Heller was decided in 2008. The day after its follow on, McDonald was decided in 2010, he retired. I guess he couldn’t stand the idea that his restrictive idea of RKBA had been trounced not just once, but twice.

Senate confirms Trump’s 43rd circuit court nominee

The Senate confirmed President Trump’s 43rd circuit court nominee Tuesday, far outpacing his predecessor who only saw 19 federal appeals court judges appointed during the same period of time.

The confirmation of Judge Peter Phipps to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also puts the president ahead of President George W. Bush, who saw just 30 appeals court judges appointed in his first two and a half years in office.

The Senate voted 56 to 40 to confirm Judge Phipps, making him the fourth Trump appointed judge to the 3rd Circuit, which hears appeals from Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Only three Democrats, Sen. Doug Jones, Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, joined the GOP supporting Phipps.

Mr. Trump flipped the 3rd U.S. Circuit to a majority of GOP-appointed active judges in March.

Since the president’s inauguration, Mr. Trump has appointed a total of 128 federal judges including two to the Supreme Court, 43 to federal circuit courts and 83 judges to district courts.

FPC: Federal Lifetime Gun Ban is Unconstitutional, Argue Second Amendment Groups in Court Brief that Traces History Back to A.D. 602

PHILADELPHIA, PA (JULY 12, 2019) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) announced the filing of an important amicus brief in the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the criminal appeal of U.S.A. v. Raphael Hunt-Irving, which challenges the federal lifetime ban on firearm possession by even non-violent felons. The brief was authored by FPC attorney and Legal Fellow Joseph Greenlee, a Second Amendment expert and historian. A copy of the court filing can be accessed at www.firearmspolicy.org/legal.

Mr. Hunt-Irving had been entirely deprived of his Second Amendment rights based on a non-violent felony, which the government used in order to prosecute him for violating 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). As in other cases, FPC filed a brief in support of Mr. Hunt-Irving’s Second Amendment claims, using groundbreaking new research by Greenlee to show that the historical basis for bans on felons is the tradition of disarming actually dangerous people convicted of violent felony crimes, not just those the government broadly classifies as ‘felons’ in its statutes.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that in evaluating a Second Amendment challenge, a court must interpret the Amendment’s text in light of the history and tradition of the founding era,” explained Greenlee. “When the right was codified, only dangerous people had ever been deprived of their right to arms. The federal statute at issue in this case is therefore a violation of the Second Amendment’s protections by disarming non-violent people who have every right to keep and bear arms under every appropriate test and analysis.”

Since Mr. Hunt-Irving’s conviction was for a non-violent crime, he is distinct from those who have historically been barred from keeping arms. FPC’s brief traces the historical tradition of disarming dangerous persons from the year 602 through the enactment of 18 U.S.C. 922. The brief shows that there is no tradition of banning peaceable citizens from owning firearms, and that non-violent felons are ‘peaceable’ in the American and legal tradition. Thus, it argues, there is no historical justification for a ban on Mr. Hunt-Irving and he should retain his Second Amendment rights.

FPC and FPF were joined in the brief by Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Owners Against Crime (FOAC), and Madison Society Foundation (MSF).

New York City’s Dishonest Attempt to Squelch a Gun-Rights Lawsuit

The Supreme Court could clarify the scope of the Second Amendment. The city would rather it didn’t.

 Last January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a New York City law that, among other restrictions, prohibited residents from taking their handguns outside the city. The Court was gearing up to rule on what would be the first Second Amendment case decided in a decade. But ever since, the city has been working feverishly to prevent the Court from hearing it. After all, the case would clarify the scope of the Second Amendment, and the gun-control crowd certainly doesn’t want that — at least not from the current Court.

At the core of New York’s shady actions are the legal concepts of “justiciability” and “mootness” — limits on the federal courts’ ability to hear cases. For a case to be justiciable, it must involve a “live” case or controversy. For example, if a state passed a law banning bumper stickers, and you sued, asking the Court to strike down the law as violating the First Amendment, the case would be moot if the state repealed its law before your case was heard.

But there are certain situations where the courts won’t consider a case moot. After all, a government could keep violating people’s civil rights and avoid having its laws overturned by simply repealing the law just to enact it again later.

