Of course @HillaryClinton can’t say if bearing arms is a constitutional right.

June 5, 2016
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“I support… Which answer do you want?”

That would require her to have read and actually understood the document, instead of just paying it cursory lip service:

Hillary Clinton couldn’t definitively say Sunday that the Second Amendment of the Constitution guaranteed the right to bear arms during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

Republican rival Donald Trump has charged that Clinton wants to abolish the amendment. While Stephanopoulos said he knew that wasn’t true, he pressed her on her gun views that have increasingly gone to the left.

“Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right, that it’s not linked to service in a militia?” he asked.

“I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice Scalia, and there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulations,” she said. “So I believe we can have common-sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment.”

She then went on to blather more about “common sense” and “reasonable” regulations, but, to Stephanopoulos’ credit, he didn’t let her off the hook, pressing her about whether the right to bear arms is individual.

And, of course, the answer is “yes, it is an individual right.” Even A-level progressive constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe agrees with that:

“My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Professor Tribe said. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.”

And he’s not the only one, as you’ll see at the article.

But Hillary is in a bit of a pickle: On the one hand, as a good Progressive, she thinks the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the doctrine of natural rights that lie behind them and were at the core of the American Founding, have been made obsolete by the march of History. In fact, they positively get in the way of the better managed society (managed by progressive experts, of course) we need to head toward. The right to self-defense is one of those bothersome natural rights. If Hillary came out and said an unequivocal “yes,” then she risks alienating her progressive-Socialist base.

On the other hand, Hillary needs to retain traditional Democrat voters, who also happen to like their guns and think it’s their business and no one else’s if they own won. Trump strongly appeals to a large swathe of these voters, and Lady Macbeth risks losing them if she gives in to her inner gun-grabber.

Hence the clumsy evasions. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

I’ll just sit back and enjoy watching Her Inevitableness squirm. smiley popcorn

PS: If you want to read an excellent book about the right to bear arms as understood at the time of the Constitution’s writing, I can recommend “The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms” by Stephen Halbrook.


Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) apparently has trouble with the Constitution

July 13, 2014

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So, I’m enjoying a quiet morning and reading an article on the reactions of the various candidates for the US Senate from Alaska to the Hobby Lobby decision, when I come across this howler from the incumbent, Mark Begich:

“I believe people, not corporations, have a right to practice their constitutional right to freedom of religion, but not at the expense of others,” said Begich.

Sigh.

It’s tough to decide whether Senator Begich, whose seat is not secure, is just ignorant of what the Supreme Court decided, the Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or if he’s a desperate hack just reciting DNC talking points. Of course, both could be true. But the key to that quote above is the senator’s odd belief that, upon forming a corporation, individuals somehow give up their natural rights.

Senator Begich, meet the First Amendment. First Amendment, meet Senator Begich:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The right to peaceably assemble has been held to include the right to freely associate. See, for example, NAACP v. Alabama (1958), which held, in effect, that individuals do not give up their rights when they form an association (1). And a corporation is an association of individuals with rights and inherits those rights:

Corporations have rights because natural persons have rights. It is sometimes said that corporations are “creations of the state,” but that’s not really true. Corporations are created by people — they are merely recognized by the state. 

To deny the rights of a “legal person,” such as a corporation, is no different than denying those rights to the individuals who own that corporation. Perhaps the newspaper editors of Senator Begich’s home state would like to ask him if their papers, in his view, lack the rights of free speech and freedom of the press, also recognized by the First Amendment, simply because they’re incorporated businesses. The answer should be interesting.

PS: Democrats sure have a problem with that whole freedom and democracy thing, don’t they? Why, yes. Yes they do.

Footnote:
(1) In short, the state of Alabama demanded the NAACP surrender its membership lists. The NAACP argued –correctly, given the times– that this loss of their members’ privacy would have a chilling affect on their members rights of free speech and free association.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)