Thursday, August 22, 2019

Red flag laws; Democrats threaten to restructure the Supreme Court

Who among us is not disgusted with senseless mass murders? People demand that something be done to solve this horrible problem. Proposed solutions include weapons and accessories bans, universal background checks, and red flag laws.

Clearly, some people should not have access to guns: the mentally ill, those addicted to drugs or alcohol, people with a history of violence, or those who have displayed suicidal tendencies, etc. Identifying these people is often difficult.

Shortening its summer recess so that it can meet on Sept. 4 to address these tragedies through legislation, the House Judiciary Committee will look at bills addressing high-capacity magazine bans, preventing people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing firearms, and a red flag law to deny firearms to those deemed to be a danger to themselves and/or others.

The New York Times explains that red flag laws “are state laws that authorize courts to issue a special type of protection order, allowing the police to temporarily confiscate firearms from people who are deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or to others.”

Requests for confiscation may come from persons who have legitimate concerns about an individual, such as suicidal tendencies or comments about violence, or actual threats. Authorities may also request such an order.

The key factor in gun violence is the desire to harm or kill people. But keeping guns away from those likely to misuse them may be the most sensible and successful approach to ending or reducing mass shootings. 

These laws must be written and enforced to protect not only the public from potentially violent individuals, but also to protect the Constitutional rights of all individuals.

Without laws that are properly written and executed, all that might be necessary to have police show up at someone’s home, demand or force entry, and confiscate legally owned weapons is an allegation that sounds legitimate to the judge in a red flag action.

Baseless, vindictive allegations of potential violence are an all-too-real possibility. The U.S. Constitution guarantees each of us the right of due process in such cases. Any legal procedure in which allegations are made against an individual must allow the individual to have legal counsel and to be presented with and counter the allegations.

The Indiana red flag law carries protections for citizens concerned about any limitation on their Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. Other state laws may or may not provide these protections. However, every red flag law must protect these rights.

And there must be a significant punishment for fraudulent or baseless referrals for red flag actions. 


Democrats, liberals, socialists – or whatever term may be used to identify today’s radical leftists – are set on changing nearly everything that makes the United States of America the special nation that it is.

Granted, the USA is not perfect. But it also does not require dramatic changes. 

A fairly recent target of the left is the U.S Supreme Court. Since the appointment and approval of two new justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the Court now has an originalist/conservative majority, and that does not sit well with those on the left.

Originalists view the Constitution through its original language and support the principles it emphasized when it was written. This is a significant obstacle to the fundamental transformation of the country the left has in mind.

Five U.S. Senators have expressed their dissatisfaction with certain rulings with which they disagree. They are Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. They feel the High Court suffers from an affliction which must be remedied.

“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it,” according to a legal brief produced by the five senators, as reported by Fox News. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.'”

This not-so-veiled threat assumes that a sufficient outcry of agreement with the senators’ opinion is all that is needed for the U.S. Senate to “restructure” a federal body that is not subservient to the Senate, or even to the whole of the Congress.  The Judicial Branch is co-equal with the Executive and Legislative branches. The senators also mistakenly suggest that their misadventure is something other than “politics” itself.

The essence of the message is that unless the Court makes decisions more politically suitable to these senators and those who think like they do, rather than decisions based upon the laws and/or the Constitution, the senators will somehow act to structure the Court with more liberal justices and fewer originalists.

The Founders provided proper methods for making changes to the federal government, to the Constitution and laws. Loading courts with liberal judges who will make the “right” decisions, such as threatened by the five senators, is not one of them.


Correction: Last week’s column contained a quote attributed to Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. The quote was found in two different sources, but turned out to be a false attribution; she did not say what the quote attributed to her. I regret the error.

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