The (Still) Unconstitutionality of the Texas Abortion Law

The Firearms Policy Coalition filed an Amicus brief supporting the Plaintiffs in the current lawsuit against Texas S.B. 8 set to go before SCOTUS. The entire brief is worth the read, if you’re a gun rights policy nerd like me…….but the conclusion is below:

This case is important not because of its specific subject matter of abortion, but instead for Texas’s cavalier and contemptuous mechanism for shielding from review potential violations of constitutional rights as determined by this Court’s precedents. It is one thing to disagree with precedents and seek their revision or reversal through judicial, congressional, or constitutional avenues; it is another simply to circumvent judicial review by delegating state action to the citizenry at large and then claiming, with a wink and a nod, that no state actors are involved.

From Amicus’s perspective, if pre-enforcement review can be evaded in the context of abortion it can and will be evaded in the context of the right to keep and bear arms. While the political valences of those issues seem to be opposites, the structural circumstances are too similar to ignore. As with Roe and Casey, many States view Heller as wrongly decided. Those States, with the help of many circuit courts, have showed an ongoing refusal to accept the holding in Heller and a continuing creativity in seeking to circumvent any protections for, and to chill the exercise of, Second Amendment rights. It is hardly speculation to suggest that if Texas succeeds in its gambit here, New York, California, New Jersey, and others will not be far behind in adopting equally aggressive gambits to not merely chill but to freeze the right to keep and bear arms.

TRUTH Social?

I’ll admit to not having much to say about Trump’s nascent social media platform…….beyond the irony of the name.

The sheer irony.

Oh, and for a “pro-free speech” venue, the terms and conditions, are likewise fascinating.

Users are not allowed to “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.”

Is there a viable market for echo chambers? Not merely to survive, as there are already a multitude of those venues that cater to nearly every political and social bent in existence…….but to compete against forums that allow discourse between disparate points of view?

I don’t think Twitter and Facebook et al, are terribly concerned. But what do I know……I’m not on any of them.

Rest in Peace, General Powell [Updated]

We lost a solid military leader today, and an inspiration to many people that I know. If not for the stain of being complicit in the false justifications leading up to the invasion of Iraq…..I wouldn’t be able to think of anything unkind to say about him. Gen. Powell was part of a cadre of officers who helped rebuild the military, the U.S. Army in particular….and the Vietnam War…..and propel the force and strategies for victory in Grenada, Panama and Iraq [Desert Storm].

He will also be remembered for a list of pre-requisites that should be followed [but won’t be] prior to any armed engagement overseas: the “Powell Doctrine”.

The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

Blue Skies and Airborne All The Way, Sir…….

***To no great surprise, Dear Leader [former POTUS] has issued a public statement on General Powell’s passing, through his spokespuppet:

He was a classic RINO, if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans. He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!” – President Donald J. Trump

The insecurities and low self-esteem of a guy [not a Man] who couldn’t be bothered to actually serve his country….is hardly unexpected. Stay classy Donnie….

The SecDef Should Tender his Resignation

A lengthy article from Andrew Milburn over at Task & Purpose, but suffice to say……Austin is not the Secretary of Defense that we need right now, with China staring us down over Taiwan. Clean house and clean it quick.

As for what the country wants, it must surely include general officers who haven’t surrendered their moral autonomy to the political administration of the day: Generals who understand that it is their responsibility to set the right balance between the mission and the men because they also have an obligation to subordinates – the sons and daughters of the American public that General Milley so readily brings to his defense. Generals that have thought deeply about what their obligation to the nation really entails.

This is an obligation that defies neat categorization. It can’t be captured on a PowerPoint slide or be easily explained in a chummy press conference. Understanding it demands intellectual and moral rigor. I would guess that these are the qualities that America expects of its generals. 

Resignation won’t atone for lives lost, or the debacle that American involvement in Afghanistan became, but it would at least demonstrate that these men understand the ethics of their profession. It would help calibrate the moral compass of thousands of officers beneath them. It might even help all three find absolution if such a thing still matters to them.

Sadly, the men and women at the pinnacle of our institution are a product of a culture that doesn’t nurture initiative, disciplined disobedience, or a profound understanding of our professional ethics. “I’ve taken an oath to the Constitution” is only the beginning of that intellectual and ethical journey, not the destination. 

The hearings were a blow to those of us searching for redemption among our senior uniformed leaders. Instead, they illustrate the pernicious effect that having men such as these in positions of the highest responsibility can have upon America’s standing in the world. 

Resignation may solve little, but is simply the right thing to do. And, at the very least, it will clear the way for those better qualified to begin the task of restoring this nation’s credibility on the global stage.

Any defense wonks have a pick who would fill that role nicely?

“Partisan Free Passes”

An excellent observation by “D” at Liberty’sQuill, posted almost in it’s entirety. I recommend many of D’s other pieces as well.

Today political emotion is almost a virtue, and self-awareness is in short supply. A substantial majority of Americans regularly excuse or defend worrisome views, troubling behaviors, and double standards – but only when their political compatriots are in the wrong. For example, politicians often appear to exchange scripts when power shifts in Congress. Borrowing and spending was a capital idea last year, but now it is irresponsible; a disturbing exercise of federal authority is dangerous today, but last year a similar action represented a common-sense solution to an intractable problem.

