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Grieving Parents' Policy Preferences Are Irrelevant to the Constitutionality of Gun Laws

Kamala Harris wants Brett Kavanaugh to give gun violence victims "a fair shake," by which she means adopting her view of the Second Amendment.

Senate Judiciary CommitteeSenate Judiciary CommitteeWhether or not Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh deliberately spurned a handshake with the father of a teenager who died in the Parkland massacre, the response from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was puzzling. "If Kavanaugh won't even give him a handshake," she tweeted, "how can we believe he would give gun violence victims a fair shake in court?"

Unless Harris imagines that one of the doomed lawsuits charging gun makers with complicity in mass shootings will somehow make it to the Supreme Court, she presumably had in mind the next time the justices decide to hear a Second Amendment case. But "gun violence victims" are not parties to such cases, which involve individuals who challenge the constitutionality of legal restrictions on firearms. Harris' misrepresentation of what's at stake in that situation reflects a broader strategy of replacing logic with emotion in the campaign for stricter gun control.

A father's grief is not an argument for the effectiveness of any particular gun control law, and it certainly is not an argument for the constitutionality of that law. Contrary to Harris' implication, it is not relevant in deciding whether, say, a ban on so-called assault weapons is consistent with the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

"We have witnessed horrific mass shootings from Parkland to Las Vegas to Jacksonville, Florida," Harris said in her opening statement during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing yesterday. "Yet Judge Kavanaugh has gone further than the Supreme Court and has written that because assault weapons are in 'common use,' assault weapons and high-capacity magazines cannot be banned under the Second Amendment."

Kavanaugh's argument in the 2011 case to which Harris referred, where he dissented from a D.C. Circuit decision upholding a local ban on certain arbitrarily selected semi-automatic rifles, was a pretty straightforward extension of the Supreme Court's logic in the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller. "In Heller," Kavanaugh noted, "the Supreme Court held that handguns—the vast majority of which today are semi-automatic—are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens. There is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles. Semi-automatic rifles, like semi-automatic handguns, have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens for self-defense in the home, hunting, and other lawful uses. Moreover, semi-automatic handguns are used in connection with violent crimes far more than semi-automatic rifles are. It follows from Heller's protection of semi-automatic handguns that semi-automatic rifles are also constitutionally protected and that D.C.'s ban on them is unconstitutional."

Maybe Kavanaugh misapplied Heller. Maybe Heller misinterpreted the Second Amendment. Maybe Harris believes both of those things. But the fact that "horrific mass shootings" occur, or that they leave behind grieving parents, has nothing to do with those questions. If Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court when it hears a challenge to an "assault weapon" ban, he will owe a "fair shake" to the people claiming the law violates their constitutional rights and to the government lawyers claiming it does not. The policy preferences of gun violence victims, no matter how heartfelt, should not carry any weight.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    She's a United States senator and a former prosecutor. What possible reason would she have to understand constitutional arguments?

  • HANSENWT||

    That's the part that is so scary....you know the phrase "those that can't do, teach"....it seems that has spread to "those that can't do, run for office".

  • Jay Dubya||

    prosecutors & LEOs should be banned from holding high office & judge appointments for a multiyear period after their resignation. we do this with generals, and given the situation today LEOs pose at least as great a threat to personal liberty as the military (at least domestically .... drones & kill lists skew the math here)

    regardless of whether they wave a blue flag or a red flag, prosecutors overwhelmingly favor policies that expand state interference in the lives of law abiding americans & increase the size, scope & death toll of the "war on drugs" & mass incarceration.

    liberals claim to care about black people, but the criminalization of constitutionally protected firearm ownership has destroyed the families of thousands of black men & fed a never-ending cycle of poverty & police depredation. passing yet another petty gun regulation will do nothing to prevent the next mass shooting, gun related murder or suicide. but it will ensure that more black people spend their lives inside of a cage so that suburban bleeding hearts can tell their facebook followers they "did something"

  • Sevo||

    Grieving parents are to be ignored by all but their families.
    They are to be ignored SPECIFICALLY by those in the TV 'news' business.

  • Harvard||

    Don't make eye contact. Much like the starving kids on the TV ads. As Kinnison stated, "the cameraman can give 'em a sammich".

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    News is ultimately a form of entertainment. Never going to happen.

  • Merl3noir||

    That's why they call it a news STORY.

  • DiegoF||

    Can't be said enough. But then this guy's not a grieving parent. He's a high-level political activist using his personal story as an angle to increase his influence on public policy. Which, hey, that's part of the process of living in a free-speech republic. What we must not do as a society is allow them to wear their activist hat and their mourning clothes--whereby we treat them gently, with any pushback considered an attack on the afflicted--at the same time. That is very dangerous to a republic. I don't care how sympathetic their cause is. It's even worse than our habit of considering politicians to remain wearing their halos of "war hero" or "civil rights hero" or whatever, while they spend their days negotiating highway appropriations.

