Archive for the 'congress' Category

Jared Polis Unimpressed By Colorado’s New Top Drug Cop

Posted by on Feb 29 2012 | boulder, congress, Drug Policy, federalism, PPC, War on Drugs

The Denver Post’s crime blog, cleverly called The Rap Sheet yesterday introduced readers to the new chief of the Denver office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Colorado Congressman Jared Polis, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee is, to say the least, unimpressed with Colorado’s new head federal drug warrior. Here’s what Jared has to say on his facebook page:

There are so many things wrong with (new regional Drug Enforcement Agency Director) Agent Roach’s approach in today’s Denver Post article. I’ll call her soon to discuss my concerns. Let me know yours. In this article she manages to insult not just my hometown of Boulder but our state Capital of Denver and so many other cities in Colorado: “Right now, she is choosing a city for her husband and two children to live in where no marijuana dispensaries are allowed.”

Her choice of where to live in our state is absolutely her own decision (though I question her judgment, she is entitled to her decision) but to publicly state shortly after arriving in a state that living in our premier city and many of our great towns is outright unacceptable to you is nothing short of an affront to our entire state.

As for her judgment, why should it matter if there is a dispensary across town? I mean, by all means don’t get a place next to a dispensary if you dislike them so intensely, but who cares if there is one somewhere else in town? Personally as a father, I would much rather have a well-regulated dispensary as a neighbor than a seedy liquor store, but neither one would absolutely disqualify an otherwise perfect place to live with good schools and a safe neighborhood.

Then Agent Roach just gets, well, weird: “People are not taking into account what can happen to those who are growing it (marijuana). There are homes with mold and water damage in the hundreds of thousands.” Oh my. That’s just a very strange thing to say. No doubt that some idiots have flooded their basements growing marijuana. No doubt that some idiots have flooded their basements growing tomatoes. I stained my tiles in my living room last year growing narcissus. Ok. So for this we need a federal cop busting people?

I mean, if you are dumb enough to flood your basement or create hundreds of thousands of dollars of mold damage, that is entirely your own fault and federal law enforcement should NOT be in the business of preventing you from ruining your basement. The fact that an opponent of medical marijuana uses arguments like “it causes water damage to homes” shows how bankrupt that side is of facts.

I truly wish Agent Roach well. In her defense, she’s a cop not a public speaker or public relations person, but I hope she is more careful with her words in the future.

She concludes that her goal is to “focus on dismantling the “top echelon” of drug organizations.” And “to strive for the large drug trafficking organizations – not just domestically, but internationally.”

On this, I wish her well. Ironically, Colorado’s legalized and regulated marijuana industry has probably done more damage to large drug trafficking organizations than her work will ever accomplish, but I certainly wish her well in her efforts unless she starts raiding legal Colorado businesses who are abiding by our laws.

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The original meaning of the 14th Amendment regarding interracial marriage

Posted by on Dec 05 2011 | Anti-Semitism, congress, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, federalism, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, History, Racism, supreme court

Over at Balkinization, Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern) has an interesting and thoughtful post on the state of originalism. Synthesizing analysis by Jamal Greene and Jack Balkin, Koppelman writes, “Originalism is fundamentally about a narrative of rhetorical self-identification with the achievements of a founding historical moment. That is the real basis of its power. An originalist argument will be powerful to the extent that can persuade its audience that it can keep faith with that identification.”

Thus, “Originalist argument is an artifact designed to recall the Constitution’s origin and connect what we are doing now with that origin. Once this functional definition of originalism is understood, it follows that the range of possible original arguments is quite broad. It is not, however, infinite.” So, argues Koppelman, the fact that originalists differ among themselves in many important details about what “originalism” really is, is not a fatal flaw. Simiilarly, there are many different things called “aspirin” (e.g., Excedrin, generic products, St. Joseph’s children’s aspirin, etc.), but they all contain acetylsalicylic acid, and they all have a generally similar function. Which particular one you use at a given time will depend on the particular purposes for which it is needed.

I do want to quibble, though, with one particular legal history claim that Koppelman makes: “Thus originalists struggle with the problem whether the general purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment, to mandate the legal equality of blacks, should trump the framers’ specific intention to permit school segregation and miscegenation laws.”  Michael McConnell and Randy Barnett have written on the school segregation issue, but I’d like to add something on miscegenation. I don’t think that the historical record unambiguously supports the claim of a specific intent in the 14th Amendment to allow the continuation of laws against interracial marriage.

We do know for certain that one very specific intention of the 14th Amendment framers was to provide a solid constitutional foundation for the Civil Rights Act of 1866. According to the Act: “All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, . . . as is enjoyed by white citizens. . .”

