only whether legislation is constitutionally permissible….

The judge just only compares the public policy adopted by the legislature against the constitutional minimums that protect individual rights….

This Court will not express a qualitative opinion as to whether a law is “good” or “bad,” “wise” or “unwise,” “sound policy” or a “hastily-considered overreaction.”

After determining that most of the plaintiffs had standing to sue, she focused her attention on the impact that limiting magazine capacities would have on both criminal shooters and law-abiding citizens:

Plaintiffs argue that by limiting magazines to 15 rounds or less, this statute impairs an individual’s Second Amendment “right of self-defense.” Colorado reflexively responds that because people can still defend themselves, no Second Amendment right is impaired.

She then notes that the offending laws do not directly regulate firearms at all, but only the size of the magazines that feed them:

Because [the magazine limit law] regulates only the number of rounds in a magazine, it does not affect whether the semiautomatic firearm can be used, or even whether it can be used in a semiautomatic mode. It only affects how often it must be reloaded.

She said the scope of the law is universal but its impact is not severe enough to render it unconstitutional:

This ban applies to every person in Colorado, in every venue, and for every use, including self-defense inside and outside of the home.

It impacts a large number of semiautomatic firearms, both handguns and rifles. Viewed in this light, the scope of the statute is broad, and it touches the core of an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

But because its impact on that right is so minor, the judge said, she overlooked it as any kind of impediment to the government’s overriding interest in “public safety”:

Despite such broad scope, however, the statute’s impact on a person’s ability to keep and bear (use) firearms for the purpose of self-defense is not severe….

Thus, this statute does not prevent the people of Colorado from possessing semiautomatic weapons for self-defense, or from using those weapons as they are designed to function. The only limitation imposed is how frequently they must reload their weapons.

She decided that the “pause” (when a criminal shooter runs out of ammunition during an attack in order to reload gives his victims time to run away and hide while giving more time for armed officials to intervene) was a distinct advantage of the new law. She failed to mention that the alleged invented shooter in her scenario wasn’t likely to limit himself under the new law. Instead, she concentrated on how limiting magazines to 15 rounds would scarcely impact an honest citizen’s ability to defend himself: “No evidence presented here suggests that the general ability of a person to defend him or herself is seriously diminished if magazines are limited to 15 rounds.”

Besides, she wrote, most “incidents” involved criminals intending mayhem are resolved without any shots being fired:

First, the defensive purpose of firearms is often achieved without shots being fired whatsoever. Mr. [Massad] Ayoob [an expert witness called for the plaintiffs in the case] testified that, often, merely the defensive display of a firearm is sufficient to defuse the threat….

In these types of circumstances, a restriction on a magazine size in no way diminishes the ability of the firearm user to defend him or herself.

Therefore, wrote the judge, the modest infringement of a Second Amendment right is acceptable:

The Court finds that although [the law limiting magazines to 15 rounds] burdens the operation of semiautomatic weapons, the burden is not severe because it does not materially reduce the ability of a person to use a semiautomatic firearm for self-defense, not does it reduce the effectiveness of self-defensive efforts.

One wonders if our nation’s Founders would be impressed with the argument that infringements of the Second Amendment are allowed because they are modest.

Krieger made short work of another complaint, that background checks required in all private transactions are unconstitutional. She noted that the plaintiffs didn’t really make that argument at all, but instead focused on temporary transfers being hampered unnecessarily:

Plaintiffs do not argue that requiring background checks for the private sale of firearms is unconstitutional. Rather, they focus their challenge on the effect of the statute on temporary transfers [i.e., loans] when ownership of the firearm does not change.

But since the Second Amendment and other court rulings have failed to address the issue of such temporary transfers of a firearm from an owner to a borrower, therefore it doesn’t count:

It is not at all clear that the Second Amendment prevents the government from restricting the ability of persons to acquire firearms via temporary loans from others….

Logically, if the government can lawfully regulate the ability of persons to obtain firearms from commercial dealers, the same power to regulate should extend to non-commercial [private] transactions, lest the loophole swallow the regulatory purpose.

Upon learning of the decision, the plaintiffs had plenty to say about it. The Colorado State Shooting Association, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, called it “disappointing on many levels” and asserted that the ruling missed the whole point concerning the Second Amendment:

The significance of the Second Amendment as a core portion of the Bill of Rights and its importance has virtually no reference in the decision. Most noteworthy was the court’s focus on the important government interest at hand while ignoring the complete absence of support for [it] in the legislative record.

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, a leader among the plaintiffs, added:

While we respect the judge’s ruling today, we believe that it is plainly wrong on the law and on the facts….

[The laws] are still unenforceable. And that is borne out in that there has not been one arrest on these two laws to date.

The ruling was not without its supporters, however. State Senator Mary Hodge, a Democrat from Thornton and a sponsor of the bills, remarked:

This is public safety. Having people have to pause to reload [during a mass shooting] saves lives. These school shooters, for the most part, did not know how to reload their weapons, so this limit on large-capacity magazines is good.

