5% of counties in the U.S. contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders.

From the Crime Preventiion Research Center: Murders in United States are very concentrated: 54% of U.S. counties in 2014 had no murders at all; 2% of counties account for 51% of all murders in the U.S.

The murder map:

Note that the counties with the strictest gun control laws and the lowest number of legal gun ownership have the most murders. Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska have heavy legal gun ownership, and very few murders. A majority of counties in those states have no murders at all. Colorado has very few murders outside the urban areas of Denver and Colorado Springs, and lots of guns are legally owned outside those areas. More guns really does mean less crime, especially less murder. I live in the area shown on the murder map between Denver and Colorado Springs where there was one murder in 2005 and none since. It’s an area with lots of guns and several gun ranges.

Almost all murders, I’d bet at least 98%, in Chicago are commited with guns by criminals who are legally prohibited from possessing a gun. Mayor Raum Emmanuel, in his wisdom, is fighting the problem by calling for more gun control laws which will further disarm law-abiding citizens all while having no effect whatsoever on criminals, nor on the murder rate.

49 pages of political grandstanding — UPDATED

That’s a fair description of San Francisco Federal Judge William H. Orrick’s showboating against President Trump’s executive order that existing Federal law [8 U.S.C. 1373] against sanctuary cities be enforced. The law in question was enacted by Congress in 1996. Who was president in 1996? Bill Clinton. Back then Democrats were opposed to illegal immigration, I guess.

Enforcing already existing law is all the executive order in question does, and the judge acknowledges as much in his rendering. It’s proper to call it a rendering because it’s not a legitimate legal ruling; it’s plain and simple a political screed intended to keep Judge Orrick in good standing with San Francisco liberals.

Nowhere in the XO is there an attempt to cut off Federal funds to sanctuary cities. That would require action by Congress. [But three specific Federal grants are already authorized by statute to be withheld]

The news reporting I’ve heard attempts to characterize Judge Orrick’s political statement as a holding prohibiting the Executive Branch from penalizing sanctuary cities because only Congress has that authority.  Again, nowhere in the XO is there an attempt to cut off Federal funds to sanctuary cities. Trump’s XO expressly directs the Justice Department to take actions only insofar as existing law allows. The existing law is 8 U.S.C. §1373 which prohibits state and local governments from preventing local government agencies from communicating with the Federal government regarding the immigration status of any person.

Trump’s XO merely orders the Justice Department to enforce this existing law. Under Section 1373 local officials who violate it presumably may be indicted. The law states that it applies to any “person or entity.”  It would seem to apply to Judge Orrick. If so, his 49-page epistle is not only wrong, but illegal. The U.S. Constitution states that Federal judges are appointed to serve for life, but only “under good behavior.”

There are two reasons why this happened.  It makes Judge Orrick appear to be a good liberal and the media loves it because it purports to discredit President Trump. That’s all it’s about, that’s all that is going on here.  Impeachment of Judge Orrick should be what is going on.

President Trump should not appeal this ruling to the 9th Circuit because that’s just another den of liberals who will uphold it. Instead he should simply rely on the fact that a judicial ruling done without  jurisdiction or authority is a legal nullity.

UPDATE:  Judge who ruled against sanctuary cities order was an Obama campaign bundler

Murder rate jumped in 2016

Three cities, Chicago, Baltimore and Houston responsible of one-half of all murders. The deadly spike concentrated in just a handful of U.S. cities, the deadly spike concentrated in just a handful of U.S. cities.

…just a few U.S. cities played an outsized role in the nationwide uptick in the murder rate in recent years and had a distorting effect on the overall murder rate. Three cities ― Baltimore, Chicago and Houston ― “account for around half of the increase in murder in major cities between 2014 and 2016,”

Chicago had the largest increase at 29%. All cities with spike in the murder rate are run by Democrats, of course. All are “sanctuary cities.”

The taming of the judiciary

How to Actually Fix Scotus by Deion Kathawa is a remarkable piece of writing by a senior at the University of Michigan. If there are more like Deion Kathawa presently hiding out in universities the nation may yet be saved.

Courts and judges became politicized when Democrats figured out that getting friendly left-wing judges to implement their agenda would be a lot easier than trying to persuade Americans to accept it willingly. When I was in law school, several decades ago, it was the common belief that courts only decide “cases and controversies” between litigants. Courts were to constantly make pronouncements of legal principles and leave public policy making to the people through their representatives in the elected branches. Courts were never ever to decide political questions. Those were deemed to be “non-justiciable” as not presenting a justiciable issue for the court to decide.

Judges themselves were thought to be the keepers of this faith by exercising self-imposed judicial restraint. That trust was soon betrayed. Now we have federal judges who think they have the power to overrule the president in deciding immigration enforcement policy. This even though the Constitution gives him that power and the Congress has expressly recognized it by statute.

