Archive for category Federal and Constitutional Law

Courts Gags Divorced Father

An interesting case highlighted by Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: a court bans a father from making any comments about his ex-wife in a public forum.

If the father says anything about the mother in public, he could be sent to jail for contempt of court. The order isn’t limited to banning libelous statements (though I think even such a much narrower ban would itself pose constitutional problems, especially under Pennsylvania law), nor is it even limited to statements about minor children (though even that sort of order strikes me as constitutionally impermissible). Rather, the court order categorically orders the removal of a Web site, and prohibits all public statements — factually accurate or not — by one person about another person.

I guess in Pennsylvania the First Amendment doesn’t count for much anymore.

An archived version of the site that started it all can be found here.

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Ammunition Ban Violates Second Amendment

Eugene Volokh highlights a recent DC court decision on the constitutionality of banning or restricting ammunition as a means of circumventing the Second Amendment.

Appellant Kevin Herrington was convicted in 2006 of unlawful possession of ammunition (UA), in violation of D.C. Code § 7–2506.01 (2001) (now § 7–2506.01(a) (Supp. 2010)). His conviction was based solely on evidence that he possessed handgun ammunition in his home….

What is now subsection (a) of D.C. Code § 7–2506.01 provides as follows:

No person shall possess ammunition in the District of Columbia unless: …

(3) He is the holder of the valid registration certificate for a firearm of the same gauge or caliber as the ammunition he possesses; except, that no such person shall possess restricted pistol bullets; …

[F]rom the Court’s reasoning [in Heller], it logically follows that the right to keep and bear arms extends to the possession of handgun ammunition in the home; for if such possession could be banned (and not simply regulated), that would make it “impossible for citizens to use [their handguns] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.” By the same token, given the obvious connection between handgun ammunition and the right protected by the Second Amendment, we are hard-pressed to see how a flat ban on the possession of such ammunition in the home could survive heightened scrutiny of any kind. We therefore conclude that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to possess ammunition in the home that is coextensive with the right to possess a usable handgun there. The government has not taken issue with that conclusion….

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Repealing the 17th Amendment

The US Constitution established a unique form of government that accommodated the concerns of the people in general as well as the governments of the States that comprise the union. This was initially established by means of the Great Compromise, which formed a bicameral legislature featuring a House of Representative to represent the concerns of the people, and a Senate to address concerns of the States. The Senators were to be selected by the state legislators and represent their positions and concerns to the federal government.

That is, until the 17th Amendment was passed. Establishing the popular election of Senators, the 17th Amendment effectively ended the representation of State interests to the federal government, essentially establishing a second House of Representatives that held more power for longer than the first. Read the rest of this entry »

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ACORN and Voter Fraud

An executive of the Nevada Branch or ACORN has plead no contest to conspiracy to commit election fraud. From the America Spectator:

ACORN executive Amy Busefink has pleaded “no contest” to conspiracy to commit voter registration fraud in Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting. Sentencing is set for Jan. 10. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obamacare and the Constitution

T.L. Davis at the American Thinker takes a look at how Obamacare has sparked a crisis of how people (and politicians) view the US Constitution:

The debate is also a stage-setting for the greater issues of how to read the Constitution. There are two schools of thought on the issue of constitutionality: the Literalist school and the Case Law school. Each one approaches the document from a different point of view. The Literalist reads the words and meanings as they are presented without nuance, whereas the Case Law adherent reads the Constitution as seen through the filters of case law and precedent. The words they see are not the words themselves, but placeholders for an extended file of subsequent cases and rulings. Read the rest of this entry »

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California District Court Dismissed Anti-Mandate Lawsuit

Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy covers the recent dismissal of a lawsuit against the Obamacare mandate by a California District, on the basis of lack of standing:

This decision is at odds with rulings by district courts in Virginia, Michigan, and Florida, all of which concluded that a variety of plaintiffs challenging the mandate — state governments, individuals, employers, and the National Federation of Independent Business — do indeed have standing. Read the rest of this entry »

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The First Amendment and Separation of Church and State

Much ado has been risen about Christine O’Donnell’s debate with Chris Coon in which she stated that the separation of church and state is not in the First Amendment, or the US Constitution as a whole:

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that “religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked him.

When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?”

Her comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL, generated a buzz in the audience.

Let the Leftist condescension and hand-wringing begin. Read the rest of this entry »

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