Monday, May 23, 2011
Prisoners' rights has been a relatively dead issue for the Supreme Court for a number of years. That is no longer the case. Justice Kennedy joined the 4 Democratic appointees to uphold the lower court rulings. Just one more reason not to move to California. After too many years to reckless spending, the state is becoming a basket case! (Also see prior post on the San Franciso wackiness) The case is Brown v. Plata (2011)
In recent years we have seen a surge in gun sales, but violent crime rates (including homicide) continue to move in the opposite direction. The case for gun control aimed at ordinary citizens gets weaker and weaker every year!
Those wackos in California are at it again. As near as I can determine, the proposal is backed by left-wingers who believe circumcision of MALES is a type of mutilation that parents have no right to inflict on children. IMHO, this proposal clearly violates First Amendment freedom of religion and the liberty to raise one's children without unjustifiable government intervention (e.g. Wisconsin v. Yoder (406 U.S. 205, 1972). It is very disturbing how much people want government to ignore the Bill of Rights.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Ordinary, law-abiding Mexicans are increasingly caught between brutal cartels, corrupt police and sometimes abusive military forces. It is fairly obvious that their government cannot, or will not, protect them from any of these. They will have to arm themselves to exercise their right of self-defense.
Monday, May 16, 2011
In Kentucky v. King, (2011) the Court finally made clear a point that many had already assumed. Police cannot rely on the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement if they create or "manufacture" the exigency by engaging in conduct which violates the 4th Amend. Not a new principle for lower courts, but it was nice to see the U.S. Supreme Court adopt that rule. The case was remanded.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Just when you think a TX bill is dead, it resurrects. This one is a good one. Concealed carry on TX campuses passed the senate and is now headed to the TX House. See the link for links to contact your State Rep. Although "civil liberties are so pre- 9-11," here's a chance to enhance the civil liberties. of law-abiding citizens in TX.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
What ordinary citizens in the U.S. have to look forward to if we adopt British-style gun control in the U.S. Thank God for American Bill of Rights!
Latest on bill for concealed carry on TX college campuses. Doesn't look good for the bill. IMHO, Zaffirini has been a chronic meddler in higher education in Texas.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Even wonder where the name "Budweiser" for the beer came from. I thought it was a surname. Not so! P.S. We should be ashamed that we downed so many of these and never knew the origin of the name. P.P.S. I know what some of you are thinking: "That's the most intelligent thing he's posted all day" LOL! "Today's Word "Budweis" Budweis \BUD-vis\ (noun) - The German name of the Czech city of Ceske Budejovice. The city of Cesky Budejovice is called "Budweis" in German so that Budweiser Beer means "beer from Budweis" in that language. The American brewery Anheuser-Busch began using the name in 1876. The problem is that the Czechs have been brewing beerwhich they called the Beer of Kingsin their town since thirsty King Premysl II Otakar (son of good King Wenceslas I) founded the city in 1245." Source: Vocabulary, by ArcaMax.
Looks like Obama et al. are backing out on another campaign promise. This time the broken promise was to back off on enforcing federal marijuana laws in state medical marijuana law situations. It looks like the only promises Obama has not broken are his pledge to move the country sharply in the direction of European-style socialism and to put "empathetic" judges (left-wing ideologues) on the Supreme Court.
