At the White House, Biden and Kamala Harris got into a tough competition to out-pander and out-mob each other over the wrongful jury verdict in the overdose death of George Floyd, a career criminal who had robbed a pregnant woman at gunpoint.
Senator Kamala Harris set the tone by declaring that, “We are all a part of George Floyd’s legacy, and our job now is to honor it and to honor him.”
Really. It’s now the job of all Americans to be part of the legacy of a vicious thug and to honor his legacy.
How can we best honor George Floyd’s legacy?
Maybe we should have a George Floyd Day and use it as a national purge in which the police leave the streets and everyone gets the right to rob a pregnant woman at gunpoint.
It’s that time of the year again: U.S. House Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is ramping up her efforts to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state in the Union.
Her bill, which would create the state of New Columbia from the existing District of Columbia, is the latest in a long line of legislative proposals with the ultimate goal to secure full voting representation for the District in Congress.
Appealing to patriotic sentiment, advocates of making D.C. into a state have clothed their campaign in the rhetoric of the American Revolution.
They cry “Taxation Without Representation,” a slogan plastered on D.C. license plates (the DMV “encourages” all D.C. residents “to support D.C.’s quest for full representation in the U.S. Congress”) and made into a hashtag campaign on Twitter.
Today, on the 225th anniversary of the founding of Washington, D.C., it is a good time to reflect on why making D.C. the 51st state is not only unconstitutional but overlooks the fact that D.C. residents are already well-represented.
Legislative proposals to make D.C. a state violate the Constitution in at least two ways.
Article I, Section 8 grants Congress the right to “exercise exclusive Legislation” over the “District” that is “the Seat of the Government of the United States.”
Congress cannot simply change the “Seat of the Government” into a state or delegate its power over the District to the government of a new state.
It took a constitutional amendment to give D.C. residents the ability to vote for president because they are not a state and Congress could not make them a state.
Ratified in 1961, the 23rd Amendment recognizes Congress’s authority to oversee the manner in which the District appoints electors to the Electoral College.
Congress cannot single-handedly eliminate the power this amendment grants only to Congress.
Article I would need to be amended, and the 23rd Amendment would need to be repealed for legislative efforts to be constitutional.
In Adams v. Clinton (2000), the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that legislative efforts to allow for voting representation in Congress were unconstitutional.
The three judge panel made it clear that the Constitution would need to be amended in order for such changes to take place within the law.
Congress itself recognized this in 1977 with a constitutional amendment to grant D.C. representation—it failed to gain the approval of the states.
Constitutional questions aside, proponents pushing for D.C. statehood overlook the fact that D.C. residents are already well-represented.
The Founders reasoned that the whole Congress would represent the interests of the residents of the District of Columbia.
According to Justice Joseph Story, those who lived in the District “would receive with thankfulness such a blessing, since their own importance would be thereby increased, their interests subserved, and their rights be under the immediate protection of the representatives of the whole.”
This remains true today, especially in light of the fact that federal spending often benefits D.C. residents more than those living in the states, whose residents usually receive far less in federal funding per capita than D.C. residents.
In fact, seven of the 10 wealthiest counties in America surround Washington, D.C.
The interests of the residents of the District are already highly promoted, even perhaps at the expense of the rest of the country.
The council is made up of 13 members and a mayor—each of which is an elected position.
Though the campaign to make the District of Columbia a state and grant it full congressional voting will lumber on, supporters should come to terms with the constitutional and practical impediments outlined above.
If proponents of D.C. statehood want to live in a state and not a district, they have someoptions that are very close by.
Raising the price of gasoline is part of Democrats’ plan to make driving unaffordable for most Americans, Breitbart News columnist Charles Hurt said Monday .
“They make no secret about the fact that they … want gas at six dollars a gallon,” Hurt remarked. “They want it at eight dollars a gallon. This is not a secret to them. Their intent is to raise the price of gas so that it is so expensive that nobody can drive anywhere. … They want gas to be at $20 a gallon. They want it to be like Europe because they want no one to be able to afford to drive anywhere. That’s their goal.”
Breitbart News reported:
The early Biden era inflation is weighing particularly on the bottom end of the income scale. Gasoline prices, for example, rose 8.8 percent in March. The lower third of household incomes spend more on transportation than the upper two thirds, according to long-running data from Pew Charitable Trusts. In 2019, transportation costs—of which the price of gasoline is a major component—accounted for 17 percent of all household expenditures, according to Statista, the second biggest category after housing.
According to the latest data from U.S. Energy Information Association, national gas prices currently average $2.85 per gallon, up 99 cents from one year ago, an increase of 34.7 percent.