This is precisely the type of situation New York City has manufactured: It’s backing off now, presumably planning to wait until the Supreme Court’s makeup is more favorable. Almost as soon as the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, the city reversed course on a law it has spent decades defending tooth and nail and requested that the Court delay the case to allow the city time to remove the rule.

Originally, the city planned to have the police make a rule change — not even overturning the law. But the Court denied this request and, suspecting what the city was up to, several lawyers (including me) made sure, in amicus briefs, to address the city’s bad-faith attempt to escape the Court’s grasp.

New York City Asks Supreme Court to Drop Gun Case: Request comes after city loosens restrictions on transporting firearms.

Noo Yawk Citty was probably advised that the court might take the gun rights ball, kick the door down and run away with it. So they’re cutting their losses.

New York City has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to drop its planned review of a gun-rights case, saying legal disputes over transporting handguns no longer exist due to changes in city and state law.

Earlier this year, in what would be its first gun-rights case in about a decade, the high court said it would hear a lawsuit filed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, a gun-rights group affiliated with the National Rifle Association.

The gun-rights group sued New York City and its police department, saying city rules that block some gun-permit holders from transporting handguns to second homes or ranges outside the city are unconstitutional and violate the Second Amendment. . . .

In a letter last week, New York City Assistant Corporation Counsel Richard Dearing told the Supreme Court’s clerk that there is no longer a ‘controversy because the new city regulation gives petitioners everything they have sought in this lawsuit.

Liberalism, Originalism, and the Constitution

No one would mistake the Supreme Court’s liberal justices for adherents to the concept of “originalism,” or the belief that one should consider—first and foremost—the Founders’ intent when ruling on constitutional issues. And yet their opinions in the Maryland “Peace Cross” case suggests that they, at least implicitly, support the idea.

In American Legion v. American Humanists Association, the court upheld Maryland’s Bladensburg Cross against the claim that its presence on public property violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Writing in dissent, no less a figure than Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the Notorious RBG and hero of the American Left—turned to the thought of the Founders in order to find the meaning of the establishment clause.

The original meaning that conscientious judges should seek is the meaning as it was understood by the public at large when the Constitution was ratified, and not the personal political views of selected Founders who, we should be reminded, were not sovereigns. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that no less a liberal giant than Ginsburg is willing to use at least some form of originalism in an effort to find the meaning of the Constitution.

Nor is this an isolated case. In the previous decade, when the court grappled with the meaning of the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), both the conservative and liberal justices turned to the Founding generation to understand the meaning of the “right to keep and bear arms.” Justice Antonin Scalia and the conservative majority found that the weight of the historical evidence supported an individual right to keep and bear arms, while the liberal dissenters disputed this conclusion.

Notably, however, the “living Constitution”—which some liberal commentators treat as the common sense alternative to the much-derided originalist line of inquiry—made no appearance in Heller. Justice John Paul Stevens and the liberal dissenters never suggested the meaning of the Second Amendment should be interpreted in light of today’s values. They mounted no attack on originalism itself as a mode of interpretation. Instead they countered with their own originalist investigation, looking at the same evidence and holding that it supported the view that the Second Amendment aimed merely to protect the state militia.

As well they should. Constitutional originalism provides a nonpolitical standard for judges, one that permits them to think beyond their own policy preferences. Its liberal detractors may claim that it is just a clever disguise for their own political judging (“Originalism is a scam,” according to one recent ThinkProgress headline), but their argument is a weak one.

Anyone who studies the early history of the American Republic can see that originalism is not some novel invention of modern conservatives but a long-established and venerable approach to constitutional interpretation. In his celebrated opinions for the Supreme Court, John Marshall—the “Great Chief Justice”—sought the original meaning of the constitutional provisions on which he was called to rule. Certainly Marshall never suggested—unlike the modern purveyors of the “living Constitution”—that the meaning of constitutional provisions could change over time or might be imbued with new meaning by the jurists of the present generation.

 

 

Family Files Suit Against Gun Manufacturers Over Las Vegas Shooting

Almost two years later, I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the carnage of the Las Vegas shooting. The whole thing was awful on so many levels, and yet there’s literally nothing that could have been done to prevent it.

All this time later, my heart still goes out to the wounded and the families of the slain. The scope of the massacre will, hopefully, always be mindboggling. I say hopefully because for it to not be mindboggling means such slaughter on that scale has come to be a common occurrence.

