Leftists want reasonable gun control. They don’t know what reasonable gun control is, how to implement it, or whether it will do anything…but they do know that without this reasonable gun control (that they don’t know anything about) more people will die and Republicans will be to blame.
"Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people - FAST"
*waits for Republicans who condemned President Obama for his executive orders to start screaming about executive overreach, end-runs around Congress, separation of powers, and violation of the Constitution*
The tl;dr preface to this is that I posted some stuff that made pew pew people very upset. I, like literally all of you, don’t have all the answers to this very unique situation in which we’re the only country that has this easy access to guns and this many shootings, along with people trying to say those two are unrelated.
This is not an anti-gun blog, I post about law school and the lawyering profession. So in that spirit, I would like to talk about the Constitution in light of the MANY misguided comments made.
You see, the Constitution is great and all that, but also, it kinda isn’t. This is coming from an actual lawyer who swore to protect it. Yeah, I will. But it doesn’t mean I think it’s perfect. Neither were the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers were 30, 40-something white dudes basically opening a start-up. And they had to put stuff down. I don’t think they were any smarter or more moral than lots of legal minds we have today. And they definitely were not psychics who could see the future and account for everything. I’m sure they had fun, though.
What makes the Constitution and Constitutional Law so interesting is how the judicial system forces itself to work within it, because yes, you need SOME rules or it’d be CHAOS. It comes down to interpretation.
It’s kind of like this - we have a set of rules in a kindergarten class. And one of them says:
Be Nice to Your Friends.
Solid rule. Now, it does NOT technically say, you can’t take your classmate Billy’s toy. You’re not friends with Billy. You don’t even like the dude. You hate him. He sucks. But then you took his toy, and awesome, there is nothing in the class rules that says you can’t take stuff from classmates. If you really want to get philosophical, you may question whether taking a mind-numbing toy that does no good for childhood development away from a dumb kid who has too many toys anyway would necessary be in violation of “be nice.”
But we all know, this rule will be and should be INTERPRETED to mean many more things: 1) being “nice” includes not taking things that don’t belong to you; and 2) “Friends” extends to classmates in your class, because if we interpreted it as only your friends, that’s just really bad public policy. How do you define “friend”? How would you prove or disprove it? And do we really want kids being shitty to each other for no reason?
The easier thing to do here is to interpret the rule in a way that applies to this situation, which is what SCOTUS most often does. But at some point if you get too many fights about it, you can just make a new rule that says No Taking Things That Don’t Belong To You. No big deal.
So there have been amendments to the Constitution, and many of these amendments, and mixtures thereof, have been used/interpreted to mean a bunch of things. We’ve used it to allow for both shitty and not-shitty things throughout the years. Public sentiment and politics play a large role on this. Plessy v. Ferguson allowed segregation, and Brown v. Board of Education disallowed it. Flippity flop. In other words, it’s not the Constitution and its amendments, but how we decide to interpret it as a country. This definitely had me sort of rolling my eyes in class, because you can see what sort of creative arguments the justices had to make to justify interpreting certain decisions that way. And this is why we have dissents - very long ones - from SCOTUS justices. SCOTUS justices, who (for the most part, ehem) are extremely qualified legal minds, disagree with one another.
Also, amendments get repealed. And I mean…they’re called amendments. The 18th amendment banned drinking and the 21st un-did it. Also, the original frame of the Constitution restricted Congress from limiting importation of SLAVES. We had to get amendments in place to abolish slavery.
Calling the rights given by the Constitution as “God-given” is laughable at best. The Founding Fathers were not deities. They probably never thought we would have transgender people or automatic rifles. For a start-up doc, the Constitution was pretty lacking - for one thing, it didn’t even define who was eligible to vote. So states only allowed white males with property to vote.
So no, I don’t really care for the 2nd Amendment. I know what this means. I don’t think it’s as important a right as the right to be able to walk around, go to country music concerts, send your kids to school, go out to a night club, etc. without the fear that someone might come and shoot semi-automatic rifles at me/my loved ones. It’s not the guns, right, it’s the people. It’s the people who are crazy/evil, except in America it’s shockingly easy for them to get a semi-automatic rifle vs. in another country.
The people who are upset/annoyed with me about this, I get it, but don’t think of the Constitution/any amendment as this immovable, holy thing. It’s not. It’s a set of rules, and rules change.
In June 2016, the Supreme Court ruled 4-4 in a case that challenged Obama’s DACA program. With Trump-nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch, a staunch conservative, now on the court, it is unlikely DACA would survive a Supreme Court challenge.
Before the Supreme Court case, federal Judge Andrew Hansen, ordered a halt to DACA expansion and its companion program, DAPA, which proposed rules for parents of undocumented immigrants. On appeal, the case was assigned to United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which blocked DAPA and DACA expansion in late 2015.