The fate of America’s constitutional republic hangs in the balance as the leftwing progressive base of the Democratic Party tries to parlay Democrat control of the White House and Congress to obliterate the independence of the Supreme Court.
President Joe Biden has kicked things off by naming a 36-member commission to examine possible changes to the size and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as well as proposals to set term limits for Supreme Court justices. The commission has 180 days to report back on its study of the issues, although it has not been given a mandate to make any formal recommendations.
While advertised as being bipartisan, the commission’s co-chairs, Bob Bauer and Cristina Rodriguez, both worked for the Obama administration. Even so, establishing a commission to analyze a hot button issue is often regarded as a convenient way to bury the issue. Not this time, however. The left won’t allow Biden or the Democrat-controlled Congress off the hook so easily. Even on the rare occasions when Biden’s old centrist instincts seem about to kick in, he quickly backtracks in the face of blowback from his left flank. What then-Senator Biden called a “bonehead” idea in 1983 and an “institutional power grab” in 2005 is now very much in play during Biden’s presidency.
The left sees immediate radical change to the structure and composition of the Supreme Court as necessary to cement its permanent control over the third branch of the federal government. That can only happen, however, after first nuking the Senate filibuster to pass their misnamed “For the People Act.” Also referred to simply as S.1, this bill would federalize slipshod election procedures across the country, eliminating state protections against potential election fraud, voter intimidation, illegal votes, and inaccurate vote counts. Passage of the bill will help Democrats guarantee their enduring control of Congress and the White House. With the filibuster already cast aside, Democrats will then be able to push through major changes to the Supreme Court this term with their slender majority. The result will be the left’s tight grip on the Supreme Court, while ensuring that the other two elected branches remain firmly in their pockets in future elections.
On April 15th, four Democrats in Congress decided not to even wait for Biden’s commission to complete its work. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Mondaire Jones, and Senator Edward J. Markey introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021 to expand the Supreme Court by adding four seats, creating a 13-justice Supreme Court. This would represent the first change in the size of the Supreme Court since 1869.
“Some people will accuse us of packing the court. We’re not packing the court, we’re unpacking it,” Nadler sneered. Markey claimed that the “legislation will restore the Court’s balance and public standing and begin to repair the damage done to our judiciary and democracy, and we should abolish the filibuster to ensure we can pass it.”
Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not willing to oblige these demagogues just yet. Pelosi said that she “has no plans” to bring their bill to the House floor at this time. She wants to wait for Biden’s commission to finish its work before taking any further steps. But Pelosi has not ruled out supporting such a change down the road. “It’s not out of the question,” Pelosi said. “It has been done before.”
Yes, Congress has the constitutional authority to alter the size of the Supreme Court. However, it has chosen not to do so during a span of 152 years for good reason. When FDR tried to push forward his court packing scheme in 1937, the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee issued a report at the time declaring that “we would rather have an independent Court, a fearless Court…than a Court that, out of fear or sense of obligation to the appointing power, or factional passion, approves any measure we may enact.” FDR’s plan was shot down by his own party.
Democrats in Congress today no longer show such respect for the independence of a co-equal branch of the federal government. They are willing to increase the size of the Supreme Court solely for the purpose of turning it into a rubber stamp for their radical agenda. So long as Democrats succeed with their strategy to lock in continuing Democrat control of Congress and the White House by doing away with state law safeguards against election shenanigans, they have nothing to worry about. There will be no future Republican Congress and president elected who will be able to add more conservative justices.
However, there have been a few liberals with a conscience who have spoken out in recent times against court packing, as Joe Biden did when he was his own man in the Senate.
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – the liberals’ heroine replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett – told NPR in July 2019 that “Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time. I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court.” Justice Ginsburg worried that court packing “would make the court look partisan,” adding that “it would be that — one side saying, ‘When we’re in power, we’re going to enlarge the number of judges, so we would have more people who would vote the way we want them to.’ “
At Harvard Law School’s annual Scalia lecture on April 6th, Justice Stephen G. Breyer warned about how court packing would “reflect and affect the rule of law itself.” Justice Breyer added, “If the public sees judges as ‘politicians in robes,’ its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the Court’s power, including its power to act as a ‘check’ on the other branches.”
Progressives dismiss such arguments, of course, and indeed are pressing for Justice Breyer to retire so that a much younger and more left leaning justice can replace him. However, a few moderate Democrats in the House may be wary of supporting a bill to pack the Supreme Court, fearing the issue would be hung around their necks in Republican ads during the next election cycle. Democrat Senator Joe Manchin has declared his opposition to court packing legislation, which means it would be dead in the Senate even if the filibuster were eliminated or severely weakened.
