Constitution

red tapeLeft-wing blogs are fretting over the potential impact of the incoming new majority Republican House of Representatives upon federal regulations, especially possible Republican use of the “Congressional Review Act.” The law may allow Republicans to limit executive branch regulatory power without going through the ordinary legislative process.

ATF badgeThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF) is considering a pilot program that would require gun dealers in the borders states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California to report each sale of two or more rifles. Jim Pruett of Jim Pruett’s Guns and Ammo in Houston considers such a move simply a back door to gun registration. “It [would go] on record with the ATF forever,” Pruett says of the reported sales. “There’s no mention of purging the system.  So what you basically have is ad-hoc gun registration.”

police carThe capitol city of Texas has added another dimension to the town motto "Keep Austin Weird" with a bizarre crusade against speed traps. After launching his website, SpeedTrapAhead.org three years ago, Lance Mitchell became a burr under the saddle of officials in fast-growing Lakeway, a toney community northwest of Austin, by warning drivers of — well, speed traps ahead. But Mitchell’s persistent crusade has now earned him an arrest and jail time for allegedly violating city signage laws, according to the Dec. 25 Austin American Statesman.

Stephen BreyerAn oft-quoted maxim attributed (dubiously) to Mark Twain instructs writers: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Perhaps Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has been reading the recently published diaries of Twain and has been inspired to weave a little yarn of his own — a story strong on emotion but woefully light on facts.

The federal judiciary has had a chip on its shoulder ever since Alexander Hamilton described it as the “weakest of the three departments of power.” From Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland through to its present day progeny, federal judges consistently misinterpret the Constitution and misinterpret the powers assigned to them therein. In fact, for decades the district courts, courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court have gone out of their way to show that they can obliterate the Constitution just as powerfully as their sister branches.

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