Early exposition by courts is one source of original public meaning. (Although this source is not always guaranteed to be reliable. See, e.g., the Slaughter-House majority’s dicta). In 1872, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the state’s 1866 constitutional ban on miscegenation  violated the “cardinal principle” of the Civil Rights Act and of the Equal Protection clause. Burns v. State, 48 Ala. 195 (1872). According to the unanimous Burns court, the idea that contracts could be limited to members of the same race was absurd: “Marriage is a civil contract, and in that character alone is dealt with by the municipal law. The same right to make a contract as is enjoyed by white citizens, means the right to make any contract which a white citizen may make. The law intended to destroy the distinctions of race and color in respect to the rights secured by it. It did not aim to create merely an equality of the races in reference to each other. If so, laws prohibiting the races from suing each other, giving evidence for or against, or dealing with one another, would be permissible. The very excess to which such a construction would lead is conclusive against it.”

That same year, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously ruled that  the “the law prohibiting such a [common law] marriage [between a white and a black] had been abrogated by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” Bonds v. Foster, 36 Tex. 68 (1872) (inheritance case). As detailed in Peggy Pascoe’s book, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (2010), in the years after the Civil War, eleven states repealed their bans on interracial marriage.

It was the Indiana Supreme Court  that figured out the way to evade the clear statutory language about the equal right of contract. According to the court, marriage is  ”more than a mere civil contract”; it is an institution fundamental to society. The Indiana court insisted at length that the 14th Amendment had not limited the traditional police power of the states. If Congress could ban states from imposing a racial  mandate on the right to enter a marriage contract, then Congress would (supposedly) have the power to legislate on all aspects of marriage. State v. Gibson, 36 Ind. 389 (1871).

I don’t find the Indiana court’s 1871 reasoning persuasive, and, apparently, neither did the Alabama and Texas Supreme Courts in 1872. But courts cannot stand forever against the sustained will of the electorate. After four losses, the proponents of anti-miscegenation won on their fifth try in the Alabama Supreme Court. When the courts in the various states finally acquiesced to anti-miscegenation laws, Gibson was the essential citation, because it came from a state where slavery had never legally existed. The Texas intermediate Court of Appeals provided the legal reformulation that marriage was “status” and not “contract,” and was therefore not covered by the Civil Rights Act: “Marriage is not a contract protected by the Constitution of the United States, or within the meaning of the Civil Rights Bill. Marriage is more than a contract within the meaning of the act. It is a civil status, left solely by the Federal Constitution and the laws to the discretion of the states, under their general power to regulate their domestic affairs.” Frasher v. State, 3 Tex. App. 263 (Tex. Ct. App. 1877). (The regressive Frasher decision is one more data point in support of the observation in Henry Sumner Maine’s great 1861 book Ancient Law: “we may say that the movement of the progressive societies has hitherto been a movement from Status to Contract.” Maine’s book elaborates in great detail why marriage law fits this paradigm.)

By the time that Plessy v. Ferguson was decided in 1896, the Supreme Court majority, which was willfully oblivious to contemporary social reality (e.g., if blacks consider a segregation mandate to be a “a badge of inferiority,” that is “solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it”) , was also lazily ignorant of legal history: “Laws forbidding the intermarriage of the two races may be said in a technical sense to interfere with the freedom of contact, and yet have been universally recognized as within the police power of the state.” The sole citation for this allegedly “universal” recognition was State v. Gibson. The Court was right that as of 1895, miscegenation laws were constitutionally safe, but the Court seemed quite unaware that during the first years when the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act were the law of the land, the issue was in dispute.

Although the late Professor Pascoe’s book is suffused with critical race/gender theory, readers who find such theories useless will still find Pascoe’s book enormously useful. It is an excellent legal history of anti-miscegenation laws and cases, and not just during Reconstruction. You will learn about the national panic to spread such laws during the early 20th century because the black boxer Jack Johnson (who defeated a string of opponents who were billed as “the Great White Hope”) notoriously consorted with white women; how courts struggled with interpreting miscegenation laws in the West (which were mainly aimed at Asians, and which raised questions such as whether a ban on white marriage to “the Mongolian or Malay races” applied to Filipinos); the NAACP’s political opposition to new miscegenation laws coupled with its great reluctance to mount legal challenges to existing ones; and the extremely risky litigation (not endorsed by NAACP) which led to the landmark 1948 California Supreme Court Perez v. Lippold decision (won mainly on void for vagueness, the fundamental unenumerated right to marry, and First Amendment  free exercise of religion, rather than a categorical attack on all racial discrimination).

Justice Carter’s concurrence in Perez is a good illustration of the main thesis of Koppelman’s post, and of the point made by the second Justice Harlan (and also by Jack Balkin) that our “tradition is a living thing,” in which our national understanding of the original meaning can be deepened by new experiences. Rebutting respondent’s collection of social scientists who contended that race-mixing was destructive to the health of the white race, Justice Carter quoted some essentially similar claims from Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Justice Carter continued: “To bring into issue the correctness of the writings of a madman, a rabble-rouser, a mass-murderer, would be to clothe his utterances with an undeserved aura of respectability and authoritativeness. Let us not forget that this was the man who plunged the world into a war in which, for the third time, Americans fought, bled, and died for the truth of the proposition that all men are created equal.” And so, “In my opinion, the statutes here involved violate the very premise on which this country and its Constitution were built, the very ideas embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the very issue over which the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Second World War were fought, and the spirit in which the Constitution must be interpreted in order that the interpretations will appear as ‘Reason in any part of the World besides.’”