Court packing also does not have widespread public support. In a New York Times/Siena College poll conducted last October during the height of the presidential campaign, a question was asked: ”If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court and Joe Biden is elected president, do you think that Democrats should or should not increase the size of the Supreme Court to include more than nine justices?” 58 percent said no. 31 percent said yes. 11 percent said they didn’t know or refused to answer.
Thus, Democrats may decide to rally around a seemingly less drastic alternative to immediately expanding the Supreme Court to 13 members – term limits for future Supreme Court justices. There is more public support for term limits than for court packing. But the proponents of this idea are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Term limits for Supreme Court justices are arguably unconstitutional since Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution states that “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour…” Except in the case of impeachment or early retirement, this provision has been interpreted to mean a lifetime term.
The term limit advocates try to get around the constitutional issue by arguing that their reform would only apply to future justices. Moreover, they propose that, after a future justice’s Supreme Court term has expired, the justice would be free to remain in the judiciary as a senior appellate judge. They believe this demotion would satisfy the Constitution’s good behavior term language since the justices would still be judges. However, the Constitution’s text appears to tie the “good behavior” term for Supreme Court justices to their specific “Office” of Supreme Court justice, not to any post in the judicial branch. In her interview with NPR, Justice Ginsburg said that the term limits idea was unrealistic because of this constitutional provision and because, as she pointed out, “Our Constitution is powerfully hard to amend.”
In any case, on a policy level, Democrats proposing term limits for future Supreme Court justices are selling snake oil.
Take, for example, legislation proposed by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.) that would apply only to future justices and would limit their service on the Supreme Court to 18 years. New justices would be appointed in the first and third years of each presidential term. Since, under this plan, none of the current justices would be forced off the Supreme Court, there will be a period during which more than nine justices will be serving at the same time. It is just a slower way of achieving the same objective as court packing.
If something like the Khanna-Beyer bill is passed in 2021, for example, President Biden would get to appoint one justice this year. This would expand the Court to ten until one of the current justices retires or dies. By a simple majority in the Senate (with Vice President Harris casting a tie-breaking vote), a progressive will be added to the Supreme Court. Biden’s next appointment would occur in 2023, even if there is then no vacancy on the bench. That could mean eleven justices until one of the current justices retires or dies. Assuming the Senate remains in Democrat hands, with the help of vote cheating enabled by the falsely entitled “For the People Act,” another progressive will be added to the Supreme Court. A Democrat White House and Senate in 2025 will ensure yet another progressive added to the Supreme Court, tilting the Supreme Court in a leftward direction. And so on. If a vacancy occurs during one of the off years, it would be filled temporarily by a lower court judge, until the following year when the president nominates, and the Senate confirms, the next term-limited justice.
The combined effect of the Democrats’ federalizing of elections to slant the outcomes in their direction and the passage of court packing or term limit legislation for the Supreme Court will be to institute permanent one party rule in Washington D.C. for all three branches of government. Separation of powers and checks and balances will be dead.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” Ronald Reagan once said. We are at that crossroads right now. We must fight the leftwing progressives’ attempt to turn this country into their tyrannical domain lest, as Reagan warned, we “spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”
In a bold move, United Airlines declared that “diversity is at the forefront” of its pilot program and pledged that 50% of their new 5,000 pilots will either be women or people of color. You have to admire the insanity of that plan because it is so incredibly stupid that you know a liberal was involved in its conception. I can just imagine the meeting at United that birthed the concept of making flight deck diversity Job #1. Scotty woke up one morning and wanted to make some changes.
Scotty: “Does anyone have an idea of how to destroy United? I mean really tarnish our image? Come on guys and gals, lets think out of the box.” Voice #1 from the back of the room: “Why don’t we drag a 69-year-old man off of a flight after we break his nose, knock out some of his teeth and give him a concussion?” Scotty, throws Voice #1 a small pack of peanuts. “I like the cut of your jib but that was done in 2017. Remember? We overbooked the flight and needed to accommodate 4 United crew members flying to another city? We had to drag that dude down the aisle and his belly was handing out!” Voice #2 from the back of the room: “Hey lets kill some of their beloved pets!” Scotty: “Done and doner. Remember when we forced that passenger to stuff her puppy Kokito in an overhead bin and the dog suffocated? That dog had a stupid name anyway!” Scotty: “Come on folks, put your backs into it. Give me something. Voice #3 from the back of the room: “Hey, can we force a female to hold her two-year-old on her lap for 4 hours because we sold the kids seat to a standby passenger?” Scotty: “You’re killing me here folks. We already did that. Come up with something new that will really get peoples attention.” Voice #4 from the back of the room: “We could require that 50% of the next 5,000 pilots we hire must be either women or people of color.” Scotty was now excited. He was really tired of putting safety first and now, finally, diversity could play a major role in determining what pilots were qualified to set foot on the flight deck. Woke Scotty finally realized that the pilots appearance was much more important than his/her flight skills. Hallelujah!