  • Libertymike||

    Many moons past, the life of my sister, then 16, was ruined by an inebriated 17 year old hussy. My sister was being driven home by the father of the small children for whom she had babysat. The father's car was hit as he was turning into my family's driveway. My sister was in the front passenger seat.

    Notwithstanding the above, I HATE MADD. A family member aggrieved by a drunk driver is a BIG TIME LOSER if he or she joins MADD and / or supports "getting tougher on drunk drivers" and the like.

    If A drives drunk and visits no harm on anybody else, what's the problem?

  • DiegoF||

    Jesus I am sorry. Much kudos to you for keeping perspective on the matter. I would not look down my nose at anyone who failed to keep such a perspective under such circumstances--which is of course precisely why it is so perverse to actually accord a deferential attitude in toward the sentiments of the grief-stricken when contemplating which public policy we should adopt. (And again, we commit a double perversion when we actually use that same grief to not only declare their opinions imbued with the wisdom of intimate perspective, but for that same reason harsh criticism of them a monstrous attack on the grieving. "How dare you attack the words of the dear widow Smith! Can't you see she is fragile with grief and overwhelmed by emotion at a time like this? That is precisely why we must immediately entrust our public policy to her wise present judgment.")

    MADD is a histrionic prohibitionist organization; and John Walsh (like NCMEC) is a cancer on public society. I will not be convinced that freedom stands a long-term chance in this country until we have changed our mentality deeply enough to come to terms with facts like these.

  • Libertymike||

    Appreciate that, DiegoF.

    Don't get my anarchist passion wrong; one should use his head and refrain from driving if one is drunk. But, if you have two beers with your char-broiled burger with a baked potato and a big salad at lunch, you are okay to drive back to the office.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    As you like. But I have a simple policy that has always served me well: I never drink when I'm out and about. I often am the driver, I have had to drive with others (including children) in the car, I have had to drive in cases of medical emergency. The way the rest of the world drives it's hard enough getting home in one piece when I am completely sober, much less if I am at all impaired, and the worst part about a drink or two is that you somehow don't realize that you are at all impaired. So I never drink so much as a single beer when I am out and about.

  • Jay Dubya||

    there is a solution to drunk driving related accident fatalities & the much larger population of nondrunk driver related accident fatalities. its a technological solution & will one day likely involve some combo of driverless cars & driven cars w driverless features.
    madd doesnt care about preventing deaths. they care about revenge. when a loved one dies, some people feel an overwhelming desire to attribute blame for that death. it fits into the sort of narrative we like to reassure ourselves with. bad things happened to my loved one because of bad people, but i can stop the bad people & give my loved ones death meaning. but life isnt a popcorn movie. alcoholics arent monsters. and accidents arent murders.

    if madd took their massive fundraising machine into LIDAR research they could very likely bring us closer to a time when a drunk on the road presents no more of a statistical threat than any other driver. but doing so would mean abandoning vengeance.

    theres a profound & very human tragedy at work here. most ppl would rather hurt someone for hurting them than prevent future harm. its unusual to have such an obvious case like this; but even where the solution is obvious its not as attractive as violence.

  • ||

    But then this guy's not a grieving parent. He's a high-level political activist using his personal story as an angle to increase his influence on public policy.

    I have yet to hear what he's doing in DC. Did he quit his job in FL and move to the DC area to hang out at judiciary hearings? Or is he still living and working in FL and just decided he'd fly up especially for Kavanaugh?

    It should seem exceedingly obvious that, if he's not seeking his own celebrity, he was invited by Feinstein, Harris, etc. as a prop for political theater as they were already going to vote against Kavanaugh.

    Kavanaugh could've resurrected the guy's daughter right then and there and, at best, they would've voted 'Aye.' through clenched teeth.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Feinstein had admitted to using him as a political ploy.

  • prolefeed||

    Kavanaugh could've resurrected the guy's daughter right then and there and, at best, they would've voted 'Aye.' through clenched teeth.

    They would have still voted Nay, because CA voters.

    Politicians who get to the national level are rarely voting on a realistic assessment of the actual results of their preferred policies.

  • BYODB||


    It should seem exceedingly obvious that, if he's not seeking his own celebrity, he was invited by Feinstein, Harris, etc. as a prop for political theater as they were already going to vote against Kavanaugh.

    Basically this. Democrats are trotting out the full dog and pony show. They need to move to a floor vote and just skip the circus.

  • Just Say'n||

    feelz > reelz

    much like

    woke > logic

  • josh||

    In my mind, the handshake that didn't happen was clearly a stunt. Yes, he should've shaked his hand and said a few words, if only for optics, but I understand why he didn't in that situation.

    But the story should be the willful blindness by certain politicians, the media, and much of the public that has lead a debate over constitutional law becoming about how we all feel. This comes at the same time that these very same people are going nuts over Trump's desire to have the Justice Dept. function based on his latest mood.

    You can't have it both ways.

