The following fascinating exchange occurred between Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today on gun control, presumably including Feinstein’s pet legislation to outlaw scary weapons. First, Ted Cruz:
“The question that I would pose to the senior senator from California is,” said Cruz to Feinstein, “Would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment, namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights? Likewise, would she think that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against searches and seizures could properly apply only to the following specified individuals and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?
Notice how Cruz approaches the question of the legislation before them: as a Senator of the United States, whose oath binds him to protect and defend the Constitution. His first concern, therefore, is where it should be — on how the legislation jibes with the Constitution, the rights it enshrines and the limits it imposes on government. Hence the questions about the First and Fourth amendments and the attempt to draw a logical parallel in order to test whether gun control legislation meets constitutional muster.
Call me naive, but isn’t this how the Senate is supposed to operate?
Apparently the whole thing was just too much for Senator Feinstein to bear:
“I’m not a sixth grader,” said Feinstein. “Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. Look, there are other weapons. I’ve been up — I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn’t mean that weapons of war and the Heller decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. And so I — you know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture.”
In other words, “Don’t you dare presume to question me, boy!”
Note how Feinstein replies: outrage at supposed disrespect (“I’ve been here for 20 years! I’ve passed bills!”); an emotional appeal (“I’ve seen dead people! Think of the children!”); and confusing the issue through ignorance (cosmetic features do not a “weapon of war” make, no matter how scary looking). But only once does she touch upon the Constitution, referring to Heller, and she never answers Cruz’s questions.
Memo to Senator Feinstein: You may have been in Washington for a lot of years (too many, if you ask me), you may have sat at one of the constitutional seats of power, maybe even read the Constitution, but you clearly don’t “get it,” and I doubt you’ve ever really thought about it. Your smokescreen reply to your colleague from Texas betrayed the emptiness of your position, its lack of any constitutional legitimacy. It was the bluster of an oligarch unaccustomed to being truly challenged. Senator Cruz was doing exactly what he should be doing, and what you should have been doing for those 20 years you’re so proud of.
I may be, like you, a child of the Golden State, but, right now?
I side with the Lone Star.
via The Weekly Standard, which has video
UPDATE/FLASHBACK: Don’t bother Senator Feinstein with facts, either.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)