Arguably, the Constitutional Convention laid the groundwork for the Civil War by combining slave and non-slave states in a union where a federal government enjoyed the power of the Constitution’s “supremacy” clause. Such a union arguably was necessary if the new nation was going to be able to defend itself against the real threats posed by British and French colonialism and future threats. Although the Declaration of Independence declared that all men are created equal,” the felt necessity was to form a union now, with some compromises and ultimately let the slavery issue work itself out. However, it seems like a Greek tragedy where a horrible ending is pre-ordained. The nation’s greatest tragedy is that even though many saw it coming, the Civil War could not have been prevented. Many argue that slavery would have eventually died a natural death. Was the Civil War worth it? I can’t answer that. Note especially Jefferson’s and Madison’s quotes. "The Slavery Compromises: Years before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Thomas Jefferson, a slaveowner himself, admitted the horrible nature of slavery: In his 1782 "Notes on Virginia" he made a prophetic statement in regard to U.S. slavery: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." Recall that in the "Great Compromise," it was determined that representation in the House of Representatives would be based on the population of each state. After the convention approved the Great Compromise, Madison wrote: "It seems now to be pretty well understood that the real difference of interests lies not between the large and small but between the northern and southern states. The institution of slavery and its consequences form the line of discrimination." This division over slavery led to the "3/5 Compromise." Of the 55 Convention delegates, about 25 (almost half!) owned slaves. The delegates from Southern (slave) states wanted to counts slaves as part of their population. This would give the Southern states additional representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Delegates from the Northern (Free) states strongly opposed this, arguing that if slaves had no rights to vote (or any other rights of citizenship) then the South should not be given additional representatives in the House. Also, the North feared that counting slaves as part of the South's population would allow the South to have enough representatives in the House to out-vote the North on issues regarding slavery. The South likewise feared that not counting slaves as part of their population would give the South too few representatives in the House, thus allowing the North to out-vote the South on issues regarding slavery. The compromise they reached would arbitrarily count each slave as 3/5 of a person. Thus, neither North nor South fully got their way, as slaves were counted in part toward population when determining how many representatives the free whites should have in the House of Representatives. Hence the name "3/5 compromise." Not wanting to put the word "slave" in the Constitution, the delegates agreed the Constitution would state that population would be determined by counting the number of "free Persons . . . plus three-fifths of all other Persons . . ." Of course, if one is an "other person" rather than a free person, obviously the "other person" must be "not free"; in other words, a slave. The North and South also divided over whether the new national legislature (Congress) would be able to regulate (and thus perhaps outlaw) slavery. The North wanted the legislature to be able to regulate slavery, and of course the South did not want the legislature to have this power. The Southern delegates used both economic and racial justifications for slavery. During the South Carolina Ratifying convention, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney repeated his argument for continuing slavery: "While there remained one acre of swamp-land uncleared of South Carolina, I would raise my voice against restricting the importation of negroes. I am . . . thorougly convinced . . . that the nature of our climate, and the flat, swampy situation of our country, obliges us to cultivate our lands with negroes, and that without them South Carolina would soon be a desert waste." (4 Jonathan Elliott, Debates in the Several State Conventions 273, 285 (1891)) Other Southerners were evern more direct racial supremacists, arguing that if slaves became free, they would engage in countless violent crimes against whites, and would also interbreed with whites, thus "polluting" the white race. The delegates from the Northern free states believed that concessions on slavery were the price for the support of southern delegates for a strong central government. They were convinced that if the Constitution restricted the slave trade, some Southern states would refuse to join the Union. The delegates at the Constitutional Convention finally agreed that Congress would be prohibited from regulating the international slave trade (i.e. imports of slaves from foreign countries) for 20 years, but after that time it could prohibit it. Again, not wanting to use the word "slavery, the delegates agreed the Constitution would state: "the The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight." (Notice 1808 would be 20 years after ratification). To what degree domestic slavery could be regulated after that time was simply left an open, undecided question. Basically the delegates agreed they could not agree, so put off the issue for (at least) 20 years. But by sidestepping the slavery issue, the framers simply were delaying the inevitable conflict over slavery. However, the Southern states' agreement to the ending of the international import of slaves was based not on morality, but on simple economics and politics. Politically, Southern whites feared if the slave population continued to increase in relative proportion to the white population, eventually the slave population would become so large, it would be uncontrollable by the white population and would rebel and even take revenge on their former masters. Economically, states with a large existing slave population such as Virginia would see the value of their slaves increase if the importation of additional slaves was halted. So even the Southern states went along with the ban on new importation of slaves, but for purely selfish reasons and not out of any moral opposition to slavery. Finally, the Southern states insisted that escaped slaves be returned to them, otherwise slaves would have a strong incentive to try to escape to a Northern state where they could be free. So, the Northern delegats agree to a clause in the Constitution dealing with fugitive slaves, required runaway slaves to be returned their owners upon demand by the owner. Once again not wanting to use the word "slave," the Fugitive Slave Clause substituted "person held to service or labour" in place of the word "slave": "No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, . . . , escaping into another, shall . . . be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due." Some of the delegates, however, such as Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, were outraged that any compromise was reached. During the Convention, on August 8, he gave what came to be called his famous "Curse of Heaven" speech, one of the most stirring speeches at the Constitutional Convention. Madison's notes for that day record "Gvrnr. Morris" as stating: "He never would concur in upholding domestic slavery. It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse of heaven on the States where it prevailed. . . . Upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed in representation? Are they men? Then make them Citizens and let them vote. Are they property? Why is no other property included? . . .The admission of slaves into the Representation when fairly explained comes to this: that the inhabitant of Georgia and S.C. who goes to the Coast of Africa, and in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity tears away his fellow creatures from their deearest connections and damns them to the most cruel bondages, shall have more votes in a Govt. instituted for the protection of the rights of mankind, than the Citizen of Pa. or N. Jersey who views with a laudable horror, so nefarious a practice." Gouverneur Morris went on to contrast the prosperity and human dignity of free states and territories with "the misery and poverty" of slave states. On Saturday, August 25, John Dickenson moved to make the slavery clauses more explicit by changing "persons" to "slaves." Several delegates objected to this. Madison records his own objection: "Mr. Madison thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men." A draft of notes that Dickinson made for a speech at the convention (but which he apparently never gave) arguing in favor of using the world "slave" included this statement: "The omitting the Word will be regarded as an Endeavor to conceal a principle of which we are ashamed."