Eileen McCarron, head of the anti-gun Colorado Ceasefire Capitol Fund, said the lawsuit was a waste of time and money:

This was a politically motivated lawsuit that has been grasping at straws from day one. These laws are reasonable protections against gun violence that many states have adopted and have repeatedly passed the test of constitutionality.

And Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, whose office defended the laws, said he was just doing his job:

Like Judge Krieger, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has never asserted that the laws in question are good, wise or sound policy. As it does in all cases, the AG’s Office has fulfilled its responsibility to defend the constitutionality of the Colorado law[s] in question. The Attorney General’s Office fully expects the case to be appealed and looks forward to final resolution of the issues as soon as possible.

If left to stand upon appeal, Judge Krieger’s ruling illustrates just how our fundamental rights given by God and guaranteed by the Constitution are lost: an inch at a time. Krieger, in her ruling, failed to address the word “infringe,” which could have shed more light on the rights she was allowing to be compromised. “Infringe” means to violate, transgress, encroach, or trespass. The Latin root infringere means “to break” or “weaken.” In that light, the laws just ruled constitutional by her court remain unconstitutional after all.

One awaits the appeal with eager anticipation.

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Lawsuit to be Filed Against Teacher Tenure rules in New York

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 26, 2014: 

 

Classroom in the Afternoon

Classroom in the Afternoon

Following the widely hailed victory over California’s egregious teacher tenure rules in court earlier this month, another group is bringing suit in New York to challenge similar rules. Called the Partnership for Educational Justice, it has enlisted pro bono efforts from Jay Lefkowitz, a skilled and capable litigator with previous victories against teacher unions under his belt.

The lawsuit will challenge laws that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled to be unconstitutional in California, namely,

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House Investigator Issa Subpoenas Lois Lerner’s hard drive

Rose Mary Woods (1917-2005), Richard Nixon's s...

Rose Mary Woods (1917-2005), Richard Nixon’s secretary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier this week Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, subpoenaed the hard drive from Lois Lerner’s computer that allegedly crashed – along with those of six other IRS personnel – in August 2011. He wanted everything, including “all hard drives, external drives, thumb drives and computers” plus “all [other] electronic communications devices the IRS issued to Lois G. Lerner.”

When asked about the matter, an IRS “spokesman” told Politico:

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The Beginning of the end of Tenure for Teachers

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 13, 2014:

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make ...

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Photo credit: jgarber)

A subtitle might be “Olives, Dominoes, Tipping Points, and Judge Treu.” It’s common knowledge that the first olive out of the bottle is always the hardest, that after that the rest come out a little more easily. It’s common knowledge that once the first domino falls, the others topple immediately afterwards. As Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point, put it:

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Teacher Tenure laws Struck down in California

Photo of the facade of the California Teachers...

Photo of the facade of the California Teachers Association’s main office in Sacramento, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one thing the California teachers’ unions wanted to avoid was a full-on public trial which would expose the dark underbelly of the system that for years has protected incompetent teachers with tenure. The ruling on Tuesday in Vergara v. State of California by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu is their worst nightmare come true: all of the egregious laws protecting incompetents were thrown out.

As the evidence in the four-week trial began to mount up, so did the judge’s indignation. At issue were

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A Hero Emerges from the Horror of the Las Vegas Shootings

Sheepdog

Sheepdog (Photo credit: timothy.potter)

In the media’s haste to cover a story that appeared initially to mesh with its anti-gun agenda, at least two covering the ghastly murderous attacks in Las Vegas on Sunday skipped over the real hero: Joseph Robert Wilcox.

USA Today’s initial reporting of the incident only made passing reference to the man who likely cut short what was planned to be a massive attack on innocents, referring to Wilcox as just “another man” who was shot in the Walmart melee. But the paper gave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the senior Senator from Nevada, plenty of ink:

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Federal Reserve Notes Soon to Become Irrelevant in Oklahoma

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 9, 2014:

 

Republic of Hawaii Banknote for 20 gold dollar...

Republic of Hawaii Banknote for 20 gold dollars, 1895. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something that the lamestream media missed entirely happened on Wednesday, June 4, in Oklahoma: the governor signed into law a bill affirming what is already guaranteed to each state in the US Constitution: that gold and silver coin are legal tender. Historians looking back may recall that day as the day the Federal Reserve’s hegemony over money ended.

Article I, Section 10, the U.S. Constitution states simply that

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Supreme Court Refuses to hear case on Reporter’s Privilege

 

Cover of "State of War: The Secret Histor...

By refusing to hear an appeal from New York Times’ investigative journalist James Risen last week [not to be confused with Fox analyst James Rosen] that his sources for a controversial chapter in his book State of War are protected under the First Amendment and reporters’ “privilege”, the Supreme Court has de facto endorsed its controversial decision from 1972. In that decision, the Court determined that the First Amendment does not give reporters like Risen any reportorial “privilege” in protecting their confidential sources.

If the government moves ahead with its subpoena of Risen to testify or be held in contempt in its case against former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, Risen said he would go to jail rather than reveal his sources.