Not so long ago the capitol police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt inadvertently pulled back the curtain on another example of this bipartisan hypocrisy. The officer in question contended he made the right choice, and many progressive web warriors agree. Yet even in a progressive digital utopia this wholly rational view is mixed with exaggerations and illiberal generalizations – mental shortcuts that are often wrongly associated with conservative Americans. In a similar manner, many conservatives complained about law enforcement’s tentative response to rioting and looting during the spring and summer of 2020. But after Ashli Babbitt was shot conservative affection for decisive law enforcement action suddenly declined. Invariably political emotionalism leads to hypocrisy, and occasionally even political oppression.

If America is going to have a peaceful and stable political future, politically engaged Americans must resolve to hold their ideological compatriots to the same standard they have established for their political opponents. Absent this act of self-honesty, partisan anger and chronic “misrepresentations” will imperil the freedom, happiness, and security of this great country.

Partisan hypocrisy is never not fascinating to me….

Donald Trump, Savior of…….Religion?

As a devout Agnostic, I will never claim to know the mind of a religious fundamentalist, but I do know bullshit when I see it.

The former POTUS appeared on some televangelists show on Thursday and made the following, bizarre statement:

So nobody has done more for Christianity or for evangelicals or for religion itself than I have[underline mine]

Trump referenced his ‘support for Israel’, which has been standard operating procedure for every Administration for at least the past several decades. He also, falsely [because, of course] claimed that he repealed the Johnson Amendment; a canard that he has trotted out again and again.

So I’m genuinely curious…..if there are any of the religious sort who even read this minor blog…….what exactly has Trump done, that would warrant even a fraction of the statement above? I’m not talking about making religious folk feel better about themselves or their vote….but actual, tangible actions.

Pet Issues and Precedent, Continued

Alan Dershowitz illustrates my concern about the Texas abortion legislation being used as precedent for other issues, in Democratic monopoly states:

Consider this out-of-the-box proposal: Liberal, pro-gun-control states could apply the Texas bounty approach to gun control. New York or Illinois, for example, could declare that gun crime has gotten so serious that the private ownership of most handguns should be deterred. It would be unconstitutional for the state to authorize the criminal prosecution of those who facilitate constitutionally protected gun ownership. But the state could, instead, enact a gun-bounty civil law modeled on the Texas abortion law. It would empower any citizen to sue for $10,000 anyone who facilitates the sale or ownership of handguns.

Gun-ownership advocates would rail against such a law as circumventing Heller, just as abortion advocates are railing against the Texas law as circumventing Roe. But it would be hard for the courts to uphold the civil mechanism of the anti-abortion law without also upholding the identical mechanism in the anti-gun law.

Creating this “shoe on the other foot” challenge would bring home the dangerous implications of the Texas bounty approach which, if not stopped, could undercut the authority of the Supreme Court to enforce other constitutional rights.

Texas could, for example, next apply it to gay marriage — any private citizen could sue anyone who performed or facilitated same-sex marriages — thus circumventing Obergefell v. Hodges. New York could then apply it to Citizens United v. FCC and offer a civil bounty to sue any media outlet that ran corporate political ads. Any state could simply target any Supreme Court precedent it doesn’t like and deter its enforcement by authorizing citizens who oppose it to sue. This would empower every state to effectively overrule Supreme Court decisions, as some southern states unsuccessfully tried to do following Brown v Board of Education in 1954.

Patriot Day?

Tomorrow marks 20 years since the national travesty known as Operation Enduring Freedom and later, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Tomorrow also marks the cost of those 20 years:

American Service Members killed in Afghanistan through April: 2,448. American Contractors: 3,846. That doesn’t include the number of wounded, limbs lost or Veteran suicides.

And for what? To fight against an insurgency that didn’t attack us? To fight another nations civil war?

9/11 was planned in an apartment in Hamburg, Germany…..and in Florida. Yet we followed Osama bin Laden’s strategy to the letter.

We’ve spent $21 trillion on foreign and domestic militarization in those 20 years, and the number of terrorists and their backers/sympathizers has grown exponentially since 2001. It’s as if the term blowback is in a foreign language….

But tomorrow….is Patriot Day?

*edited to correct Patriot’s to Patriot, as the singular is the correct title, and there is a state level holiday [in a handful of states] that commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, as Patriot’s Day.

Apparently, I’m a Domestic Terrorist. Sweet!

Earlier this year, the anti-Civil Rights group “Coalition to Stop Gun Violence” issued a press release in support of Terry McAuliffe’s run [again] for Governor of my adopted state of Virginia.

In this now deleted release [the internet is forever geniuses], they rail against the GOP challenger [who doesn’t really seem to stand for anything, based on his TV ads] by stating:

“His willingness to say anything for a vote is deeply troubling, as we’ve already seen him cozying up to those with deep ties to those at the forefront of the insurrectionist movement, like Senator Amanda Chase and the domestic terror organization, the Virginia Citizens Defense League.”

As a member in good standing of said Virginia Citizen’s Defense League, apparently that makes me a domestic terrorist. Knowing the source, I guess I’ll wear that label with some amount of pride.

Honestly, I’m more upset at being implicated in the same sentence as batshit crazy Amanda Chase.