In a last ditch effort to prevent the Civil War, Congress proposed the Corwin Amendment: “The Corwin Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States Congress on March 2, 1861. Ohio Representative Thomas Corwin offered the amendment during the closing days of the Second Session of the 36th Congress in the form of House (Joint) Resolution No. 80. The proposed amendment would have forbidden attempts to subsequently amend the Constitution to empower the Congress to "abolish or interfere" with the "domestic institutions" of the states, including "persons held to labor or service" (a reference to slavery). Corwin's resolution emerged as the House of Representatives's version of an earlier, identical proposal in the Senate offered by Senator William H. Seward of New York. However, the newly formed Confederate States of America was totally committed to independence, and so it ignored the proposed Corwin Amendment. This proposed amendment is technically still before the states for ratification, because it was submitted to the states without a time limit. Since the Thirteenth Amendment (which abolished slavery) was adopted, the Corwin Amendment has had no realistic chance of being adopted. Text No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State. Proposal by the Congress On February 28, 1861, the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 133–65. On March 2, the United States Senate also adopted it, 24–12. Since proposed constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority, 132 votes were required in the House and 24 in the Senate. As seven slave states had already decided to secede from the Union, those states chose not to vote on the Corwin Amendment. Outgoing President James Buchanan endorsed the Corwin Amendment by taking the unusual step of signing it. Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, supported the Corwin Amendment: "[H]olding such a provision to now be implied Constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable." Just weeks prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Lincoln penned a letter to each governor asking for them to support the Corwin Amendment. However, Presidents play no formal role in the amendment process. Ratifications Pursuant to Article V of the Constitution, consideration of the Corwin Amendment then shifted to the state legislatures. On May 13, 1861, the Ohio General Assembly became the first to ratify the amendment. The next to ratify was the Maryland General Assembly in January 1862. Later that year, Illinois lawmakers approved the amendment while they were sitting in session as a state constitutional convention rather than as a legislature, thus causing some to see this particular ratification as possibly invalid. Technically, the Corwin Amendment is still pending.” Excerpts from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corwin_amendment It is not clear if the amendment would have covered territories. Arguably not. The federal government controlled territories. However, arguably a territory could have voted to become a slave state, and then slavery would have in that new state would have been protected by the amendment. Arguably, too many in the South were already committed to secession, and war if necessary. This amendment was arguably too little and too late. Perhaps an amendment similar to the one proposed in the post below might have worked if proposed early enough.
As we remember the beginning of the Civil War/War between the States/ I offer a few more historical comments. Sections of Lincoln’s Mar. 4, 1861, First Inaugural Address are presented below. The address states that the issue dividing the country is, for him, not slavery per se, but extension of slavery into new U.S. territories. Certainly there were abolitionists who wanted slavery abolished everywhere (e.g. John Brown). However, such abolitionists were probably in a minority in the North. Lincoln promised to enforce the fugitive slave act. Protection of then-existing slavery and/or expansion of slavery into new territories were the primary motive for secession. Lincoln did not challenge the former. Lincoln declares that unilateral secession was unlawful. Why not call a constitutional convention to deal with this issue? I doubt that most northerners, most of whom also embraced white supremacy, wanted war to end slavery. More on this later, but there is a good chance that this amendment would have been approved, the country and territories divided, and perhaps a new federal government limited to issues of national defense created. We will never know! Lincoln stated: “I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this, and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And more than this, they placed in the platform, for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves, and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read: "Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes." I now reiterate these sentiments: and in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace and security of no section are to be in anywise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause — as cheerfully to one section, as to another. There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions: "No person held to service or labor in one State under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due." It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it, for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the law-giver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole constitution — to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause, "shall be delivered up," their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not, with nearly equal unanimity, frame and pass a law, by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath? It follows from these views that no State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union, — that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and that acts of violence, within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances. One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.”