In a strange comment following the Court’s decision not to hear Risen’s appeal, Attorney General Eric Holder, the head of the department bringing the suit against Sterling, said:

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Oklahoma is the next state to Affirm gold and silver as Legal Tender

1907 Double Eagle, Liberty Head, Obverse

1907 Double Eagle, Liberty Head, Obverse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday, June 4, Oklahoma joined Utah, Texas and Louisiana in affirming that gold and silver coins are (as they always have been under the Constitution) legal tender in the payment of debts in the state. On the surface this seems almost silly: affirming a right that already exists in Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution. But it is much more than that.

 

Senate Bill 862 which Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law this week says:

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House Passes bill to Increase Funding for Background Checks

Seal of the National Crime Information Center ...

Seal of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), USA. — “Servicing Our Citizens” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Late last Thursday the House voted, 260-145, to increase federal grant money to states to improve their reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. It was a textbook case of revolutionary parliamentarianism at work.

Less than one week after the Isla Vista, California, shootings which left seven people dead and 13 wounded, the House voted to increase funding by $19.5 million to assist the states in their data collection and entry into the federal gun registry system. It was all for good reasons, according to Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), who helped sponsor the amendment:

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Glenn Greenwald Catches Establishment Flak for His Book “No Place to Hide”

 

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Marylan...

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Español: Instalaciones generales de la NSA en Fort Meade, Maryland. Русский: Штаб-квартира АНБ, Форт-Мид, Мэриленд, США (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 28, 2014:

 

Back in 1975, when Idaho Senator Frank Church was running the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence Activities (better known as the Church Committee), he warned:

The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables [it] to monitor the messages that go through the air….

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left. Such is their capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.

There would be no place to hide.

When Glenn Greenwald was looking for a title for his book, what better choice than that?

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Two Unanimous Supreme Court Decisions Grant Immunity to Police, Secret Service

Police Tape

Following the announcements on Monday of the Supreme Court’s unanimous decisions in two “qualified immunity” cases, John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, expressed dismay:

Not a day goes by without reports of police officers overstepping the bounds of the Constitution and brutalizing, terrorizing and killing the citizenry. Indeed, the list of incidents in which unaccountable police abuse their power, betray their oath of office and leave taxpayers bruised, broken and/or killed grows longer and more tragic by the day to such an extent that Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist.

This lawlessness on the part of government officials, an unmistakable characteristic of a police state, is made possible in large part by the courts, which increasingly defer to law enforcement and prioritize security over civil liberties. In so doing, the government gives itself free rein to abuse the law, immune from reproach, and we are all the worse off for it.

A closer look at the two cases to which Whitehead refers, however, reveals

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Review of “No Place to Hide” by Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald, the facilitator in bringing to light Edward Snowden’s staggering revelations over the NSA’s surveillance of Americans, titled his book from a comment made by Senator Frank Church back in 1975. As head of the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, Church said:

The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables [them] to monitor the messages that go through the air…

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left. Such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.

There would be no place to hide.

Greenwald opens his book as if it were a John Grisham thriller,

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Dinesh D’Souza Pleads Guilty, Claims Selective Prosecution

 

Cover of "The Roots of Obama's Rage"

Cover of The Roots of Obama’s Rage

When Federal District Judge Richard Berman ruled that Dinesh D’Souza, co-producer of the documentary film 2016: Obama’s America, had provided no evidence that he was selectively prosecuted for arranging campaign contributions to a friend in 2012, D’Souza had no other defense. In his plea bargain with Berman on Tuesday, D’Souza pleaded guilty to one of the two counts in the indictment, saying:

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Obama Administration Choking off Bank Lending to Gun Dealers

Cover of "The Second Amendment"

Cover of The Second Amendment

For seven years Theodore Roosevelt Liberti – known to his friends as “T.R.” – ran a retail gun shop in New Jersey and then moved it to Florida. T.R.’s bank had always been BankUnited (BU) which handled his accounts and cleared his customer’s credit card purchases. But when he decided to open an online store called Discount Ammo-N-Guns, BankUnited closed his accounts on March 12 “pursuant to the terms and conditions listed in our Depositor’s Agreement.”

When T.R. demanded a further explanation, the bank remained silent. T.R.’s wife and business partner, Elizabeth said:

I was very angry. They were very inconsiderate. We had all our credit cards going through that bank.

All of a sudden we had to run and find another bank to keep our business going. We [had to] shut down for two weeks.

[BUT] wouldn’t even tell us why.

When the bank finally responded, its explanation was unsatisfactory:

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Minnesotans Score Small Victory in Civil Asset Forfeiture War

A photograph of a lake with trees.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On August 1, citizens in Minnesota will rejoice that the police can no longer steal their property without being convicted – or even charged with – a crime. Until then Minnesota remains an upside-down world, and in many other states as well, where police can seize cash and property if they think that somehow the cash or the property was involved in a crime. Prior to August 1, citizens who have had their property seized will have to prove a negative:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.