However, despite my sympathy, I can’t support nonsense like this.

The family of a former Bainbridge Island woman killed by a gunman raining down gunfire from a Las Vegas high-rise hotel suite filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against eight gun makers and three dealers arguing their weapons are designed in a way that could be easily modified to fire like automatic weapons.

The lawsuit, which targets Colt and seven other gun manufacturers, along with gun shops in Nevada and Utah, is the latest case to challenge a federal law shielding gun manufacturers from liability. It charges that gun makers marketed the ability of the AR-15-style weapons to be easily modified to mimic machine guns and fire continuously, violating both a state and federal ban on automatic weapons.

Here’s the problem with this. Nothing any gun manufacturer had advertised was illegal at the time it was advertised. Frankly, I don’t recall seeing any advertising that suggested using bump stocks, anyway.

If we’re going to follow this “logic,” then car manufacturers need to watch out. After all, they market cars capable of quick acceleration and high speeds. Wouldn’t they be responsible for auto accidents that result from activities like racing? Hell, deaths due to speeding in general?

Colt and the other gun manufacturers never said anything that a reasonable person could imply to mean, “Use this to kill dozens and dozens of people, injuring hundreds more.”

I’m sorry, but we have the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act for a reason. It’s to stop nonsense like this from happening.

Relying on the Same Illogic That Trump Used to Ban Bump Stocks, a New Lawsuit Argues That Customizable Rifles Are Illegal

A new lawsuit against the manufacturers of guns used in the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting argues that AR-15-style rifles are illegal because they are compatible with bump stocks, which increase their rate of fire. The plaintiffs, parents of a woman who was murdered in the Las Vegas massacre, argue that bump stocks like the ones used in that attack convert semi-automatic rifles into illegal machine guns—a position that has been endorsed by the Trump administration. Therefore, they argue, AR-15s are themselves illegal, since the federal definition of machine guns includes firearms that “can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”

That claim is important, since the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which generally shields gun makers from liability for crimes committed with their products, includes an exception for “an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product.” And while the complaint (for reasons that will become clear) does not mention the Trump administration’s extralegal administrative ban on bump stocks, the logic of that policy reinforces the plaintiffs’ central argument.

Since 1986 federal law has banned the production and sale of new machine guns, including weapons that can be readily converted into machine guns and parts used for that purpose, for civilian use. During the Obama administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) concluded on several occasions that bump stocks, which facilitate a firing technique in which the rifle moves back and forth, repeatedly resetting the trigger and pushing it against the shooter’s stationary finger, do not turn rifles into machine guns.

The reason is clear. A rifle equipped with a bump stock does not automatically fire more than one shot for each function of the trigger. It fires one round each time the trigger is activated, and the process is not automatic, since the shooter has to maintain forward pressure on the weapon and keep his finger in position.

Notwithstanding that reality, Donald Trump, in response to the Las Vegas massacre, decided he could ban bump stocks by administrative fiat—the approach favored by the National Rifle Association. He instructed the Justice Department, which includes the ATF, to come up with a rationale, which required defining “function of the trigger” as “pull of the trigger,” defining a trigger pull so as to exclude what happens during bump firing, and treating the shooter as part of the rifle mechanism.

 

Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher acquitted of murder in ISIS fighter case

Having a picture made of you standing next to a dead terrorist is a UCMJ crime now? Sheee.

A decorated Navy SEAL was found not guilty of murder and attempted murder Tuesday by a military jury in San Diego.

Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, 40, was accused of fatally stabbing a young wounded ISIS fighter, posing for a picture with the corpse and shooting two civilians from a sniper’s perch in Iraq in 2017.

Gallagher was found guilty on the charge involving the photo with the corpse.

After the verdict was read, Gallagher, his wife and the whole defense team stood up and began hugging. Gallagher and his wife Andrea, who was crying, touched foreheads and held each other’s faces.

Gallagher’s sentencing for wrongful posing for photos with a human casualty is scheduled for later on Tuesday, but his attorneys expect Gallagher will be freed afterwards.

“We have a sentencing to do, but the maximum sentence of what they’re about to sentence him on is much less than the time that they’ve already had him in the brig,” defense attorney Tim Parlatore said after Tuesday’s verdict. “So he is going home.”