As a passenger I think that United made a great decision. Just think of the possibilities. Denzel Washington could be the next United pilot welcoming you on the plane. It doesn’t matter if he lacks the skill set to fly a plane. What matters is the fact that he played an amazing but flawed airline pilot in a movie and really looked cool in his uniform. Okay, in the movie Denzel had a drinking problem, but so what. You know it would be trey cool to meet the dude and maybe share a pitcher of beer with him before the flight. Mindy Kaling would also be a great pilot. She is female, funny and United gets to check off two boxes on their wish list: woman and person of color. What a coup.
I do have one more suggestion for Scotty who salivates about achieving diversity on the flight deck. Why stop with females and minorities? If you want the flight deck to accurately reflect the diverse group of passengers sitting in coach, why not train old people to fly your jumbo jets? I’m 73, and I really want to be a high paid United pilot because I can use the cash to buy a new grill and I’m tired of sitting in my living room watching reruns of Firefly and eating Cheetos. I’ve got some wicked skills. I can drive a car, parallel park and most of the time remember my wife’s name. I don’t want to brag, but I really know my way around a plane already. For example, when you enter the door on the plane or hatch as we like to call it in the biz, immediately turn left to enter the cockpit which is now called the flight deck thanks to the morons behind political correctness. Passengers will love to see an old geezer at the controls. I can hear the young whipper snappers comment as they enter the plane, “Look Mommy, grandpa’s flying the plane. Did they let him out of the home to fly us?”
I could suggest another stunning public relations move. United could initiate a PAY ONLY IF YOU LAND (POIYL) incentive. Passengers will obviously become anxious when they discover that reverse discrimination and skin color were the major factors in selecting pilots. The white guy may have been the most talented pilot and flew combat missions in Afghanistan, but when the color chart is placed next to his face, Major Richard Bong’s great, great-grandson should be rejected. The new incentive, POIYL could be used to mollify those fears. Flying became boring when United transported passengers safely from point A to point B. Now, thanks to diversity on the flight deck, passengers can experience the terror of flying over Berlin during WWII. Will we survive? Will we crash? Who knows? Only the Magic Eight Ball knows for sure. Free gifts can be used to calm passengers nerves. Some airlines magnanimously insist that “… seat cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.” What a thoughtful gesture!
Passengers can breathe easy during the landings. I’m sure that the “new” pilots will be required to successfully land at least 8 out of 10 attempts in the simulator. 80% is the new gold standard for aviation excellence. Actually, one scene from the movie Airplane! Perfectly captures the conversation before the two catastrophic failures:
“Elaine Dickinson: Ted, the altitude! We’re falling. Ted! We’re falling! The mountains, Ted! The mountains!” “Ted Striker: What mountains? We’re over Iowa!” “Elaine Dickinson: The…the cornfields, Ted! The cornfields!”
On the bright side, passengers won’t have to pay for the trip. Bonus!
The sergeant major of the Army commended the second lieutenant whose December traffic stop prompted a lawsuit and the firing of a Virginia police officer for remaining cool as a pair of cops pointed their weapons at him.
“Like many of you,” Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston tweeted Monday, “I was concerned by the video of [2nd Lt. Caron] Nazario’s traffic stop in December. He represented himself and our Army well through his calm, professional response to the situation — I’m very proud of him.”
In this image made from Windsor (Va.) Police video, a police officer uses a spray agent on Caron Nazario on Dec. 5, 2020, in Windsor, Va. Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, is suing two Virginia police officers over a traffic stop during which he says the officers drew their guns and pointed them at him as he was dressed in uniform. (Windsor Police via AP)
While I am not an attorney and cannot give formal legal advice, a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Murdock v. Pennsylvania, may give Second Amendment–supporters an overwhelming legal weapon with which to destroy every single firearm ownership (although not necessarily concealed carry) licensing scheme in the country. This includes those that require licenses to own or purchase firearms.