It’s nuts to claim the 2nd Amendment does not protect our right to an AR-15 rifle

A well educated electorate, being necessary to the proper functioning of a democratic republic, the right of the people to buy and read books, shall not be infringed. — David Kopel

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.  — Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

If David Kopel’s hypothetical were a law or an amendment to the Constitution would anyone believe the right to buy and read books was a collective right only, and that it did not confer any rights upon individual citizens? [Actually, the right to life and to the pursuit of happiness made effective by keeping and bearing arms and reading books, and a slug of other rights, are not bestowed upon us by the Constitution. They are natural rights bestowed upon us by our creator. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence recognizes these rights and prohibits the government from infringing on them]

The “right of the people” in the 2nd Amendment refers to the rights of individuals just as do those same words in the 1st, 4th, 9th and 10th Amendment. All Federal gun cases from the 19th Century either said so explicity or implied so by the factual context of each case. In the 20th Century when classical liberalism gave way to the mindset of modern “progressivism” the true believers looked for any hook they could find to reach the result they wanted, so it became fashionable to claim that the right keep and bear arms was only a collective, not an individual right. The Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller case set things right and it can no longer by argued that the 2nd Amendment protects anything other than an individual right to keep and bear arms.

The nutters in Maryland recently outlawed possession of AR-15 rifles, and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has blessed them for it. The Maryland political thugs, with the approval of the 4th Circuit, reasoned unreasonably that the AR-15 is a military weapon and therefore not covered by the Second Amendment. They either didn’t know or didn’t care that Supreme Court Miller case in 1939 found that a short-barrelled shotgun was not covered by the Second Amendment precisely because it was not a military weapon.

The 1939 Supreme Court, the 4th Circuit, and the thugs in Maryland State government were all wrong on their facts. Shotguns were used by the U.S. MIlitary in WW I and the AR-15 is not used by the military today. The military rifle is the full auto select-fire M16. The AR-15 is a semi-auto civilian version. It could be used by the military but that would make no difference to the 2nd Amendment because this rifle is the modern equivalent of the muskets used by citizens in 1789. It is in common use by citizens.  In fact, it is in such common use that more copies of this rifle are sold annually than the number of Ford F-150 pickup trucks, which is the most popular vehicle not just of trucks but of all passenger vehicles in America.

The Heller decision said guns in common use are protected. Millions of AR-15 rifles are sold in the United States every year. Tens of millions of them are in common use today. They’re used for target shooting, hunting and personal defense. They are almost never used to commit crimes. Criminals prefer handguns.

 

 

United Airlines breached its contract by removing David Dao from his seat

Here’s why, from Roy Spencer:

Because the man had a legal right to keep his seat.

Under United’s Contract Of Carriage (COC) rules (which follow federal rules), a passenger may only be bumped from a flight before they board (Rule 25). After they have taken their seat, Rule 21 is in effect, which would allow security to forcibly remove the passenger for many reasons — none of which includes accommodating last minute needs for a seat for other airline employees (or even overbooking).

The flyer is in a contractual relationship with the airline, and each has rights and responsibilities under that contract. United Express violated the terms of the contract, and injured the passenger in the process.

Yes, Dr. Dao has a shady history. Under the facts here, that is not relevant.

A Primer On Proper and Improper Judicial Reasoning

Kimberly Hively was canned from her adjunct professer job at Ivy Tech College. She’s openly lesbian and figures that’s why she was fired. She filed a lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in hopes of getting her job back, with back pay. Maybe even some puntive damages. You can get that in civil rights cases. Attorneys fee too. Or so she thought. But a trial court pointed out that while the Civil Rights Act does offer a remedy for discrimination on the basis of sex, the courts have long held that since it doesn’t say anything about sexual orientation, which is a trait distinct from one’s sex as either a man or a woman, the statute doesn’t cover it.

But never fear Kimberly, some activst judges are here to help. The case is Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech College of Indiana, U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, April 4, 2017.

Chief Judge Diane Wood delivered the majority opinion, and opened with this:

WOOD, Chief Judge. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers subject to the Act to discrim- inate on the basis of a person’s “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin … .” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). For many years, the courts of appeals of this country understood the prohibition against sex discrimination to exclude discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation. The Supreme Court, however, has never spoken to that question. In this case, we have been asked to take a fresh look at our position in light of developments at the Supreme Court extending over two decades. We have done so, and we conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination. We therefore reverse the district court’s judgment dismissing Kimberly Hively’s suit against Ivy Tech Community College and remand for further proceedings.

Do you see what they just did? The statute doesn’t cover the particular facts of your case, but that’s OK, we’ll fix it for you Kimberly. We won’t let the mere words of the statute deter us, and we won’t let a few decades of stare decisis get in our way either. We are Judges and we don’t intend to be the lackies of legislators. If they won’t act, we will!

