Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another political non sequitur

A political conservative, especially in the US, is thought to be pro States' rights. It's the essential everlasting story of the debate in the Federalist Papers: a powerful central government vs. a varied and federalized confederate of experimenting States. Conservatives tend toward the States, where their own clout has impact, and liberals tend toward the centralized government, where their dogma has greater effect.

Well, that's the theory, anyway. In practice, it's anything goes.

Witness the gun lobby. If ever there was a group wrapping themselves in a conservative robe, they're the ones.

But, what's this? They are fighting against States' rights to try to enact a federalized gun law:

Senate Narrowly Defeats Conceal-Carry Measure

An amendment that would have allowed gun owners to carry their weapons across state lines fell just short of passage Wednesday in a vote that revealed deep divisions among the Senate's Democrats.

Supporters included all but two Republicans and 20 Democrats

Despite its defeat, the amendment, sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), demonstrated the continuing power of the National Rifle Association and the gun rights issue in Congress. Rather than a setback, those backing the effort consider the vote a sign of strength for the Second Amendment and are planning more gun-related amendments to other legislation throughout the year.

In a rare instance of their trumpeting states' rights, the liberal Democrats noted that 36 states have specific laws regarding these gun permits. Some bar conceal-carry permits for alcohol abusers and prohibit misdemeanor criminals from carrying weapons.

Guambat reckons it is only the power of the President that has cleared the way for Sotomayor to be a fairly good bet for the Supreme Court.

Anyone paying attention to the hazing ritual of the "Senate confirmation" would have noticed that the prime focus of her grilling was on what her views are on the Second Amendment. The Heller decision clearly established precedent that the Second Amendment is a collective right, not an individual right. Suddenly all the "conservative" crowd ran to the "civil rights" side of the ship, abandoning the libertarian dreams of the lone wolf.

Because Heller specifically left open the issue whether States could have the power to determine whether gun control is an individual or collective right, her views on the subject were the single most important issue before the Senate scrutiny.

As befits a seasoned Supreme Court appointee, she gave nothing away, and, perhaps, in doing so gave hope to the likes of Guambat who reckon the Second Amendment, like the militiamen for whom it was modeled, is a collective right and subject to less-heightened scrutiny and collective regulation.

But wait there's more....

AP is now reporting, NRA steps up Sotomayor fight as Chamber backs her, saying:
the vote on her nomination in its influential evaluations of lawmakers is highly unlikely to prevent Sotomayor from being confirmed in early August. But it amounts to a threat to those considering backing her, which could make the upcoming vote politically tougher for some Republicans and conservative Democrats whose constituents are strong gun rights advocates.


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