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Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Doesn’t it figure that President Obama shoots left-handed?!

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I’m really just kidding as I also shoot rifles and shotguns lefty (though pistols right-handed) and few serious people would accuse me of being a man of the left.  Moreover, I think the traditional left-right scale is fairly unhelpful (see here).

But I do find the release of this photo by the White House to be pure propaganda and thus offensive to the democratic spirit.

First, does anyone really expect us to believe that this Harvard-trained, elite, Chicago libgressive is a big shooting enthusiast?  Of course, someone with that profile could be.  However, it is very unlikely.  I can count the number of northern academics and elites who regularly shoot guns on my fingers (hello Marc!).  And none of them are Democrats.  Of course, there is the big Vermont anomaly - but I don’t think Barry would agree with the Green Mountain State’s gun control regime (which is basically this: aim well and point your gun downrange- for now).  More importantly, there is little support for any claim that Obama is a shooter.  That is why this Onion piece works as humor.  Heck, the guy couldn’t even pretend to be a decent bowler!

And this is fine. Just because I like to do something and have the right to do it does not mean that others have to agree with my preferences.  Indeed, I’d be perfectly ok with a President who said, “I don’t care for guns and have little interest in using them for any reason.  Indeed, I think owning a gun is a poor use of one’s freedom.  However, I do think that the Constitution secures the individual right to bear arms, and since I have pledged to support and uphold the Constitution, I will work to protect that right even as I disagree with its exercise.”  This is how I think about many rights that individuals enjoy and often (unfortunately) exercise.  Yet, I don’t believe the President really cares what the Constitution says nor that he should let it get in the way of his policy preferences.

Second, it is probably not chance that Obama is shooting a shotgun in the information operations/propaganda photo since this is how the Dems are trying to triangulate the gun control issue – “We don’t want to stop sportsmen from owning and shooting guns.  But true sportsmen don’t need ‘assault weapons.'”  I’d be more convinced of Obama’s credibility on the 2nd Amendment if the WH showed him firing my handgun of choice: the Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm.  But that would hurt the narrative even though the Administration claims it isn’t going after handguns (despite the fact that Marc pointed out earlier that these are the real weapons of choice for those killing others).

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While my fellow Pilei debate the role that moderate Republicans can play in a future return to fiscal sobriety, libertarian law prof Randy Barnett considers whether, with respect to the PPACA, it even matters. What are the chances that the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, including potentially the entire bill, which lacks a severability clause? Barnett argues that the individual mandate contradicts existing Supreme Court thinking on the “necessary and proper” clause, and that the mandate represents a legally unprecedented “commandeering of the people” by the federal government. If the health care bill remains unpopular by the time the case reaches the Supreme Court, he muses, there may well be five votes to strike it down.

HT: Hit & Run.

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Both sides of the current immigration debate assume that regulating immigration is the right and duty of the federal government. For conservatives, the federal government has failed in its job of enforcement, which makes it sadly necessary for states to step in. Thus we have this typical defense of the Arizona law:

The same idea applies to our borders.  It’s unquestionably the responsibility of the federal government, and yet – going back through Republican and Democratic administrations – the feds seem to be too busy interfering with how American citizens lead their lives to bother doing their job at our nation’s borders.

And liberals argue that because immigration is the federal government’s job, states shouldn’t be interfering. Take it away, Tim Rutten:

The people behind Arizona’s new anti-immigrant statute have at least one thing right: This mean-spirited law was enacted because the federal government has abdicated its responsibility to address the immigration system’s moral and functional failures.

And the Obama Administration is considering using the same logic for a lawsuit: pursuant to the Supremacy clause, state regulation of immigration is pre-empted by federal law.

But is this left-right consensus correct? The text of the U.S. Constitution says nothing about immigration, only that Congress has the power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Thus, the Constitution grants Congress the power to pass regulations determining the process by which residents may become citizens. The only crimes for which Congress is allowed to establish punishments are “Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations” and “counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States.” Congress also has the power to regulate international commerce, which must mean the trade of goods and services but probably also capital investment from abroad. But crossing a border isn’t, in itself, “commerce.”

Is regulating immigration “necessary and proper” to any of the foregoing powers of Congress? I don’t see how it is. Congress can very well establish rules for citizenship while leaving immigration itself unregulated, as it essentially did until after World War I, with the notorious exception of the Alien Friends and Enemies Acts, or while leaving states to regulate immigration.

Surprisingly, a textualist reading of the Constitution therefore reveals that regulating immigration is the job of the states, not the federal government.

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Back when I was a callow youth (and Reagan supporter), I wrote a high school English paper arguing for the repeal of the 22nd Amendment.  Fortunately, I’ve grown up and now see the 22nd Amendment as a potentially helpful constraint on the accumulation and maintenance of power. 

But it was this piece of news that led me to thank our Founders for restricting the Presidency to natural born citizens.  My goodness – what a train wreck it would be to have Arnold Schwarzenegger, “The People’s Governor,” as the Republican nominee for President or as the President himself.  Worse than Ike over Taft!  We’d be back to Bush II’s big government conservatism – something that ought to be an oxymoron.

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