  • ||

    In my mind, the handshake that didn't happen was clearly a stunt. Yes, he should've shaked his hand and said a few words, if only for optics, but I understand why he didn't in that situation.

    It was a staged lose-lose stunt. He made the right move. Shaking his hand was just going to be followed up with a 'Once on the Supreme Court how will you help shooting victims.' type question so that Kamala Harris could ask why he refused to help shooting victims to their faces rather than just refusing to shake hands.

  • dchang0||

    The really maddening part is how the left deliberately distorts and lies about Kavanaugh's intent, selecting exactly the right photo to make it seem like Kavanaugh knew who the asshole was and then refused to shake his hand, when video clearly shows that Kavanaugh was ushered away before he could respond.

    And yet this kind of behavior is not considered "unhealthy" according to Jack Dorsey of Twitter.

    So the left gets to deliberately lie and spread misinformation for the purpose of affecting election outcomes all they want, but anyone to the right of Stalin does not.

  • damikesc||

    This is also not civility. Democrats aren't uncivil. Only Republicans.

  • DiegoF||

    The whole premise is the most ridiculous fake controversy when you think about it. Fuck no he should not have shook the guy's hand! He is not a rock star or a politician (well, SCOTUS justices probably are the latter, which is exactly what has given the theater of not being politicians increasing importance as time has gone on).

    If you are a judicial nominee you do not go around shaking hands with the public gallery that is swarming you, especially in such a politically charged atmosphere. Who the fuck knows who that guy who wanted to shake Kavanaugh's hand was? Friend or foe. Why did he admire/not admire/ just care about shaking the guy's hand? What cause (he almost certainly would have one in this atmosphere) did this strange man represent, who wants to shake your hand, that is going to be splashed all over the papers the next day about how the future SCOTUS justice shook hands with a such and such activist at his hearing? You do not do that in this day and age especially! As a judge, Kavanaugh probably knows damn well there are many times a handshake is inappropriate. Someone introduces themself at the country club, fine. Someone steps out of the crowd in front of a full press scrum to shake your hand after you hand down a newsworthy judgment on a high profile defendant? Probably going to let your security push him away.

  • Libertymike||

    CNN and other progressive voices have been treating RBG like a rock star : )

    Furthering your first point, this morning Joey Scarborough and company were all over Judge K's lack of civility fake news like Goose on Gannon.

  • BYODB||

    Yeah, a rock star who's skin is closer to parchment instead of the actual husk of a human being. She's sort of like Keith Richards in that regard, I suppose.

  • perlchpr||

    Right? What if the guy had been a Grand Dragon of the KKK or something? Then CNN would have been all "KKKAVANAUGH!"

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "Yes, he should've shaked his hand and said a few words, if only for optics, "

    And this would either be followed up as mad suggests with "what are you going to do now" or would just not be a story at all. Stunts only work one way, or not at all.

  • JesseAz||

    Watch the video. Kavanaugh didn't have a chance to shake his hand. Security wasn't letting anybody near him after the shitshow libs kept disrupting. Kavanaugh has nothing to do with Florida anyways.

  • The Last American Hero||

    It's even worse. You shouldn't put someone who just lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer in charge of awarding medical research funding and you shouldn't let someone who's son just died of a drug overdose dictate drug laws. They are in pain and their world has been turned upside down. They are most likely incapable of thinking rationally about the subject, and understandably so. I empathize with the pain that the parents of school shooting victims have, but the fact that they are hurting does not give them the right to take away the rights of others.

    Or maybe the next time a kid dies in a car accident, we should listen to his mothers plea to ban motorized vehicles. Perhaps the next time a kid chokes on a toy, we should ban toys.

  • John||

    Exactly that. Moral authority, while powerful, is limited in scope. Someone whose loved one was murdered has the moral authority to speak about that crime that belongs to no one else. That moral authority does not extend to anything beyond their circumstances.

  • damikesc||

    It's also VERY subjective.

    As has been noted, Kyle Kashuv ALSO went through the shooting. Just as the whiny cunts did. And his views are 100% opposed to theirs. Yet HE is not championed by pop culture and the media.

    One of the parents called out the cunt fucking his daughter's memory for the stunt. That I do not know the name of the parent who called out the cunt fucking his daughter's memory showed how much HIS views mattered to the press.

  • Harvard||

    I liken this to those orgasmic victim statements before sentencing some horrible murderous jag off. Meaningless what they think. The State brought the charges, not the individuals. Matters not what they think.

  • John||

    They are very meaningful for that case with that defendant. That moral authority does not extend to other cases or larger policy issues. If my wife is murdered, I get to have some say in the punishment of her murderer. My wife being murdered, however, does not grant me a say over the punishment of some other murderer or a greater say in public policy in general than anyone else.

  • Zeb||

    I'm not sure what I think about that. Should the emotional poignancy of a victim statement have much to do with the sentence? To turn it around a bit, if a victim's spouse didn't like him that much, does that mean the murderer should get a lighter sentence?