The jury of five Marines and two sailors — one of whom is a SEAL — had to decide if the boy was stabbed to death, or died from wounds sustained during an airstrike with Gallagher’s being falsely accused by disgruntled subordinates. The jury began deliberations Monday in the court-martial at Naval Base San Diego.

Judge rejects challenge to magazine ban

BENNINGTON, Vt. — A Vermont judge has denied a bid by Max Misch, a self-professed white nationalist online troll, to throw out charges that he illegally possessed high-capacity magazine.

Judge William Cohen issued the ruling Friday. The decision followed a May hearing in Bennington County Superior Court where Misch’s attorney challenged the constitutionality of the magazine ban that went into effect in Vermont on Oct. 1, 2018.

Misch is believed to be the first person charged under a provision of a gun control law, Act 94, that passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Phi Scott in April 2018.

Cohen’s seven-page decision means Misch still faces two misdemeanor counts of possessing magazines over the size limits set in the new law.

“Over 240 years ago, the people of Vermont inscribed on their basic law their right to bear arms and their commensurate right to circumscribe that right through reasonable legislation,” the judge wrote.

Ford Employee Fired For Self-Defense Shooting Rehired, Gets Back Pay

CHICAGO (CBS) — He was called a “deranged gunman” and charged with attempted murder for a South Side shooting, but after three long years, he’s cleared his name and won his job back.

In June 2016, then 50-year-old Ford employee Billy Cowart was charged for shooting off his gun in the United Auto Workers 551 parking lot. He struck two fellow union members — both in the leg.

“They made it seem like I was this villain, I’m shooting up the parking lot willy nilly. It didn’t happen like that,” Cowart said.

He was fired from Ford, where he had worked for nearly two decades. He spent a year and a half on house arrest, depleted his savings, and says his reputation was destroyed.

And the legal process was slow, in part because his case was transferred from his original Cook County Judge Joseph Claps after Claps was caught on camera dropping a handgun on the floor in the courthouse last fall.

The second judge reviewed the surveillance video from the night of the shooting and said the victim, who was intoxicated and seen sucker punching Cowart in the face, was clearly the aggressor.

The judge ruled that Cowart was legally defending himself.

“Now, here we are today, 12 counts all dismissed,” said Cowart’s attorney, Irena Stephanovski.

Cowart had been exonerated but was still out of a job.

“Ford didn’t want to have anything to do with me,” he said.

So, he filed a grievance in January and finally won this week. An arbitrator ruled that Ford fired him without just cause and he should be reinstated with no loss of seniority and a year of back pay.

Cowart says he won’t soon forgive and forget about his ordeal. But he fought to clear his name for one reason:

“For my family, for my son. I’ve got a 19-year-old son I don’t want him to ever think, ‘well, my father did something wrong,’” Cowart said.

A Ford spokesperson said they had no comment about the case, saying that as a policy they do not make statements on individual circumstances of current or former employees.

“POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY, NOT STATUTORY AMBIGUITY”

The Firearms Policy Coalition and Cato Institute have filed an amicus brief in Gun Owners of America v. Barr, the GOA’s bump-fire stock case in the 6th Circuit.

Read it. It’s only 17 pages in full, and the brief proper is just 11 pages (the remainder being the standard legal paperwork administrivia).

Yes, read it; but I’m going to distill the basic message for you anyway.

The ATF’s Interpretative Reversal Is Based on Political Expediency, Not Statutory Ambiguity
[…]
What prompted this reversal? The proposed rulemaking reveals that the impetus for this change in position was not an organic review of agency policy. Instead, the change was triggered by public outrage following the October 2017 mass killing in Las Vegas, which likely involved a bump-stock-type device:
[…]
The ATF admits that the rulemaking was commenced “in response” to outside political pressure.
[…]
On February 28, 2018, the president hosted a meeting with members of Congress to discuss school and community safety. […] President Trump interjected that there was no need for legislation because he would deal with bump stocks through executive action:

And I’m going to write that out. Because we can do that with an executive order. I’m going to write the bump stock; essentially, write it out. So you won’t have to worry about bump stock.”
[…]
Reportedly, Justice Department officials told Senate Judiciary Committee staff that the government “would not be able to take [bump stocks] off shelves without new legislation from Congress.”