License to own: IL, MA, NY
License to purchase: CT, HI, IA, MD, MI, NE, NJ, NC, RI
The executive summary of the ruling in Murdock v. Pennsylvania (1943) was that it is unconstitutional for a state to levy a tax on people who want to sell religious merchandise. “A municipal ordinance which, as construed and applied, requires religious colporteurs to pay a license tax as a condition to the pursuit of their activities, is invalid under the Federal Constitution as a denial of freedom of speech, press and religion. The mere fact that the religious literature is ‘sold’, rather than ‘donated’ does not transform the activities of the colporteur into a commercial enterprise.”
What does this have to do with fees to obtain a license to own or purchase a firearm? The USSC also found, “A State may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the Federal Constitution.” This means the entire Bill of Rights as opposed to just the First Amendment.
It is similarly unconstitutional to charge a fee to exercise the right to vote, AKA a poll tax. This could well be the reason why states with voter ID laws must provide free identification cards to qualified residents who do not have driver’s licenses, as shown by Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. “The law’s universally applicable requirements are eminently reasonable because the burden of acquiring, possessing, and showing a free photo identification is not a significant increase over the usual voting burdens, and the State’s stated interests are sufficient to sustain that minimal burden.” States can charge fees for driver’s licenses because driving is a privilege, but voting is a right.
Gun Licensing Fees Are Racist
The racist nature of many gun licensing schemes is meanwhile underscored by an amicus curiae brief filed by the African-American Gun Association (AAGA) against California. “African Americans have been the target of some of the oldest and most odious attempts at forced disarmament[.] … NAAGA has a strong interest in this case because taxes and fees imposed on the right to keep and bear arms disproportionately affect African Americans,
due to the average lower income and higher rate of poverty in the African-American community.” White supremacists once argued openly that this was their intention, and I recall that the complete quote, while it did not use the N-word, did refer to the “son of Ham.”
It is a matter of common knowledge that in this state and in several others, the more especially in the Southern states where the negro population is so large, that this cowardly practice of “toting” guns has always been one of the most fruitful sources of crime[.] … There would be a very decided falling off of killings “in the heat of passion” if a prohibitive tax were laid on the privilege of handling and disposing of revolvers and other small arms, or else that every person purchasing such deadly weapons should be required to register[.] … Let a negro board a railroad train with a quart of mean whiskey and a pistol in his grip and the chances are that there will be a murder, or at least a row, before he alights.
The same went for a Virginia poll tax on the right to vote.
Discrimination! Why, that is precisely what we propose; that, exactly, is what this Convention was elected for — to discriminate to the very extremity of permissible action under the limitations of the Federal Constitution, with a view to the elimination of every negro voter who can be gotten rid of, legally, without materially impairing the numerical strength of the white electorate.
The same applies to laws that require gun-owners to buy expensive liability insurance that might be affordable by people of the middle and upper classes, but not by low-paid workers among whom are many black Americans. While these laws cannot discriminate openly against black people (just as Jim Crow gun taxes and prohibitions on inexpensive firearms known as N-word Saturday Night Specials did not specify any race), they can and do exploit the economic disparity that unfortunately prevails between Caucasians and black people to disarm the latter. Perhaps certain elements of the Democratic Party have hidden the same sheets and hoods they wore openly 70 or 80 years ago instead of getting rid of them entirely.
An Illinois Court Questioned the FOID Card Requirement
More to the point, however, is the brief’s citation of Murdock v. Pennsylvania and the phrase “[a]cross constitutional rights, the courts have consistently forbidden the use of special fees and taxes on constitutionally protected conduct to generate general revenue.”
Even Illinois’s own courts appear to be finding issues with the Firearm Owner Identification Card per Illinois v. Brown. “The circuit court was correct that the FOID card requirement impermissibly infringes on law- abiding persons’ rights to bear long arms-in their own homes for self-defense.” The court filing also argues that the FOID card fee violates not just the U.S. Constitution, but also Illinois’s own laws: “a person cannot be compelled ‘to purchase, through a license fee or a license tax, the privilege freely granted by the constitution. Thus, Brown, who was merely exercising her right to keep a long gun in her own home for self-defense, cannot be made to purchase a card or obtain a license to exercise this fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution.” I do not know the outcome of this case but the bottom line is that an Illinois court had problems with the FOID law.
This article has hopefully provided Second Amendment–supporters with a valuable legal tool with which to attack all state laws that require people to pay for licenses to own or purchase firearms, and potential jurors (i.e., every citizen in the country) with information to use if called to serve in cases that involve these laws.
Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way. The author is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to “cancel culture” for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.