Unfortunately, the U.S. government has for many years failed to faithfully enforce our immigration laws. This has inevitably encouraged more and more illegal immigration. DACA is the pinnacle of non-enforcement; not only does it protect illegal immigrants from deportation, it provides benefits that by law are reserved for American citizens and legal immigrants. Why come to the U.S. legally if you can acquire many of the same benefits by coming illegally?
So the federal courts prevented President Obama from implementing the similar “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents” program or DAPA. Like DACA, DAPA provided an administrative amnesty for illegal aliens and gave them work authorizations and access to government benefits.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction entered by a lower federal court against the DAPA program. Under our Constitution, Congress has plenary authority over immigration; the president only has authority that has been delegated to him by Congress. As the Fifth Circuit said, the fact that the president declined to enforce the law and remove illegal aliens “does not transform presence deemed unlawful by Congress into lawful presence and confer eligibility for otherwise unavailable benefits based on that change.” Obama acted beyond his constitutional authority when he provided through DAPA pseudo-amnesty and government benefits that had not been authorized by Congress.
The DACA program suffers from exactly the same constitutional infirmity. The place to have the debate about what to do about illegal aliens who were minors when they came to this country is in the halls of Congress, not the White House. Failure to correct this overreach will only set a dangerous precedent that weakens our constitutional balance of powers. (Hot Air)
In 1838, Representative William Graves of Kentucky shot and killed Representative Jonathan Cilley of Maine in a duel at the Bladensburg dueling grounds in Maryland.
Although duels had been seen as demonstrations of bravery and honor, they became an unacceptable way to resolve disputes. Members of Congress introduced two amendments to forbid duelists from holding public office, neither succeeded.
The best part about being in law school is knowing all the laws.
I slowly rolled down my window as the cop approached, careful to keep my hands where he could see them on the steering wheel.
“Registration and license,” the officer commanded.
As I made my way to the glove box, all I could think about was how people in arid areas of the United States probably get less utility out of their glove box because they never really need to store gloves in there for colder seasons, unless, of course, their use of gloves doesn’t go hand-in-hand with the climate, but rather for gripping or style reasons.
I handed the documents to him in silence, careful to scowl at the officer just enough for him to notice but not enough for him to get angry enough to scowl back. I had won the scowl-off.
“Do you know how fast you were going?” the policeman asked, leaning down to peer into my mysterious dark green eyes.
I breathed in deeply, filling my lungs to the brim with O2 and car air freshener. This was my moment.
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed by Congress on September 25, 1789 A.D.”
On this day in 1789,
the first Congress of the United States met at Federal Hall, 26 Wall
Street, New York City.
The Congress comprises two houses - the Senate, which at this point had 21 senators, and the House of
Representatives, of which there were originally 58 members. The first Congress lasted until March 3rd 1791, spanning the first two years of George Washington’s presidency. The
Speaker of the House was Frederick Muhlenberg, and the President of the
Senate was, per the Constitution, Vice President John Adams. In the early stages of the American republic, there were no coherent and defined political parties, and Congress was simply divided between
those who supported the Washington administration and those who did not, with the supporters holding a majority in each house. The first Congresss’ main accomplishments include passing the first ten amendments to the Constitution - known as the Bill of Rights - establishing the United States Census, creating
Washington D.C. as the national capital, establishing the Departments of
State, War and Treasury, and creating the Supreme Court through the 1789
Judiciary Act. The first meeting of Congress officially created the government set
out in the Constitution, which had been ratified in 1788, and thus marks the day the Constitution was put
“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of
the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of
Representatives” - Article I, Section I, Clause I of the United States Constitution
Please talk to me about the relationship between Madison and Jefferson!
Could you be less specific? Are you aware that there are entire books written about this?
I can give you the basics, at least. This is off the top of my head, so bear with me.
The two were aware of each other’s presences as early as 1776 (ironically, they were always “connected” in a way, given the familial climate of pre-highways America; Madison and Jefferson both had certain relations to the Pendletons and other mutual acquaintanceships and family members…for example, Jefferson was acquainted with the Reverend James Madison, James Madison, Jr.’s second cousin, quite a while before he got to know James Madison, Jr., and both knew the Randolphs) because they both had a stint in the Virginia Legislature that year. But it was in 1779, when Governor Jefferson inherited Madison as a part of his council, that they started getting relatively warmer. We can’t know exactly what council Madison may have provided to Governor Jefferson that impressed the latter at the time, but there are signs that this is when their friendship acquired its preliminary spark. I.e., Madison showed some measure of solidarity by being one of the only ones to give Jefferson the benefit of the doubt over fleeing from British raiders. There were a few false alarms of Jefferson getting called to work abroad, during which time the two visited each other intermittently.