Likewise, the ATF director told police chiefs that his agency “did not currently have
the regulatory power to control sales of bump stocks.”

While the Department stated that “no final determination had been made,” President Trump boasted that the “legal papers” to prohibit bump stocks were almost completed. […] [B]efore the rulemaking was announced, President Trump tweeted: “Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA. As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period. We will BAN all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.”

Right there, they document that the decision had been made, regardless of the actual rulemaking process or facts, and that it deliberately bypassed legislation. We knew that, of course, but they collated and documented it in incriminating detail.

This is now a test of the court itself, not just ATF or DOJ. Taking the longer view, because I anticipate the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals blowing this off, it is a test of the Supreme Court.

If the ban is upheld, despite flawed regulatory practices (which didn’t really matter, as the process was a Potemkin show to pretend they weren’t actually banning by political fiat), and the grossly improper bypassing of Congress, there is no law.

By and large, honest gun owners try to live by the Constitution and the rule of law. We’ve put up with much over the decades because it was framed as “law,” and we thought we, too, had the courts and law to make our case for freedom. The politicians, bureaucrats, and especially the courts must consider the ramifications of making that impossible.

Supreme Court: Bad Day for Everyone, Especially Roberts

Just me, but keeping the drawing of district boundaries left to the state legislatures is ever so much more so worse for the demoncraps than not being able to ask for citizenship on a census form.

 

Today the Supreme Court issued two major opinions with profound implications for American politics. It blocked, for now, adding a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census in Department of Commerce vs. New York. In Rucho v. Common Cause, the Court permanently killed off allowing federal courts to decide that a legislative map gave one side too much of a partisan advantage.

It was a bad day for the right, a very bad day for the left, and an extremely bad day for Chief Justice John Roberts.

First, the very bad day for the left. For years, the institutional left has been trying to strip state legislatures of power and give it to federal courts. They wanted federal judges to have the power to say that a given legislative map helped one political party too much. For example, if a state voted 52 percent to 48 percent, then state and congressional legislative lines should apportion power in roughly the same percentages. If they didn’t, federal courts should get to decide the legislative lines.

Giving federal courts the power to rule on partisan imbalances in legislative lines has been a top priority of Democrats and leftist process hounds for years. Why? Because the vast majority of America, when considered state by state, leans right and elects Republicans to majorities in state legislatures. They wanted federal judges in those states to blunt the power of state legislatures.

Today the Supreme Court drove a final stake through the heart of partisan gerrymandering cases. They are done, dead, RIP. Consider this their obituary.

The Court ruled that these are political questions, that the Constitution vests power in state legislatures to draw their own lines and to set the rules of line drawing. Power should reside with the people, not federal courts with life tenure.

That makes it a very, very bad day for funders who had poured millions of dollars into the left’s efforts to have federal courts erode decisions made by Republican state legislatures.

But in another decision, it was a bad day for the right and those who want to collect data on how many aliens are in the United States. The Court blocked, for now, the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote along with the four liberal justices. Writing for the Court, Roberts agreed that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had the power and authority to add the question, but something just didn’t smell right.

Over the last few weeks, the ACLU has bombarded the Court with letters, missives, complaints, and self-proclaimed bombshells containing conspiracy theories on the “real” origins of the Census question. It’s not as bad as O.J.’s quest for the real killer, but it’s close.

Naturally the compliant leftist media at CNN and the Washington Post has had an endless parade of stories. See, they know who still takes the mainstream media seriously, and today they won five votes to block the question.

It’s a shame that five votes validated these extracurricular mob tactics after the briefing was complete. It provides a roadmap for future last-minute efforts to influence the Supreme Court. One suspects Chief Justice Janice Rogers Brown or Chief Justice Edith Jones would not have sided with the left to block the Census question. Whether or not the citizenship question can still be added to the Census before the printer needs the final proofs remains to be seen.

Justice Gorsuch Joins Liberals To Deal Victory For Criminal Defendants

Does this mean there can’t be a difference in punishment between e.g. “Robbery” and “Armed Robbery”?
Okay. Make it one size fits all and keep the stiffer sentencing.
Here’s what’s interesting though. I think this is another indication that Gorsuch is a very much pro individual civil rights kind of Justice. And that could bode well for how he views liberalized RKBA. It is an individual civil right you know.