  • John||

    That is an interesting debate zeb and one that I think depends on the circumstances. If you think I shouldn't have a say in my own wife's murder case, then there is no way in hell you can think I should have some special voice regarding other cases of murder or criminal laws in general.

  • DiegoF||

    I never liked the '80s victim-statement innovation much. But I can deal with it. John, and many libertarians, are right to draw a clear distinction between what belongs in a public policy debate and what belongs in the individual courtroom.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    Sorry, but criminal murder charges are Society's response to unjustified killing as an offense to Society in general, not as a remedy for the family of the victim. There are civil actions for wrongful death if you want some kind of personal remedy for your wife's murder. The State prosecutes criminals for the good of Society in general. not for the benefit of individual crime victims.

  • prolefeed||

    The State prosecutes criminals for the good of Society in general.

    Ummmm ... that's not the actual agenda of governments. That's like saying the Mafia punishes people who resist them for the good of Society.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Ask Mary Jo Kopechne's family if they want to ban Kennedys.

  • Just Say'n||

    Watch it. Cathy L is going to show up and explain to you how Mary Jo's funeral was subsidized by the government and therefore she is the real villain in that saga

  • John||

    If it was anyone but Cathy L, I would think you were joking. But since Cathy L is really crazy enough to say something like that, I have to ask what she said that you are referring to.

  • Cathy L||

    I complained that parents are freeloaders.

  • John||

    Which has what to do with her being murdered by Ted Kennedy?

  • Just Say'n||

    It's a joke. Everyone take it down a notch.

    Did Cathy selectively pull subsidies provided to parents and then ignore all the subsidies provided for singles which far exceeds the other? Yes, obviously.

    Was Cathy just trying to force a progressive talking point into a free market argument? Of course.

    But, the Mary Jo thing was just a joke. We all know that the real villain in that story was the Irish disease of alcoholism.

  • Libertymike||

    How about the disease of "do you know who I am?"

  • ||

    She was actually responding to the distinction that you drew between "Democrats . . . whose industries are subsidized by government" and "families with children," and the implication that the latter do not draw subsidies from the government.

  • Just Say'n||

    A distinction that I never made. My reference was with regards to the good reverend who was saying that only poor states vote Republican and wealthy states vote Democrat (which only makes sense if you ignore Texas and Florida to name a few).

    The only point that I made was that there are demographic distinctions between who votes which way.

  • ||

    Yes, the Rev started with his usual "Dems = good, clean, educated people, Reps = uneducated, opioid-addicted hicks."

    To which your response was:

    "Democrats are preferred by people who work for government or whose industries are subsidized by government. And single people.

    Republicans are preferred by families with children,"

    drawing a distinction between Democrats, who live off of government money, and Republican families with children, unqualified.

    Almost like you feel defensive when Republicans are attacked.

  • Just Say'n||

    Was that an exaggeration or is that not exactly true based upon polling?

    On here, I guess I can see how one can see that as an insult toward Democrats for suggesting that they draw the bulk of their support from government workers, but that is also exceptionally accurate.

  • ||

    I guess I can see how one can see that as an insult toward Democrats

    You responded to someone insulting Republicans by asserting a distinction that involved a negative value judgment towards Democrats and a positive one about Republicans. And then flipped your shit when Cathy pointed out that your characterization of Republicans decidedly ignored some of things you were clearly snarking on Democrats for.

    You really don't see that?

  • DiegoF||

    Florida's red shift is probably over, since a black socialist is leading in the gubernatorial polls and a very popular Republican governor (who pushed for a gun age restriction that only a couple other states have) will probably not beat an incumbent dinosaur Democratic Senator who nobody has any particular enthusiasm for. Florida can join its neighbor to the north, which has purpled so fast that its own black socialist activist is in a dead heat for governor. And it can join the rapidly purpling Texas, where Republican donors will have to divert boatloads of money in order to keep one of the highest-profile Senate leaders in Washington ahead of an overgrown radical skater punk.

  • Cathy L||

    Did Cathy selectively pull subsidies provided to parents and then ignore all the subsidies provided for singles which far exceeds the other?

    Lol

    Please, outline the subsidies "singles" get that aren't subsidies for being single parents. I would love to see this.

  • Just Say'n||

    I never said "single parents". I'm merely talking about singles. And I offered the response before. Just to recap, though, I mentioned the demographic difference before voters and then you jumped in to insist that married couples with children are the real free loaders, because you were offended that I said people who work in government or in industries that are subsidized by government tend to vote Democrat. My question is why you got defense about that?

  • Just Say'n||

    The previous response:

    "So, to recap, parents don't pay for their own pregnancies, don't pay for their own childbirth, and don't pay for their own childcare. In many cases, the state covers 100% of the cost of all three"

    None of that is accurate. You even admitted as much. The notion that healthcare providers did not cover a portion of child delivery before a government mandate is rather divorced from reality. And arguing that public schools provide childcare avoids costs of rearing a child before kindergarten.