It was somewhere around this time that Madison began to garner the vehicular usefulness of having somebody distinguished and accomplished like Jefferson as an ally, so my guess is that he endeavored to instigate the friendship. (Remember that Madison was hella shy, yet was the first one to sign a letter with “Your Friend,” rather than, “Your Obedient Servant,” which back then was a big deal). Jefferson sailed off to Paris shortly thereafter, but Madison wrote to him pretty soon and relatively often, commentating on both the political and literal climate; however, Jefferson was slow to the starting line. He had a tendency to ignore Madison’s early letters, not getting to them until /months/ after initially receiving them, if ever at all, (incidentally, this was a rule when Madison tried to push pecuniary policy because Jefferson didn’t know jack crap about it), which Madison took note of. He probed Jefferson by mentioning these silent patches with something to the effect of, “If your excellency has received these correspondences, I have received no indication of it.” To me, the flowery endearment speaks to how /badly/ Madison wanted this to work out for himself. As a manipulative collaborator and a details man, a conspicuous and impulsive figurehead icon like Jefferson would be perfect for his political machinations, and he knew it. To me that explains why somebody who is apparently so painfully timid would try so hard to strike up conversation with an established superior politician.
Eventually, the correspondence picked up a little, but Jefferson was mostly too concerned over crying about Maria Cosway, and Madison was dealing with political turmoil at home (war and taxes and requisites and conventions and ew) for it to really flourish. Over the years that Jefferson was abroad, their letters were sporadically exchanged, with periodic and mysterious patches of silence going on for sometimes as long as six to eight months. Nonetheless, Jefferson was still buying books and sending books for Madison, many of which the latter used in his studious preparation regime for the Constitutional Convention.
The two didn’t really get all that close until Jefferson got back from Paris. Before then, the latter caused some problems for Madison by purposefully inciting the circulation of a correspondence he had written saying that states shouldn’t ratify the Constitution unless there was a conditional agreement for a Bill of Rights. Madison had to put words in Jefferson’s mouth for the good of the order (by pointing out that Jefferson wasn’t even in America, first of all, and second of all, he had Washington on his side, so who cares what Jefferson thinks?), something that would become a trend in their relationship for years to come, because Jefferson had a habit of passively screwing things up by expounding his feelings in many different underhanded ways. At this point, the two weren’t really interdependent–both had noticeably different ideas and it was only by their mutual tolerance and gentlemanliness that there wasn’t a falling out right then and there. Jefferson liked Shay’s Rebellion, which Madison didn’t, and also disliked the Constitution, which Madison largely framed, and that led to one or two issues–namely that Jefferson was campaigning against Madison’s grand project behind his back. Luckily, needless to say, Madison triumphed in the end with his comrades in getting the Constitution through to Congress, largely by recognizing the benefit of a Bill of Rights, something that appeased Jefferson, but did not (NOT) require Jefferson’s probing to get a hold of. It’s often said that Jefferson “talked Madison into” the Bill of Rights, but in reality Madison was moved to action by a gradual conclusion that the document would ensure domestic unity without necessarily taking away from the federal power instilled by the Constitution that he fought so hard for (and who wants to keep listening to all that southern butthurt anyway?).
When Jefferson returned from France, Madison had him over for a while and caught him up on what happened during his absence–by now, Madison was all ready weary of the implications coming to light in the Federalist party (read: screwing over original bond holders, many of whom were veteran soldiers, with a plan for redemption of public credit), and was convinced by secessionist sentiments to move toward the Bill of Rights, making it easier to congeal with Jefferson’s intrinsic sentiments. The reason I point this out again is because I so desperately want people to stop believing, with virtually no legit historical evidence, that Jefferson had //anything to do// with the shift in Madison’s political alliance. (Also Madison was never Jefferson’s “protege”??? Please stop saying that???)
From them on, the relationship became progressively more political and symbiotic. For the rest of his life, Jefferson relied on Madison to make important decisions and advise many of his publications and actions (even before he returned to America, Jefferson had sent his draft of Notes on the State of Virginia and explicitly informed Madison that his was the only advice that he cared about; later on, Madison would be coerced to revise and edit/withhold many of Jefferson’s papers, including his personal letters, and the Kentucky Plan, and as President, Jefferson expressly refused to make a single decision unless Madison was present in the cabinet). Tellingly enough, some of the lowest political points that Jefferson had post-Paris ambassadorship were incidences in which Madison had zero involvement, such as the prosecution of Samuel Chase, and the prosecution of Aaron Burr. Conversely, on the few occasions that something went wrong under Madison’s supervision, such as the Embargo Act (honestly I can’t even think of anything else right now), Jefferson received the blame for it and simultaneously gave no indication whatsoever that he minded the misdirection at all. That’s either a) because he had these grandiose notions that he contributed as much to the pragmatic decision-making as Madison did (he basically said at some point that his administration was as much as Madison’s as it was his own because he hardly made any moves with Madison’s council), or b) he really thought Madison could do no wrong and refused to point a finger because it was /everybody else’s fault/.
