Monday, January 09, 2006

How does Alito justify

a ban on machine guns being overturned but yet approve of a president wiretapping citizens without a warrant?

Alito's positions would indicate that a President has broad authority to do whatever is necessary to protect our "national security," so if Bush were to ban machine guns, would he consider that legal? And if he said yes, then how can he decide what the Constitution means if he is unable to understand its basic tenet of separation of powers? Wartime powers are granted by Congress. Only a judge can approve a wiretap by granting a search warrant. The President seems to think all authority lies in his hands, and the courts and Congress are there to rubber stamp any decision made in the name of "national security." If Judge Alito agrees with this formulation, he is supremely unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice, since he has no idea of the Founders' intent, let alone the meaning of their words.

It is a dangerous slope when judges put politics ahead of the Constitution itself. It is a breeding ground for totalitarianism when a judge does not understand his or her basic reason for existence in our system, and promotes one strong leader over the democracy and weak executive that our Founders wrote into the Constitution. We are seeing now why no oversight and rubber-stamping were so feared by our Founders. You get rampant abuses of power that threaten our way of life.


Blogger E. M. Zanotti said...

Its not a ban on machine guns. It was a FEDERAL ban on machine guns that he overturned under the commerce clause, indicating that the STATES and not the federal government should be the sole regulator of guns. Basically, the commerce clause of the Constitution states that Congress and the Federal government can only regulate areas that involve the movement of goods between the several states. The rest is up to the states to govern. Generally, Congress has to justify an infringement on a states right to govern movement of guns in his state.

Here, Alito sided with states rights, AGAINST the federal government. Its a very originalist measure, and very respectful of the separation of powers between teh states and the federal governmnet. If Alitos positions indicate anything, its that he's respectful of the separation of powers. Bush doesn't ban machine guns, the Congress does, by the way. Bush executes the laws, the Congress makes them.

Wiretapping is complex. Precedent would indicate that the President is wrong, but precedent doesn't take into consideration the war on terror and how its waged.

And does not understanding founders intent really mean someone is unqualified? JP Stevens seldom rules with any consideration to the founders, as does Ginsberg. It isn't originalists that put politics ahead of the Constitution; Scalias record, even, indicates that he doesn't go along with conservative politics: see the medical marijuana cases from last term.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Thad said...

Em, isn't it harmful to our safety to not have the federal government ban machine guns? These are tools of war, not something the average citizen should have. The ban goes back to Hoover. It's an old ban, and because these are tools of war, the federal government has an interest in it. Also, machine guns are only manufactured in certain states, and would have to be shipped across many state lines. Interception of said machine guns could lead to a very violent, very dangerous situation. For instance, thieves could use them to hose down trucks and steal the merchandise. It may seem farfetched, but we're not talking your hunting shotgun here. The right to bear arms only extends so far.

And as for Bush not banning the machine guns, he could A: issue an executive order, which Alito would seem to favor based on his Reagan-era opinions. BTW, Bush took his signing statement opinion to heart, has used it hundreds of times, and used it on the torture bill to say, well, I'll ignore it if I feel like it. It is simply a dangerous position.

8:38 PM  
Blogger E. M. Zanotti said...

The right to bear arms is protected in state constitutions, not the federal one, really. Congress can only legislate things that are pursuant to interstate commerce. In the case Alito was involved in, the federal government specifically sought to regulate guns inside a single state, which it can't do according to the Commerce Power. Certainly, regulating assault weapons is something Congress CAN do, but it has to be uniform, and that law has to pass a very specific test. I don't have a lot of room to explain, but lets just say, its not an easy test to pass.

Bush can't just sign an executive order to ban all assault weapons. Executive orders can only be signed for very specific reasons: a President cannot supercede Congress and Congress cannot supercede the President. The Article I and II powers are very, very detailed.

6:31 PM  

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