    And in order for your argument to make any sense we need to pretend that married couples do not also pay for government education through their property taxes or pay for labor through their insurance premiums.

    What is true is that singles enjoy government mandated contraceptives and abortions in many states in addition to not facing a higher tax if they earn a decent income. Married couples where both parents work and one earns a good salary face a much higher tax bill than if that individual were not married and filing jointly.

  • Cathy L||

    None of that is accurate. You even admitted as much. The notion that healthcare providers did not cover a portion of child delivery before a government mandate is rather divorced from reality.

    Even if it weren't required by law, it would still be a subsidy for having children. But now it is a law.

    And arguing that public schools provide childcare avoids costs of rearing a child before kindergarten.

    So parents who don't get subsidized daycare or preschool pay for 5 years, compared to 13 paid by taxpayers. Wow.

    we need to pretend that married couples do not also pay for government education through their property taxes or pay for labor through their insurance premiums.

    They don't receive 100% of the spending on their child's education for free. But they are also not remotely able to pay for it by themselves.

    What is true is that singles enjoy government mandated contraceptives and abortions in many states in addition to not facing a higher tax if they earn a decent income.

    You know married people can use contraceptives too, right? And married people can also terminate pregnancies. And of course nowhere in the US are abortions "mandated."

    Your whole line about the marriage penalty is bunk. Besides, state marriage is nothing more than registration with the government in exchange for benefits. If you weren't getting a tax benefit, why would you get married? If you are experiencing a tax penalty, get divorced!

  • Just Say'n||

    "If you weren't getting a tax benefit, why would you get married? If you are experiencing a tax penalty, get divorced!"

    Come on. That's just silly

  • Cathy L||

    I mentioned the demographic difference before voters and then you jumped in to insist that married couples with children are the real free loaders, because you were offended that I said people who work in government or in industries that are subsidized by government tend to vote Democrat. My question is why you got defense about that?

    Was I offended, or defensive?

    As Square = Circle noted, I was pointing out that you were contrasting Democratic-voting "industries who receive subsidies" with "families with children," who vote Republican, as if "families with children" are not an interest group extracting subsidies and as if, by extension, Republicans are better than Democrats in that respect.

    I don't actually think it's fair to blame Republicans for subsidizing childbearing, because Democrats are super into it too, but that's why they both suck. And it seems a little bit ridiculous to pick on particular industries just because people in them tend to vote D when there's fucking millions and millions of people around me who think I should have to pay for their lifestyle choices.

  • Just Say'n||

    I think you and Square are drawing a conclusion that I never made.

    I was countering the good reverends point who seems to believe that politics is based around states, rather than localities. Those groups that I mentioned are the highest predictors of how people vote.

    You both were offended by a connotation that you implied. I was offended by the suggestion that I thought you were making.

    I'm going to chalk it up to a misunderstanding on my part and a false conclusion drawn on your part

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Hey Cathy.

    Want to see how the legal system is rigged?

    Bill De Blasio's aide Jacob Schwartz was arrested for having videos of newborn babies being raped.

    He was released on $7,500 bail.

    Over a year ago.

  • perlchpr||

    I don't have a twitter account so I can't ask the guy directly, do you have any idea why he's disemvowelling words like "r-pe" and "p-rnography"? Is that a righty thing, to keep "dirty" words away or something? I've never seen that before.

  • Zeb||

    Or bridges, or cars, or guys named Ted.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Harris and her like want emotions to rule the law. They want the law to play favorites, as long as they are the favorites she approves of. She wants to chop down law because she does not care that the of law protects her as well because she is a member of the nomenklatura and will be protected by those who owe her favors.

  • John||

    Exactly. These people get to make gun laws but someone whose loved one was murdered by an illegal alien? No so much.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    If my family were Davidians, can I demand the ATF and FBI be banned?

  • Libertymike||

    How about if your wife was Vicki Weaver?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    In either case it would be a good and well justified idea

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Harris is truly awful. Everything you said about her is true. Hell, you were probably too nice.

    But hopefully by "and her like" you mean "politicians" because those on the right play hyperbolic games with words and emotions to argue for their policies as well.

    "THEY'RE ALL RAPISTS!!" "THEY JUST SEND US THEIR BAD ONES!!!" "THERE'S AN EPIDEMIC OF OPOID OVERDOESES!!!" "CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE ALLOWS US TO TAKE MONEY FROM DRUG KINGPINS!!!". Every one of those is every bit as outlandish as "IF KAVANAUGH IS CONFIRMED PEOPLE WILL LITERALLY DIE!!!"

  • Mickey Rat||

    By "her like" I mean all those who argue that a justice should have empathy for the "little guy".

    A member of the judiciary should be disinterested in the cases before them and the people involved.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Anything else is a corrupting influence on the judiciary.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Yeah, I agree with that.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    It's just the side of the aisle she is working; if you're from Boston or Frisco, those are the cards you are dealt and need to play if you want to be a successful politician.