If you think I’m kidding, Jefferson legit thought Madison was a godsend. Some of his appraisals include calling Madison “the greatest man in the world,” the “father of agriculture,” a “pillar of happiness,” and so on and so forth. Jefferson put in Madison’s name to become a member of the American Philosophical Society, tried /repeatedly/ to have Madison buy/rent property near/with him (including having him stay in the Executive Mansion while Jefferson was president, which didn’t happen), and unquestioningly entrusted the care and education of one of his nephews entirely to Madison while he was away. He also assumed that Madison wrote pretty much 90% of the Federalist Papers, because he happened to think that they were a work of genius, and couldn’t imagine that anything he read that he appreciated could have been penned by anybody beside his best bud.
Now, there’s a whole other world of discussion on why this historical collaboration was /so/ successful, but to say it simply, Jefferson’s and Madison’s psyches were compositely made for each other. Jefferson was everything that Madison wasn’t–conspicuous, impulsive, wistful, sentimental, dramatic, volatile, eccentric, and imaginative. Meanwhile, Madison was quiet, strategic, pragmatic, austere, shy, and barely noticeable at all. Madison’s entire political career consisted of his purposefully identifying the impactful traits in others that he inherently lacked, whether it be genetic or psychological, and digging his heels into the subsequent alliance in order to convey his political maneuvers. Jefferson fell under Madison’s spell and was at the latter’s disposal ever since–there’s a conspicuous shift in their correspondence wherein Madison was compulsively corresponding with Jefferson in hopes of garnering some telling response, to little avail, to where the roles are reversed and suddenly it’s Jefferson who’s feeding into the friendship and Madison becomes the reticent and cerebral counterweight. The relationship lasted as long as it did–fifty years, twelve hundred letters’ worth of time–because Madison never lost his political edge with Jefferson in the backseat. He never lost control. The falling outs with Hamilton and Washington, on the other hand, are telling of his stratagem because they occurred at moments wherein Madison began to disagree with their fundamental political philosophies–Hamilton and Washington, as some point, became out of control. The symbiosis wasn’t there, so Madison walked away from the kinship because he could no longer get things done with it. He then subsequently showed little emotional upset over these schisms (contrast Hamilton, who wrote twenty pages of butthurt about it to Edward Carrington, and Jefferson, who called Washington a whore at some point). Jefferson was useful for the purposes of replacement, and Madison never lost his control. As far as correspondences and testimonials tell us, their friendship lasted all fifty years virtually uninterrupted, no turmoil the likes of the Jefferson-Adams love/hate, or the periodic problems Hamilton had with Washington, for example. All the while, Madison operated under the guise of subordination to Jefferson, sometimes blatantly to the latter’s face, because this was both convenient for him and an effort to maintain the latter’s sense of individuality enough to keep the inauthenticity down. Now, I’m not saying that Madison had zero genuine feelings for Jefferson. I’m sure he did. I’m sure there was a lot of sincerity in the spark between them. But all I’m saying is, if Jefferson ever indicated that he would irrevocably split from Madison’s stringent goal of keeping the Union together for as long as possible, Madison would have dumped him on the sidewalk in a hot second.
A lot of people were fascinated about this collaboration. Plenty of firsthand observers commented on the differences and similarities between the two men, including John Quincy Adams, who famously likened their linkage to the “mysterious” movements of “magnets” or whatever. It makes sense because, after all, these two lovebirds noticeably accomplished a lot together, almost always in sync–starting up the Democratic-Republican Party, piecing together the National Gazette, publishing the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, press wars, covert intelligence, the presidency, et cetera. Joseph J. Ellis actually basically said that he thought the relationship was kind of boring because it was so damn perfect. Where’s the fun in zero drama whatsoever?
Side note, these two got arrested together once as well.
Anyways, like I said there are books. Written. For you and me, about this. I strongly suggest picking one up, particularly “Madison and Jefferson” by Andrew Berstein and Nancy Isenberg, and if you can get your hands on “Republic of Letters: the Complete Correspondence Between Jefferson and Madison,” I would also recommend that, the physical copies, because there’s a lot of editor incite into the origin and accomplishments of the collaboration. Much more than I can /possibly/ articulate to you on social media. It’s also late at night and I’m barely rereading this, so there are probably many factual, chronological, and grammatical mistakes littered throughout. But hopefully you have a gist. If you actually read it.