Black History Month - We continue our celebration of Black History Month by featuring Rosa Parks. Rosa Louise Parks was nationally recognized as the “mother of the modern day civil rights movement” in America. Her refusal to surrender her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, December 1, 1955, triggered a wave of protest December 5, 1955 that reverberated throughout the United States. Her quiet courageous act changed America, its view of black people and redirected the course of American history.
Article1 Section1 Clause 1
"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
Constitution 101: The Judiciary & Judicial Review
The Tenth Amendment Center
The federal judiciary has arguably become the most powerful branch of the general government. Opinions issued by nine politically connected lawyers have redefined marriage throughout the entire United States, authorized the internment of American citizens and dictated what kinds of decorations cities can display in their parks.
Federal courts were never intended to wield this kind of power and control. In Federalist #78, Alexander Hamilton argued that judiciary would operate as the weakest branch of the federal government.
Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments. This simple view of the matter suggests several important consequences. It proves incontestably, that the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power.”
The judiciary has a very specific role – to judge cases – sometimes referred as “controversies.” The two words were used interchangeably in the founding era.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.)
This power was further limited by the 11th Amendment.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”
If an issue isn’t a proper judicial “case,” the federal judiciary does not have any jurisdiction. It has no authority to issue advisory opinions, or make judgments outside the narrow scope of a given case. During the Philadelphia Convention, Charles Pinckney of South Carolina submitted a proposal to require the Supreme Court to issue advisory opinions at the request of the president or Congress. The convention rejected this proposal.
Technically, a ruling only binds the parties to the case, and it can only be applied within contexts identical to the facts of the controversy. One can certainly draw broader conclusions from a ruling, but it doesn’t automatically apply to all people at all times. But courts tend to follow precedent, and future judges won’t generally overturn “settled law,” even when the precedent strays significantly from the Constitution as ratified.
Congress wields a great deal of power over the federal courts. The Constitution only directly establishes a Supreme Court. Congress has the authority to “ordain and establish” inferior courts. In fact, Congress could do away with the entire existing district and appellate court system. It also has the authority to determine the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
Additionally, Congress has the power to limit the federal courts’ jurisdiction. The Constitution delegates “appellate jurisdiction … with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”
For instance, Congress could pass a law prohibiting the Supreme Court from hearing cases related to abortion.
Roger Sherman of Connecticut was a delegate at the Philadelphia Convention and a supporter of ratification. During the ratification debates, he summarized the limitation of federal judicial power.
It was thought necessary in order to carry into effect the laws of the Union, and to preserve justice and harmony among the States, to extend the judicial powers of the confederacy; they cannot be extended beyond enumerated cases, but may be limited by Congress, and doubtless will be restricted to such cases of importance and magnitude as cannot safely be trusted to the final decision of the court of the particular states.” .....Read More.....
6 Common Media Myths About Gun Control
by Jarrett Stepman
The latest mass shooting, this time at a Florida high school, was one of the deadliest school shootings since the Columbine massacre in 1999.
So far, there have been 17 confirmed deaths in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the alleged shooter is in custody.
Americans are understandably searching for answers to stem this terrible epidemic.
Unfortunately, as always, many jump immediately to the conclusion that guns and protection of gun rights are what’s fueling the recurrence of these crimes. Some suggested that any opposition to gun control legislation is outright immoral.
But the often sincere and certainly passionate claims made by those calling for gun control frequently don’t add up.
As columnist David French wrote of the recurring shootings in a brilliant column for National Review, “It’s horrifying, and governmental solutions are hard to find. Twitter’s fondest wishes to the contrary, the unique characteristics of mass shootings mean that they often escape the reach of public policy.”
After the Parkland shooting, a number of old and new myths about the Second Amendment and gun control became media narratives. Here are just a few of the more common ones.
1. There Have Already Been 18 Mass Shootings in 2018
While school shootings are a serious problem, there have been frequent exaggerations about just how common they are.