  • Libertymike||

    Maybe that principle won't apply to the Massachusetts Senate race between Geoff "the real Deal" Diehl and the fake Cherokee.

    Look, it happened eight years ago when Scott Brown beat Marsha Coakley. But, just as I predicted, he lost his bid to stay in the Senate against Lizzie because he was an out and out cucky RINO. Brown was able to eke out a victory against Marsha Coakley only because she was most unlikeable and he caught the Tea Party wave, such as it was in Massachusetts.

    Lizzie, like Coakley, is not very likeable, even among rank and file Democrats. So, perhaps there is some hope for Diehl.

  • DiegoF||

    I can't fucking stand Scott Brown. I don't even like the way he looks. And I don't say that about many people.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    No, they only want emotions to rule law and the law to play favorites when it works in favor of them and their agenda.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Yeah, well, be careful what you ask for. When the principle is established that the law can play favorites, then the law can play favorites. And it's all downhill from there -- as if it isn't all downhill already.

  • Truthteller1||

    She has the reasoning skills of a child.

  • DiegoF||

    Sounds like a line from the news that the U.S. Senate has become the lamest Thunderdome remake conceivable. "No, no no! Look at her face! She has the reasoning skills of a child!"

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    You just insulted my 7-year-old grandson. En garde, sirrah!

  • dchang0||

    These gun control freaks completely ignore the Obama admin's PROMISE Program that caused the Broward County Sheriff's Dept. to downplay Nikolas Cruz' previous criminal acts and report them as non-crimes, thus making it possible for the nutjob to pass the background check.

    Sheriff Scott Israel was proud of and was praised for this deliberate lying-through-underreporting-statistics program.

    What good will more gun control laws do if the Democrats deliberately undermine them by treating criminal behaviors as if they are non-criminal (and treating non-criminal behaviors as if they are criminal, such as the crime of being white, or the crime of being an NRA member, etc.)?

  • Number 2||

    Any second now, Anita Hill will come out of the woodwork to tell us that Bret Kavanaugh sexually harassed her along with Clarence Thomas.

  • DiegoF||

    Brett Kavanaugh can do a lot better than Clarence Thomas. I'd say only Gorsuch is enough out of his league that he'd need to wear him down with that kind of persistence.

  • damikesc||

    I could care less what a parent pimping the death of his loved one for attention thinks about any issue.

  • Number 2||

    Kavanaugh had better watch out...the Democrats have unleashed Piper Perabo!! Lord knows that when I want advise and good counsel on critical issues of constitutional law, the first person I turn to is a "C" List actress whose most notable qualification is that she played the lead human role in a very bad live-action movie based on a 1960s cartoon!
    I wonder when Prof. Volokh will finally invite her to contribute to his blog?

  • damikesc||

    HEY!

    Piper was also the meh-looking girl in Coyote Ugly

  • BYODB||

    Oh, so all I takes is a personal tragedy to curtail the natural rights of 320 million people that weren't involved? Well, my dog died last night (not really, I don't even own a dog) so therefore these people should probably be shipped off to Guantanamo.


    Is that how this works?

  • RPGuy16||

    Guttenberg tweeted the day before that he was going to do whatever he can to stop the confirmation. Why would Kavanaugh want to shake his hand?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Why even think that Kavanaugh bothered to read or even be informed about a tweet (what?) from Guttenberg (who?)

  • Duelles||

    Harris is grandstanding in a most ignorant way. Doncha love it?

  • KevinP||

    The lower federal courts have been generally hostile to the Second Amendment. They have already rubberstamped as permissible:
    * New York City's $340 permit fee and one year process to get a permit to keep a handgun in your own home.
    * Discriminatory gun carry permitting in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California and Hawaii, where only those who are wealthy and connected can get a license to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense.
    * A "safe storage" law in San Francisco that requires homeowners to keep guns on their person or locked up when they are sleeping or in the shower, directly contradicting the Heller ruling.
    * A complete ban on any gun possession by anyone who has a doctor's prescription for medical marijuana.
    * Bans on firearms based upon cosmetic appearance. This is the most troubling because the bogus legal reasoning behind these bans leaves the door wide open to wide bans on entire classes of firearms, not just the so-called "assault weapons".

    A Hillary Clinton Supreme Court would have voted to uphold all of these laws and more, including enabling the bankruptcy of gun makers by frivolous lawsuit. Our liberties dodged a bullet with her defeat.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    "Harris' misrepresentation of what's at stake in that situation reflects a broader strategy of replacing logic with emotion in the campaign for stricter gun control."

    It also reflects either a profound misunderstanding of court processes (not surprising given her comments on the bail system), or a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts in service of a narrow political agenda (also not surprising given her abject fealty to the liberal Democratic agenda).

    The only thing worse than the crap she spews is that the media gives her any air time at all.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    It also reflects either a profound misunderstanding of court processes (not surprising given her comments on the bail system), or a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts in service of a narrow political agenda (also not surprising given her abject fealty to the liberal Democratic agenda).