Justice Neil Gorsuch joined with the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc to deal victory for criminal defendants Monday, striking down a federal law that punishes gun crimes as unconstitutionally vague.

The law at issue authorizes heightened penalties for individuals who use firearms to a commit a “crime of violence.” In dissent, Justice Brett Kavanaugh warned the decision would undermine public safety.

“Only the people’s elected representatives in Congress have the power to write new federal criminal laws,” Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “And when Congress exercises that power, it has to write statutes that give ordinary people fair warning about what the law demands of them.”

“Vague laws transgress both of those constitutional requirements,” Gorsuch added. “They hand off the legislature’s responsibility for defining criminal behavior to unelected prosecutors and judges, and they leave people with no sure way to know what consequences will attach to their conduct.”

New York City limits on transporting guns eased in effort to get Supreme Court challenge dismissed

They’re doing this in the hope to cut their losses. SCOTUS just might -we hope- use the case to make a broader ruling on RKBA

WASHINGTON – New York City announced Friday it has amended rules restricting where licensed guns can be taken outside the home, a move intended to prompt the Supreme Court to dismiss a challenge from gun rights groups.

The change, posted on a city website without fanfare, allows gun owners to take their firearms to a home, business or shooting range outside city limits. Until now, the city had limited those with possession licenses to seven shooting ranges inside city limits.

G​​​​​​un owners who sought to take their firearms to second homes or shooting ranges outside the city challenged the rules in federal court, but the rules were upheld last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Supreme Court agreed in January to hear the case next fall.

Gun control groups had urged the city to change its rules in hopes a quick surrender would prompt the justices to drop the case. The city’s police department held a public hearing last month on the proposed changes and announced a final rule Friday that will take effect in 30 days.

We are slowly seeing ‘ ignorance of the law is no excuse’ more and more narrowly defined.

Today’s ruling in Rehaif v. United States.

Defendant was a person who overstayed a visa and thus became an illegal alien, and a prohibited person under the GCA. He visited a gun range and shot at it.
The GCA provides for the punishment of anyone who “knowingly” possesses a gun while he is prohibited person.
Question: does that mean the person must 1. know that he possess a gun and know that he is a prohibited person, or just that he knows he possessed a gun whether or not he knew he was prohibited?

The Supreme Court, 7-2, says he must know both things. Good language about how courts should assume that legislatures wanted intent to be something close to he knew he was breaking the law, and rejecting the theory that “regulatory” offenses don’t require intent (which the Court correctly notes must be limited to regulatory offenses that carry minor punishments. The government doesn’t have to show a driver knew he was breaking the speed limit, but here the offense carries ten years in prison).

Navy won’t drop murder charges against SEAL Edward Gallagher despite bombshell testimony

Wierd.

Navy prosecutors are still pursuing murder charges against Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher even after bombshell testimony Thursday by a Navy colleague who confessed that he was the one to kill the teenage Islamic State fighter.

Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, a SEAL Team Seven medic, testifying for the prosecution under an immunity agreement, told the court that he held his “thumb over his TT tube until he quit breathing,” admitting that he asphyxiated the captive, despite saying that he saw Gallagher stab the boy in his neck.

When cross-examined by the defense, Scott said he killed the fighter because he knew “he was going to die anyways.”

“I wanted to save him from what was going to happen to him next,” Scott said, referring to alleged torture by Iraqi captors.

Gallagher served nine months in prison awaiting trial in the fatal stabbing of the 15-year old ISIS fighter in Iraq in 2017. He has also been accused of shooting two civilians in the same year, and opening fire on crowds, all claims he has vociferously denied.

Gallagher’s attorney Tim Parlatore, said at a news conference he is “expecting a not-guilty verdict” after Scott’s testimony.

Prosecutors are now treating Scott as a hostile witness, saying that he did not disclose that he was the one to asphyxiate the ISIS fighter in his pre-trial interviews and is only doing so now because he has an immunity deal and doesn’t want to see his colleague go to prison.

Court allows a class-action lawsuit against VA for the first time

A federal court for the first time will allow a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs to move ahead, a move that legal experts said opens the doors for a host of similar cases against the bureaucracy.

The decision, which could affect thousands of veterans, came late last week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Last August, the same court for the first time ruled that class-action lawsuits would be allowed against VA in “appropriate cases,” but no such claims met court standards until now.

