The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is spending billions of dollars to install naked full-body scanners at airports, and millions of Americans are facing the humiliation of either a virtual strip search or a private-parts pat-down in order to fly. A regrettable but unavoidable development, right? After all, sacrificing one's dignity, privacy, and constitutional rights is a small price to pay for airline security. That's the government's line anyway. In fact, as far as Department Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano is concerned, this is just the start; travelers using mass transit, trains, and boats should also expect soon to experience the same treatment. And after that? Why not the same for bus stations, and portable scanners and pat-downs for random highway stops of motorists?
Advocates of the right to keep and bear arms have long maintained that the text of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”) is not that hard to understand: The right to self-defense is among the chief enumerated rights of all American citizens.
The Pentagon finally completed its year-long study of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy yesterday. While some assert that the results of the study confirm that there are minimal risks associated with repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Fox News explains, “a drilldown into the report shows some concerns about a hasty end to the 15-year policy.”
You win some; you lose some. In October, a federal judge in Michigan dismissed a lawsuit challenging ObamaCare’s individual mandate, arguing that Congress has the power to impose such a mandate under the Commerce Clause. A week later a federal judge in Florida permitted a similar lawsuit to proceed because he believed that the individual mandate stretched the Commerce Clause beyond the breaking point, saying that for him it “is not even a close call.” A Virginia federal judge had previously permitted another lawsuit to proceed on similar grounds.
Given the quantity of items planned for this year’s lame-duck session, it is imperative to keep up with the items addressed in the final month of the 111th Congress on a regular basis. Here is a quick analysis of what the lame-duck session has covered thus far, and what is on the agenda for today.