    The profound misunderstanding is yours. Harris is a member of the senate judiciary committee, to which the Constitution gives a more-than-passing say-so on the question of court processes, plus some tools to influence them. The fact that the media understand what you do not has something to do with their decision to give Harris air time.

  • Jonrale9072||

    I guess, if we are getting all rational, all crime crime victims should have no say in how laws are interpreted and enforced. Victims are the complainant in civil suits, but the complainant in criminal cases is the State, and the crime is considered to be against the State's peace.

    My comment is, of course, irony, for those with no irony bone connected to the head bone, connected to the heart bone, connected to the...

    You are proceeding as if you live in a world of formal logic, rather than in a world in which you act.

    Of course people who are the victims of gun crimes have a say in our interpretation of the US Constitution and laws.

    99% of our lives is biology, work, children, family, friends, community, culture, nation, all of which we place values upon with feelings and emotions, not the modus tollens and the disjunctive syllogism, though they too are necessary— how we justify ourselves when we deliberate. If the law doesn't account, at the least in the sense of listening, for 99% of our lives, there is no rationality to the law, because it does address a lived life.

    These parents should be allowed the opportunity to lay their rhetoric and reason before the future USS Court member, Mr. Kavanaugh, whatever his opinion on the.

    That is his job. Listening, then judging. Surely he will survive it for a few days more.

    The question is one of proportion rather than a matter of a universal, exclusive claim.

    Jon

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    Fuck that grandstanding bitch.

  • Dave Boz||

    Sums it up. Further comment not required.

  • Robes Pierre||

    So if a Judge disagrees with a petitioner's argument, then they don't deserve a 'fair shake'. I'm not sure I understand this concept that only one side should get a 'fair shake'. I would hope that every side in a judicial process would get a 'fair shake', even if only one is bound to win.
    Shake the man's hand. Listen to his arguments fairly. Then make a reasonable decision based on the law. It's the judicial process of a free society. I find is disturbing, yet predictable, that Jacob Sollum does not understand this.

  • skunkman||

    Nothing says 8 years of Trump more effectively than - Kamala 2020.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    On the other hand, Kamala seems to be the best the Dems can do. And on her best day she isn't half as compelling as Obama on his worst day. The next Presidential campaign should set a new low bar for American politics, and given what happened in 2016 that's really saying something.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Curmudgeon, the Dems can do far better. The current Republican governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, enjoys the highest approval ratings of any governor. He could never get nominated as a presidential candidate by Republicans. If he chose to switch parties and run as a Democrat, I would bet significant money on his ability to win the nomination and beat Trump.

    And Baker wouldn't even be my choice for the Democratic nominee. My choice would be Delaware Senator Chris Coons. I doubt he is even considering a run, but if you Google his opening remarks at the judiciary hearing, I suggest you will detect both political acumen and gravitas—a combination for which the nation has lately been yearning in vain.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    No Hinh? Dammit!

  • HANSENWT||

    Does DJT have a nickname for Kamala yet....I am thinking "Medusa" might work pretty well.

  • TxJack 112||

    If you watch the video, Guttenberg comes out of nowhere and holds out his hand. Almost immediately the security oerson assigned to Kavanaugh steps between them and hustles the judge away. He did not refuse to shake his hand. If you look at his face you can see when Guttenberg touches his elbow he is shocked and unsure how to respond. After a morning of constant disruptions and chaos no one would respond to anyone without hesitation and concern about being attacked. Harris' tweet is just political theater from a left wing loon.

  • TxJack 112||

    Why Texas is a great state to live!! Only state where you can openly carry a pistol, rifle and sword in public all at the same time!! Take that you leftist snowflakes!!!

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Grieving Parents' Policy Preferences Are Irrelevant to the Constitutionality of Gun Laws

    That gets about a 2 on the 1 – 10 headline scale. It's true on the assumptions that the Constitution will not be amended, and will not be changed by judicial fiat without an amendment, will always be interpreted by SCOTUS as largely prohibiting gun controls, and that SCOTUS will never see its present partisan balance reversed.

    The current status of gun control in the constitutional scheme was arrived at by judicial decree, without constitutional amendment. On what basis should anyone presume that can't happen again?

    Continuance of the current regime is accepted by pro-gun-control and anti-gun-control advocates alike as dependent on the partisan balance of the Court. That balance can be altered in multiple ways. Given recent Court politics, even enlargement of the Court must be considered among them. Many of those ways might potentially be affected by politics, in which grieving parents' preferences will predictably play a part, but not a part which anyone can now specify.

    Indeed, the manifest changeability of a situation which the headline implies is immutable, is the very thing which makes the headline, and the OP, relevant.

    The headline should be recognized for what it is—as cheerleading for a notion of immutability—a notion which its author apparently doubts.

  • Jonrale9072||

    An interesting thought. I guess, if we are getting all rational, all crime crime victims should have no say in how laws are interpreted and enforced. Victims are the complainant in civil suits, but the complainant in criminal cases is the State, and the crime is considered to be against the State's peace.