One story that has gained widespread traction is that the Parkland shooting is the 18th school shooting since the beginning of 2018. This statistic was originally cooked up by Everytown for Gun Safety, a pro-gun control nonprofit.
Yet, as The Daily Wire noted, this statistic is highly misleading.
Several of these “shootings” were individuals committing suicide on campus and many others were of stray bullets passing through classroom walls with no injuries taking place. In only a few cases were people other than the shooter actually harmed.
“[O]f the 17 ‘school shootings’ before Wednesday’s shooting; three students died; roughly 30-35 were injured,” according to The Daily Wire.
Even The Washington Post said the Everytown number was “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong.”
“Everytown has long inflated its total by including incidents of gunfire that are not really school shootings,” according to The Washington Post.
2. Trump Signed a Bill That Makes It Easier for Mentally Ill People to Get Guns
This story spread rapidly after President Donald Trump tweeted out that the Parkland shooter was “mentally disturbed” and that more vigilance was necessary to stop these people before they engage in mass killings.
Immediately, many journalists suggested that Trump had made it easier for disturbed people to get guns.
However, this stretched the truth.
Last year, Trump and Congress used the Congressional Review Act to overturn an Obama-era regulation that among other things could prevent those who received disability payments from Social Security from purchasing firearms.
The rule brought up serious charges that it was not just a violation of the Second Amendment, but Fourth Amendment due process rights.
“No administrative process and no administrative law judge should be able to take away a constitutional right,” Heritage Foundation senior fellow Hans von Spakovsky said when the rule was repealed. “This should exclusively be a regular court of law to determine if someone is disabled enough to pose a hazard with a gun, not a federal bureaucrat.”
As Reason editor Scott Shackford wrote, the rule did not specifically prevent mentally ill people from getting guns. Instead, it threw a wide, potentially unconstitutional net over people who may be no threat to themselves or others.
“[T]he regulation was opposed not just by National Rifle Association (NRA) but by several mental health and disability groups and by the American Civil Liberties Union,” Shackford wrote.
3. More Guns Means More Crime
One of the most frequent and persistent myths about guns is that the increase of guns in society leads to more crimes or violence in general. However, this hasn’t been the case. Studies demonstrate that gun control laws have not had a noticeable impact in reducing murder rates and violent crime.
I wrote in October:
As numerous studies have shown, gun ownership is not necessarily connected to crime rates, and may make crime go down. A 2016 report from the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action noted that:
As gun ownership has risen to an all-time high, the nation’s total violent crime rate has fallen to a 44-year low and the murder rate has fallen to an all-time low. Since 1991, when violent crime hit an all-time high, the nation’s violent crime rate and its murder rate have decreased by more than half, as Americans have acquired over 170 million new guns, roughly doubling the number of privately owned guns in the United States.
Furthermore, concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding of any demographic group in America.
For these reasons and many others, gun control has fizzled as an issue even as its proponents continue to push the narrative.
There is simply no evidence that gun owners are more likely to commit crimes, violent or otherwise.
4. It’s Easy to Buy a Gun
In 2015, former President Barack Obama caused a stir when he said, “It’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable.”
Obama doubled down in 2016, saying, “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”
Even The Washington Post fact-checkers cast doubt on this wild claim.
Sean Davis at The Federalist explained the wide gap between the effort required to buy simple produce and pretty much any firearm. Davis Wrote:
There are no federal laws requiring onion dealers to register with the federal government prior to selling onions. There are no state laws requiring that you apply for and receive an onion purchase permit, complete with background check, prior to purchasing an onion. There are no onion waiting periods or limits on how many onions you can purchase within a certain period of time. Nor are there, to my knowledge, any state or local laws prohibiting the possession of onions in schools or government buildings.
The fact is, there are numerous hurdles to gun ownership. It’s not something that can be done on an immediate whim.
5. Gun Control Works in Other Countries
A frequent claim by gun control advocates is that other countries have stemmed gun violence through strict gun control laws.