Judge Richard Poser agrees wholeheartedly, but he’s much more honest about what he’s doing:

A diehard “originalist” would argue that what was believed in 1964 defines the scope of the statute for as long as the statutory text remains unchanged, and therefore until changed by Congress’s amending or replacing the statute. But as I noted earlier, statutory and constitutional provisions frequently are interpreted on the basis of present need and understanding rather than original meaning. Think for example of Justice Scalia’s decisive fifth vote to hold that burn- ing the American flag as a political protest is protected by the free-speech clause of the First Amendment, provided that it’s your flag and is not burned in circumstances in which the fire might spread. Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990). Burning a flag is not speech in the usual sense and there is no indication that the framers or ratifiers of the First Amendment thought that the word “speech” in the amendment embraced flag burning or other nonverbal methods of communicating.

Or consider the Supreme Court’s holding that the Fourth Amendment requires the issuance of a warrant as a precon- dition to searching a person’s home or arresting him there. E.g., Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13–14 (1948). There is nothing in the amendment about requiring a warrant ever. All that the amendment says about warrants is that general warrants, and warrants that are vague or issued without probable cause, are invalid. In effect the Supreme Court re- wrote the Fourth Amendment, just as it rewrote the First Amendment in the flag-burning cases, and just as it rewrote the Sherman Act, and just as today we are rewriting Title VII. We are Blackstone’s heirs.

Umm,  excuse me Judge, that’s all a lot of…Well, one need not be a “diehard” originalist to believe himself bound by the actual words Congress used in the statute. Any old ordinary originalist would think so. Scalia didn’t have to re-write the law to decide the flag burning case. Speech and non-verbal conduct clearly meant as communication are not distinctly separate things. Requiring a warrant for a search is not too much of a stretch because the 4th Amendment speaks to warrants and says they require a showing of probable cause. It would seem odd that the language of the 4th Amendment could be understood as not requiring a warrant for a search. The stretch of the 4th Amendment that has occurred is to be found in all the exceptions to the warrant requirement that courts have labored to create and justify. Finally, to say that the 2nd Amendment originally did not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms is ridiculous.  Just one reason among many is that the words “of the people” that are contained in the 2nd Amendment clearly refers to the rights of individuals, just as it does in the 1st, 4th, 9th and 10th Amendments.

But thank you Judge Posner, for your honesty. Thank you for admitting that you and your colleagues chose to rewrite the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to reach the result you wanted.

Now comes the wisdom of a good judge:

Judge Diane Sykes in Dissent:

SYKES, Circuit Judge, with whom BAUER and KANNE, Circuit Judges, join, dissenting. Any case heard by the full court is important. This one is momentous. All the more reason to pay careful attention to the limits on the court’s role. The question before the en banc court is one of statuto- ry interpretation. The majority deploys a judge-empowering, common-law decision method that leaves a great deal of room for judicial discretion. So does Judge Posner in his concurrence. Neither is faithful to the statutory text, read fairly, as a reasonable person would have understood it when it was adopted. The result is a statutory amendment courtesy of unelected judges. Judge Posner admits this; he embraces and argues for this conception of judicial power. The majority does not, preferring instead to smuggle in the statutory amendment under cover of an aggressive reading of loosely related Supreme Court precedents. Either way, the result is the same: the circumvention of the legislative pro- cess by which the people govern themselves.

Respect for the constraints imposed on the judiciary by a system of written law must begin with fidelity to the tradi- tional first principle of statutory interpretation: When a statute supplies the rule of decision, our role is to give effect to the enacted text, interpreting the statutory language as a reasonable person would have understood it at the time of enactment. We are not authorized to infuse the text with a new or unconventional meaning or to update it to respond to changed social, economic, or political conditions.

Read the whole thing, particularly Judge Sykes’ Dissent. It’s a primer on what is the proper judicial function in a free society. Judge Sykes, by the way, is on Trump’s list of 20 judges he’d consider for the Supreme Court. Imagine if she replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

From Differing Views on the Role of the Judge, by John M. Walker Jr:

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes emphasized rule of law values and the attendant need for objective standards in statutory interpretation. In Holmes’s view, a government of laws, not men, demanded standards external to judges. These were to be found in the plain meaning of the words actually enacted. “[W]e ask, not what this man meant, but what those words would mean in the mouth of a normal speaker of English, using them in the circumstances in which they were used”

— OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, THE COMMON LAW 41, 44 (1881)

Factually Correct But Not Politically Correct

Next Tuesday is tax day…

The IRS returned a tax return to a man in New Jersey after he apparently answered one of the questions incorrectly. Actually, it was correct in a real sense, just not politically correct.

In response to the question, “Do you have anyone dependent on you?” the man wrote “9.5 million illegal immigrants, 1.1 million crack heads, 3.4 million unemployable scroungers, 80,000 criminals in over 85 prisons, plus 650 idiots in Washington.

The IRS said the answer he gave was unacceptable!
The man responded, “Who did I leave out?”