    My comment is, of course, irony, for those with no irony bone connected to the head bone, connected to the heart bone, connected to the...

    You are proceeding as if you live in a world of formal logic Mr. Sullum, rather than in a world in which we act. Of course people who are the victims of gun crimes have a say in our interpretation of the US Constitution and laws. 99% of our lives is biology, work, children, family, friends, community, culture, nation, all of which we place values upon with feelings and emotions, not the modus tollens and the disjunctive syllogism, though they too are necessary— how we justify ourselves when we deliberate. if the law doesn't account for 99% of our lives, there is no rationality to the law.

    These parents should be allowed the opportunity to lay their rhetoric and reason before the future USS Court member, Mr. Kavanaugh.

    That is his job. Listening, then judging. Surely he will survive it for a few days more.

    The question is one of proportion rather than a matter of a universal, exclusive claim.

    Jon

  • NicholasStix||

    Kamala Harris, whose late mother was a brilliant medical doctor, is in a fierce competition for the title of dumbest member of the U.S. Senate. (Maybe Kamala was adopted.)

  • TxJack 112||

    That is unfair. I cannot say she is stupid but will argue she is so blinded by ideology that she is incapable of considering any opinion, other than her own, as possibly have merit.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Here is more ab out Kamala Harris.

    http://groups.google.com/d/msg.....b5UtdHBwAJ

    "Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine
    who can carry a concealed weapon," said Kamala Harris, who was then the
    California Attorney General.

    I have always wondered how #BlackLivesMatter would view this. After all,
    according to their narrative, cops are just Klansmen with badges who
    habitually gun down unarmed black men. How could we trust such people with
    discretion to determine who may carry a concealed weapon.

    And yet, just yesterday, she tweeted this:

    Today, we remember #MikeBrown and recommit to ensuring truth,
    transparency, and trust in our criminal justice system. #BlackLivesMatter

  • Michael Ejercito||

    So I wonder if any reporter from the network broadcast and print media would
    ask her any of the following questions:

    – If the reason that "[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their
    discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon" is because they
    are just Klansmen with badges, why shouldn't the Stormfront White
    Nationalist Community also get to decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

    – If the reason that "[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their
    discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon" is because they
    habitually gun down unarmed black men, why shouldn't the Crips also get to
    decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

    – Is more black men dead or in prison a worthy price to pay to make lawful
    gun ownership more difficult?

    – Is making lawful gun ownership more difficult a worthy price to pay to put
    more black men in prison?

    – Does some magical guardian fairy turn these Klansmen with badges into
    freedom riders whenever they exercise their "discretion to determine who can
    carry a concealed weapon"?

  • TxJack 112||

    The problem with people like Harris they refuse to admit that when government decides how and where you will be allowed to exercise a right, it is no longer a right but a privilege.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I wonder if there is any racial bias involved.

  • TxJack 112||

    What Harris said is a good example of exactly what is wrong with the progressive left. They believe that judges should decide cases based on emotion and the benefit to society rather than on an impartial interpretation of the law. Just is supposed to be blind which is why the Lady Justice wears a blindfold. However, that is no longer acceptable to the progressive left. Like their view of the Constitution, the law is supposed to be a living, every changing concept that molds itself to the current societal norms which is extremely dangerous on many levels. The clearest example of this mindset is the decisions related to the Travel ban. The decisions of the lower courts and the 9th Circuit were not based on law, but politics and emotion. There is no way to justify holding a politician accountable for comments made while a candidate and completely ignoring the content of the document presented yet that is exactly what they did when the struck down the 2nd and 3rd versions of the ban.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I've just about had it with Willie Brown's whore pushing for victim disarmament. The lesson that's plain for anyone to see from every mass shooting that has ever happened, is that abject helplessness is useless as a survival strategy. Those kids at Parkland died not only because of the shooter, but because of asshole politicians like Harris who prevented anyone in the vicinity from defending them.

    -jcr

  • BBerry12||

    A small request: Just because the anti gun propagandists insist on calling semi automatic rifles "assault weapons" doesn't mean you have to go along with the fiction and parrot their terminology. I expect you to know better.

  • Mark22||

    Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was puzzling. "If Kavanaugh won't even give him a handshake," she tweeted, "how can we believe he would give gun violence victims a fair shake in court?"

    What's "puzzling" about it? Harris lusts after power, and this kind of emotional manipulation works for her base.

  • apedad||

    Actually it only takes one person to initiate major changes in our country.

    Some examples are:

    Oliver Brown
    Ernesto Miranda
    Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe)
    James Obergefell

  • snowhawk||

    Kamala Harris used her office as the AG of Commiefornia criminally to go after David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt for video taping Planed Parenthood Doctors selling baby parts. She did so not on behalf of the people of the State but as a Commiecrat Party friend of Planed Parenthood. She like her replacement the Communist Xavier Becerra have neither been charged over their misuse of the office.

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