Australia, in particular, is used as an example for the U.S., as Obama did in 2015.
“We know that other countries in response to one mass shooting have managed to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours, Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours,” he said.
Of course, this comparison doesn’t calm the fears of many who believe that so-called moderate, “commonsense” gun control solutions are merely a Trojan horse leading to mass confiscation as happened in Australia.
Even so, the evidence that the law made a huge impact in gun violence is unclear. As a University of Melbourne report concluded in 2008, according to National Review, “There is little evidence to suggest that [the Australian mandatory gun-buyback program] had any significant effects on firearm homicides.”
The report said:
Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.
While Australia experienced a dip in firearm deaths after passing the 1996 law, so has the U.S. since the early 1990s, even as we moved in the opposite policy direction.
6. The Second Amendment Is Obsolete and Doesn’t Apply Today
Many gun control advocates acknowledge that the Second Amendment is a serious impediment to heavy-handed restrictions on firearms and confiscations and have advocated a repeal of this part of the Bill of Rights.
Others, however, have insinuated that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply today because the firearms used by the Founding Fathers were muskets, and that they couldn’t possibly have conceived of the devastating effectiveness of modern weaponry.
But the Founders did not design the Constitution to be an ephemeral document that would lose its applicability over time. They were quite aware that technological changes would come long after they were gone. They designed the Second Amendment to preserve the individual right to self-defense, just as they created the First Amendment to protect free expression.
William Blackstone, a British legal theorist whom the Founders often relied on for guidance, wrote, “Self-defense … as it is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the law of society.”
It was this reasoning that prompted the Founders to include the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
Just as the rise of the internet and new communication technologies do not make the First Amendment invalid, the principles of the Second Amendment apply today, even as firearm technology has advanced.
Many studies show that news coverage and publicity surrounding school shootings only serve to increase their frequency. As Reason’s Robby Soave pointedly asked on Twitter, does this mean that it’s time to crack down on the First Amendment? A form of “news control,” so to speak.
It is reasonable for Americans to be wary of policy proposals that would likely be ineffective, yet would negate our most precious individual rights.
Isn't that UnConstitutional?
THIS WEEK at BBFL (2/04/18)
How do you determine if something is Constitutional?
James Madison gave us a 2-step process.
First, Madison said “whenever a question arises concerning the Constitutionality of a particular power; the first question is whether the power be expressed in the Constitution. If it be, the question is decided.”
Second, if the action is absolutely necessary to carry out a power that is clearly spelled out in the Constitution, and it is a proper or customary way of doing so, then, as Madison put it, “it may be exercised by Congress. If it be not; Congress cannot exercise it.”
It's TAX TIME
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WHEN GOVERNMENT TRAMPLES ON OUR PERSONAL FREEDOMS
it makes us MAD! Yet, the uniformed and misinformed voters often determine who will represent us, the People, in Congress and the Presidency. Most citizens including most politicians do not have a clue how the Constitution actually intended the federal government to operate.
We now have two ways you can use to get educated about the Constitution. If you are in southwest Ohio, southeast Indiana or Northern Kentucky, you can attend or even host an on-site Constitution Boot Camp. Or you can now get Constitution Boot Camp on video which gives us the opportunity to reach you anywhere in the world with this vital message.
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Wisdom from a Great American Patriot
Rosa Parks, The Woman Who Just Said "NO"
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913 – 2005) was an African American civil right’s activist and seamstress whom the U.S. Congress dubbed the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”.
Parks is famous for her refusal on 1 December 1955, to obey bus driver James Blake’s demand that she relinquish her seat to a white man. Her subsequent arrest and trial for this act of civil disobedience triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history, and launched Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the organizers of the boycott, to the forefront of the civil rights movement. Her role in American history earned her an iconic status in American culture, and her actions have left an enduring legacy for civil rights movements around the world. .....Read More.....
Each person must live their life as a model for others.
Rosa Louise Parks