Tag Archives: legislature

Gun regulation: pinning States against Federal Government

I came across this very interesting piece of news.  Mississippi and Texas proposed and called for bills to make it illegal to enforce any of the new federal gun control measures.

Mississippi Governor Bryant called for a bill that would make it illegal for state and local enforcement to enforce any executive order from the President.  Similarly, in Texas, State Representative Toth introduced the “Firearms Protection Act.”  The bill would make “any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state’s boundaries” and “anyone trying to enforce a federal gun ban could face felony charges under the proposal.”

The question is, of course, how would a federal statute or executive decision interact with the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  The second amendment provides,

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.

The Supreme Court’s most indicative decisions call for an interesting debate.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the government can enforce several restrictions on the right to bear arms.  Presser v. Illinois, 116 US 252 (1886) (upholding the state’s or Congress’s regulation of militias); Miller v. Texas, 135 US 535 (1894) (upholding the state’s ability to press criminal charges for owning an unlicensed gun);  Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 US 275 (1897) (upholding state’s regulation of concealed weapons); and United States v. Miller, 307 US 174 (1939) (upholding the National Firearms Act which banned the interstate transportation of unregistered Title II weapons).

This, however, does not mean that we would know to what extent a regulation would be constitutional.

via State Lawmakers Say No to President Obamas Gun Control Proposal – ABC News.

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Filed under civil rights, Pending Legislation

AG Holder Letter to 5th Circuit Affirms Judicial Power to Strike Unconstitutional Laws

In a letter Thursday to three federal appeals court judges, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has reiterated what he calls “the long-standing, historical position of the United States regarding judicial review of the constitutionality of federal legislation.”

Although the judicial branch, appropriately, often opts to defer to the judgment of Congress, it nonetheless has the power to strike laws that it determines to be unconstitutional, Holder writes. His unusual letter was requested by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday after President Barack Obama suggested that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the administration’s position in a pending case over the constitutionality of his health care reform law would constitute extraordinary “judicial activism.”

Think Progress provides a link to the AG’s missive (PDF).

“While duly recognizing the courts’ authority to engage in judicial review,” Holder wrote, “the executive branch has often urged courts to respect the legislative judgments of Congress.” Tuesday’s remarks by President Obama, he concludes, “were fully consistent with the principles described herein.”

via AG Holder Letter to 5th Circuit Affirms Judicial Power to Strike Unconstitutional Laws, Backs Obama – News – ABA Journal.

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Filed under civil rights, courts, Judges, Supreme Court