Thursday, April 19, 2007

Notes for Posts I will never have the time to research (NRA/ Alberto Gonzales edition)

Second Amendment --- 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.

When the Framers came to discuss the Second Amendment, they were not interested in anyone’s right to shoot animals. They weren’t even concerned with the right of anyone to shoot animals or starve to death.

Nor were they concerned about anyone’s right to defend themselves against violence that may be committed against them by neighbors.

The Second Amendment is radical, not in the right wing way that the NRA states, but in the way that the SDS should have stated.

The purpose of the Second Amendment is to insure that the government does not have a monopoly on firearms.

The purpose is to insure that the people, if they choose to, can organize a militia for their collective defense. And the thing that the Founders thought that the people were most likely to need collective defense against is their own tyrannical government.

A government regulation to try to prevent you from carrying a concealed weapon to church or work or school has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.


Article II; Section IV -The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

"And doesn’t the Constitution specifically limit Congress’s role in removal of United States attorneys to impeaching them or their superiors for high crimes and misdemeanors?" -- Professor Calabresi, New York Times, April 19, 2007

I pulled Professor Calabresi’s quote because it was right in front of me, but I believe it fairly states a view expressed (incorrectly, in my opinion) by many.

My own view is that the purpose of the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” is that it is meant to cover the waterfront. I read it the same way I read “soup to nuts” or “chief cook and bottle washer.”

The flip side to the “unitary theory of the executive,” where the President can do whatever he wants, subject to Congress’s impeachment power, is that Congress is allowed to impeach the President whenever it wants for whatever it can get the requisite number of Senators and Representatives to agree to.

So that if Scooter Libby leaked the name of a CIA agent (never mind that other people on similar tracks were also doing it), then committed perjury about it, and then got convicted, that is an impeachable offense against the Vice President.

Scooter Libby is not a President, Vice President or a civil officer. He was operating under the apparent authority of the Vice President, who should have known and should have stopped him.

So that if Karl Rove deleted 5,000,000 e-mails or even 1 e-mail in violation of a Federal policy, that is an impeachable offense against the President.

There are political reasons not to impeach Presidents for these sorts of things. However, once you start making up new theories like “unitary executive,” Congress needs to have no pity when using the checks and balances given to it by the impeachment power for “misdemeanors”