On March 13 the Oklahoma House passed House Joint Resolution 1089, sponsored by Rep. Charles Key and Sen. Randy Brogdon, “claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers,” by an overwhelming vote of 92 to 3. Opponents of the measure in the Senate managed to keep it from being debated and voted on before this year’s legislative session ended.
On June 26, by handing down a 5-4 decision in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which had struck down provisions of the District’s Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional. The act restricted residents from owning handguns — except for those “grandfathered” in by registration prior to 1975 or held by active or retired law-enforcement officers. Additionally, the law required that even rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.”
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court, on June 12, struck down major portions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), which created military tribunals to hear the cases of suspected terrorists detained by the U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Bush and his supporters vigorously disagree with the decision, which they have characterized as usurpation of the constitutional powers of the executive and legislative branches by the judicial branch. Although the federal courts are guilty of much unconstitutional meddling, this decision is an important exception, in which the Supreme Court upheld one of the most vital checks against tyranny: the writ of habeas corpus.
The bill amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow the government to engage in massive collection of American citizens’ communications without a search warrant, clearly in violation of the Fourth Amendment, is moving forward in the Senate, after having been passed by the House on June 20. In February, the Senate had passed similar legislation (see Senate vote #25 in “The Freedom Index” in this issue of TNA), but the House did not do likewise and the legislation stalled. More recently a compromise between the Bush administration and congressional leaders breathed new life into the legislation.