This case — Godsey v. Wilkie — sought relief for veterans facing lengthy waits for the department to certify their disability benefits appeals claims. The case was originally filed in 2017 on behalf of four veterans facing lengthy delays, but lawyers argued it should be broadened to include an entire class of individuals waiting for their benefits.

Supreme Court Upholds A War Memorial Cross On Public Land In Maryland.

The Supreme Court turned back a constitutional challenge to a 40-foot World War I memorial cross in Maryland Thursday, finding that the monument does not violate the First Amendment.

Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion for the Court, with a total of seven justices finding that the memorial — known colloquially as the Peace Cross — should be upheld. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were the two dissenters.

“After the First World War, the picture of row after row of plain white crosses marking the overseas graves of soldiers who had lost their lives in that horrible conflict was emblazoned on the minds of Americans at home, and the adoption of the cross as the Bladensburg memorial must be viewed in that historical context,” Alito wrote.

“It has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of ‘a hostility toward religion,’” he added.

Former Democratic aide headed to prison for ‘doxing’ five Republican senators

standard operational demoncrap corruption

A former aide to two Democratic members of Congress will receive a sentence of four years in prison for data theft after pleading guilty to five felony charges linked to ‘doxing’ — or releasing personal information such as home addresses — five Republican senators.

Jackson Cosko was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Thomas Hogan in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Cosko was arrested in October 2018 for breaking into the office of his former employer, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and stealing private data before using it to ‘dox’ several Republican senators by posting their personal contact information on Wikipedia.

Even after his arrest, Cosko, a supporter of 2020 presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, continued to mine data through keystroke-logging devices he had installed on several computers in the Senate offices. The devices were only discovered after Cosko informed authorities of their existence.

LEGAL UPDATE: Cato Institute, FPC Urge Appeals Court to Strike Down Trump Bump-Stock Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 18, 2019) — Today, the Cato Institute and Firearms Policy Coalition announced their filing of an important amicus brief in the appeal of Aposhian v. Barr, a case challenging the federal bump-stock ban, at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief may be viewed at www.firearmspolicy.org/legal and https://www.cato.org/blog/again-pointing-out-executive-power-abuses-new-bump-stock-ban.

Cato and FPC argue in the brief that President Trump’s executive order banning bump stocks was arbitrary, capricious, and unconstitutional. As the court filing explains in detail, the Trump Administration disregarded the statutory definition of ‘machinegun’, a term used in both the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), in order to comply with a presidential mandate to re-classify legal “bump-stock-type devices” as illegal automatic weapons. Further, the brief argued the ATF’s reversal on what constitutes an automatic weapon was based on political expediency and not statutory ambiguity.

What’s more, they argued, the bump-stock ban expands the ATF’s authority to bring more firearms into the NFA’s purview, placing an un-knowable number of gun owners in criminal peril.

“In effect, there is now a Damoclean sword over law-abiding Americans,” explained Cato and FPC in the brief. “What was legal yesterday can be illegal tomorrow.” In other words, this case extends far beyond just bump stocks, and has the potential to affect the future legality of just about anything protected by the Second Amendment.

“Despite having countless opportunities to do so in multiple cases, the government has failed to provide a competent defense of their rule making,” explained Cato’s Matthew Larosiere. “The idea of an unelected bureaucrat deciding what can and cannot land you in federal prison ought to give anyone pause, regardless of how you feel about bump stocks. We hope the Tenth Circuit calls the government on its casual disregard for the Constitution and reigns in this alarming expansion of the administrative state.”

“The ATF had no authority to arbitrarily re-interpret the machinegun statute to achieve the President’s desired policy outcome,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “Worse, the government’s position that it is ‘ending its exercise of discretion’ means that they believe they can not only reclassify guns and accessories, but they can put people in prison whenever they do so. That is as egregiously wrong as it is dangerous. FPC has been and remains staunchly committed to fighting the unconstitutional expansion of gun control laws by fiat.”

Cato participated in the rulemaking process by filing a comment in opposition at the NPRM stage, and has filed briefs on the issue at the D.C. Circuit and now in the 10th Circuit. FPC participated in all phases of the bump-stock regulatory process, including at the ANPRM phase, submitting a comment in opposition, and at the NPRM phase, commissioning significant specialized research and filing a comment in opposition with 35 exhibits, including one video of a bump-stock device in use. FPC was a party to the first lawsuit, Guedes, et al. v. BATFE, et al., and is the sole plaintiff in the related case Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc. v. Barr, et al. More information on those cases can be found at www.bumpstockcase.com.

