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The Constitution’s Week in Review – 18 June 16

June 20, 2016


Article 2 – Impeachment

We traditionally link impeachment to the Presidency, for good reason: impeachment is discussed in the Constitution in Article 2, which covers the Executive Branch, and we have indeed impeached two presidents (and almost a third).  But over the years we’ve impeached far more lesser officials, nearly all judges and justices. 

Calls to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appear to have petered out, but there remains an effort to censure the man for his agency’s abuse of power and his obfuscation in the face of Congress’ attempts to investigate that abuse.
On 15 June, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted on a censure resolution of Koskinen.[1]  The committee passed the resolution (HR 737) out of committee (23-15) to the full House for a vote.
 
1st Amendment – Free Speech and Right of Conscience

Climate change proponents are becoming increasingly apoplectic when they encounter individuals (or companies) who would rather see the science than believe the hysteria.  There are increasing calls for censoring anyone who is not yet convinced that man is going to destroy all life on earth if allowed to exhale willy-nilly (I’m only exaggerating slightly).  20 Democrat Attorneys General have banded together to make thinking differently about climate change and acting on those opinions a crime.  New York, California and the Virgin Islands are taking aggressive action using RICO statutes.

Break-break. In a bit of good news, on 14 June the House passed HR 5053: Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act.  The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit the IRS from requiring a tax-exempt organization to include in annual returns the name, address, or other identifying information of any contributor.  Its fate in the Senate is unknown. 

2nd Amendment – Never Let a Shooting Go To Waste

The reaction to the Orlando shooting has predictably been focused on the guns instead of the shooter.  It appears to be a complete mystery to some on the Left why an Islamist would want to kill homosexuals (see Quran (7:80-84) and Abu Dawud (4462)).   

Barack Obama[2] and then Hillary Clinton[3] called for greater restrictions or renewal of a ban on “assault weapons” (no one in their right mind would use an AR-15 semi-automatic to assault anything if there were a true assault weapon available, but gun-grabbers are not easily deterred by definitions).

Not to be outdone, Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson called gun control a Homeland Security issue.  "We need to do something to minimize the opportunity for terrorists to get a gun in this country."  Fine, although I would reword it slightly to say: "We need to do something to minimize the opportunity for terrorists already in this country to get a gun."  But then who are the terrorists and how, really, are you going to “minimize” their opportunity to obtain a gun (this presumes they don’t already have one or more already)?  Johnson then suggested that people who find themselves on no-fly lists for some reason (like Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes did a couple of years ago) should not be able to purchase a weapon.  Assuming the list contained no errors, which we know is not the case, that would make sense and it appears Republicans are going to accede to the request.  More troubling, however, was Johnson’s inclusion of “various other lists” to screen purchase requests (What lists exactly? The IRS’ list of Tea party groups?).

Meanwhile, California continues to lead the nation in disarming its citizens.  Last week the 9th Circuit ruled[4] that California counties can require people who request concealed carry permits to show a specific reason why one is needed.   The judges didn’t bother to say what reasoning should be persuasive.  Since it is illegal to open-carry a weapon, loaded or unloaded, in most parts of California, the ruling would effectively leave most Californians (but not most criminals) unable to defend themselves outside their homes.  But hey, it’s becoming easier to have food and other goods delivered right to your doorstep, so soon the problem will solve itself.

Since the 9th Circuit’s ruling conflicts with those of other Circuit Courts it is likely the Supreme Court will be called upon to eventually settle the matter.  If Obama appointee Judge Merrick Garland is sitting on the bench by that time, I predict concealed carry will be disavowed as a 2ndAmendment protection.

Finally, we encounter Rolling Stone magazine’s call to repeal the 2nd Amendment.[5]  We knew this was coming.  Once the White House configured their website to read: “The Second Amendment gives citizens a right to keep and bear arms,” I knew it was only a matter of time before we would hear calls for repeal.  So fine, repeal the 2nd Amendment, and then show me where the Constitution grants the federal government the power to “infringe” gun ownership in any way.  It does not.  But alas, I forget; we long ago abandoned a Constitution of limited and enumerated powers in favor of one that, among other things, gives the Congress the power to define “General Welfare” any way they want.  Most Americans are oblivious of this point, however, and seem content to prefer a government that can provide their every need.

Towards the end of the week came news of the shooting of a British Member of Parliament, in supposedly gun-free Britain.

If any good comes from the Orlando tragedy it might take the form of a new awareness by homosexuals of their increasing vulnerability in light of the forced immigration of Muslims who have no intent to assimilate into American culture but who instead insist that Sharia govern both their lives and ours.   It appears homosexuals are getting the message.[6]  Wake up America!

p.s. As they noted on “The Five” after the shooting, if Mateen had tried to take on a biker bar instead of a gay bar, the outcome would certainly have been different.  Have you expressed your view of the 2nd Amendment to your elected officials recently?

4th Amendment – Search and Seizure: Civil Asset Forfeiture

In an amazing “Sicilian salute” to the 4th Amendment, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) has purchased devices[7] that can empty gift cards you happen to be carrying if they suspect you have committed some crime.  Emphasis on the word “suspect.”   Due process of law is becoming a thing of the past at least in Oklahoma.
Note at the bottom of the linked article on this issue that the company providing OHP with the devices gets 7.7% of all money seized.  Hmmm.  One Oklahoma lawmaker promises to prohibit the devices in next year’s session, but we wonder how many Oklahoma citizens will suffer warrantless seizure in the meantime.

Recommendations:  I have a couple of books written or co-written by Brion McClanahan and I share his viewpoint on much of our current political mess.  Brion offers a neat little e-book on the “Forgotten Founders,” available as a free download, at: http://www.brionmcclanahan.com/.  


[1] https://oversight.house.gov/markup/full-committee-business-meeting-37/
[2] http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-uses-orlando-terrorist-attack-to-call-for-gun-control/article/2593672
[3] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/13/hillary-clinton-calls-reinstituting-assault-weapon/
[4] http://www.gopusa.com/?p=11069?omhide=true
[5] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-its-time-to-repeal-the-second-amendment-right-bear-arms-20160613%22
[6] https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/06/16/gun-sales-soar-as-gay-community-arms-itself-in-orlando-aftermath/
[7] http://www.news9.com/story/32168555/ohp-uses-new-device-to-seize-money-used-during-the-commission-of-a-crime
[8] http://standamerica.us/
 

Copyright ©2016

Gary Porter is Executive Director of the Constitution Leadership Initiative, Inc., a project to inform Americans about the Founder’s view of their Constitution.  In addition to being a regular contributor to CT, he writes regularly for the Fairfax Free Citizen of Fairfax Virginia. Mr. Porter also teaches at various locations around Virginia.
Visit Gary Porter's website at http://constitutionleadership.org/

 


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