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The Cato Institute (www.cato.org) is a public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.

Thomas Fires ‘Opening Salvo’ For SCOTUS To Overturn Own Precedents

If the proggies & left are upset at Justice Thomas, so much the better.
I may up my stock holdings in headache and digestive upset remedy manufacturers.
And to remember, the legacy of a President is more seen in his appointments to the bench than almost anywhere else.
How the court would gain this preeminence may not have been the aim of the founders, but it’s what we’ve got and what all sides of the political equation consider ‘this is how things are done‘, even if some don’t like it (and I don’t particularly, but ….).
So, our side should never keep from working as diligently as possible to have judges and justices of the caliber of Justice Thomas be appointed.

The Declaration of Independence holds some truths to be self evident. The founders stated that we are endowed by our creator with rights, and among them is the right to Life and that governments are formed to protect those rights.

The Declaration was the ‘Why we’re doing this’.
The Constitution is the ‘How we’re going to accomplish it’

I’m not the first, nor the only one, who makes the case for that protection to include those humans not yet born.

In a sneaky Monday concurrence, Justice Clarence Thomas laid the groundwork for the Supreme Court to overturn its own longstanding precedents in what may mark the beginning of efforts to destroy numerous landmark court decisions from the past decades.

The concurring opinion came in Gamble v. United States, a case regarding double jeopardy that Thomas used as a springboard to argue that the Supreme Court should review — and overturn — settled law where it is found to be “demonstrably erroneous.”

Constitutional law scholars told TPM that Thomas appeared to use the concurrence to signal to his fellow justices — and the wider public — that the new conservative majority is interested in overturning years of settled law.

Supreme Court refuses to consider whether Second Amendment protects gun silencers

Cowardice again raises its head at the highest levels of jurisprudence.
The background to this case is that in 2013, Kansas passed a bill, the “Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act” that made any firearm entirely made and possessed in Kansas exempt from Federal laws, regulations and the enforcement of same, to whit:
Sec. 4. (a) A personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that
is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in Kansas and that
remains within the borders of Kansas is not subject to any federal law,
treaty, federal regulation, or federal executive action, including any federal
firearm or ammunition registration program, under the authority of
congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature
that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce. This section
applies to a firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or
manufactured in the state of Kansas.

Sec. 7. It is unlawful for any official, agent or employee of the government of the United States, or employee of a corporation providing services to the government of the United States to enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States upon a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately and owned in the state of Kansas and that remains within the borders of Kansas. Violation of this section is a severity level 10 nonperson felony.

The two men, relying on this law, one making the suppressor and the other buying it from him in 2014, were charged with violating the 1934 National Firearms Act as amended and annexed by the 1968 Gun Control Act.
When this happened, Kansas basically said “What law?”

Except for Justice Thomas, the justices of the Supreme Court have been extremely careful to not deal with any of the fallout of the Heller & McDonald decisions of a decade ago. They are cowardly letting the lower courts gut them at their leisure.

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Monday to decide if the Second Amendment protects gun silencers such as the one used in last month’s Virginia Beach shooting that killed 12 people.

Without comment or dissent, the justices turned away petitions from the operator of a Kansas army-surplus store and one of his customers who purchased an unregistered silencer in violation of federal law.

Two lower federal courts previously ruled that gun silencers fall outside the scope of the  Second Amendment because they are accessories not in common use by law-abiding citizens.

The Trump administration had urged the Supreme Court not to hear the challenge. Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear “arms,” and that restrictions on silencers don’t burden the ability to use a gun for self-defense.

In addition, Francisco noted that the high court previously acknowledged that the Second Amendment permits banning “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

“Many courts have upheld restrictions on silencers on the alternative ground that silencers are dangerous and unusual,” he wrote.

Lawyers for Jeremy Kettler, who purchased a silencer from store owners Shane Cox, argued in court papers that silencers “are almost never used in crime” and that states “have increasingly recognized that suppressors are not dangerous.” They said Kettler, a disabled veteran, wanted to protect his hearing.