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Congressional hearing on interstate handgun carry reciprocity

Posted by on Sep 14 2011 | congress, federalism, Fourteenth Amendment, guns, McDonald v. City of Chicago, Right to carry

On Tuesday I testified before the U.S. House subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, regarding H.R. 822, which would set up a national system of interstate reciprocity for concealed handgun carry permits. My 24-page written testimony is here. The video of the subcommittee hearing is about and hour and 45 minutes. Nearly all members of the 21-member attended the hearing, and used their opportunity to ask 5 minutes worth of questions. Most of the questions posed to George Mason Law’s Prof. Joyce Malcolm, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, and me, were quite thoughtful. Some congressional hearings are just a form of kabuki theater, but in Tuesday’s hearing, Representatives of both parties, and on both sides of the gun issue, seemed to be sincerely trying to learn more. The bill currently has 243 House co-sponsors.

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Does requiring the people of a state to vote on tax increases violate the Republican Form of Government guarantee?

Posted by on Sep 08 2011 | congress, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Democracy, Election Law, supreme court

That’s the question raised by a lawsuit in Colorado’s federal district court, in the case of Kerr v. Hickenlooper. In an amicus brief, I suggest that the answer is “no.” The brief relies heavily on the scholarship of my Independence Institute colleague Rob Natelson, who happens to be the leading scholarly expert on the Guarantee clause.

In short, the Founders defined a “republic” to include governments such as those of ancient Athens, Carthage, and Sparta, all of which included elements of direct democracy. According to Minor v. Happersett (U.S. 1875), the decision of Congress to admit a state to the Union is conclusive proof that, at the time, the state had a Republican Form of Government. Massachusetts and Rhode Island had referenda when they were admitted. The progressive movement for initiative and referendum began in the last 19th century. Congress chose to admit Oklahoma (1907) which had very strong I&R provisions in its state constitution, and New Mexico (1911), whose statehood constitution specifically provided for the creation of a citizen initiative system.

Courts have held that the Republican Form of Government issue is not justiciable, and enforcement is up to Congress. The amicus brief, however, addresses the merits of the issue.

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What To Do When Congress Won’t Rein In Itself

Posted by on Aug 10 2011 | congress, Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Government Largess, iVoices.org, PPC, U.S. Constitution

I’ve talked a number of times about how we can tackle our federal government’s spending problem. Each time the subject gets brought up, I must make mention of the Constitution’s solution to the problem. Our Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson puts it like this: the Founders envisioned a time when the problem would be Congress itself. So what to do when Congress is out of control and won’t rein in itself? Well then it’s up to the states to take control.

The next logical question is: how do the states take control? Answer: A convention for proposing amendments! The states must come together and address the issue of runaway spending by our runaway Congress. Rob has been talking about this solution for quite some time, but after a couple years of incredibly in-depth scholarship, he’s written his masterpiece for Tennessee Law Review: Proposing Constitutional Amendments By Convention: Rules Governing The Process.

Rob’s article contains the most in-depth look at our Founding era’s historical record on Article V conventions ever put down on paper. I suggest giving it a read if you’d like to become educated on this topic so riddled with fallacies and misconceptions. Additionally, check out this iVoices.org podcast Rob did this morning with my minion. It’s probably the best overview of the subject you could get in around 20 minutes time.

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Cuts? What Cuts?

Posted by on Aug 05 2011 | congress, debt, Economics, Government Largess, PPC

Was anyone out there happy with the debt deal Congress just made? I haven’t seen much in the way of praise for the deal, either from the left or the right. The left doesn’t like the “draconian cuts” made to their beloved social programs, while us free marketers don’t like the complete lack of any cuts at all. See, in Washington, a “cut” is when you don’t spend as much as you originally wanted to. For example, say you were going to spend an extra $1,000 next month. If you decided to take it easy and instead only spend an extra $950 next month, that would be a “cut” in Washington-speak. Despite all the “cuts” the left is wailing about, the federal budget is scheduled to increase next year. And the following year. And the year after that… etc.

In addition to senior fellow and Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson’s severe disappointment with the debt deal, our Barry Fagin is also not impressed. In yesterday’s Colorado Springs Gazette, Barry outlines why he isn’t a fan of the deal and also what we could do to end our perpetual federal spending crisis. Hint: it doesn’t require any action from those spendaholics in Congress.

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Final score on 2d Amendment in the November elections

Posted by on Dec 10 2010 | congress, guns, Politics, Uncategorized

(David Kopel)

Now that all congressional races have been decided, here the final tallies for how the election affected Second Amendment support in Congress, according to the NRA’s top federal lobbyist Chuck Cunningham:

19 of 25 U.S. Senate candidates endorsed by the NRA-Political Victory Fund won their races. The net gain is +7 votes (Ark., N.H., N.D., Oh., Penn., W.V., Wisc.) with no offsetting losses. 

After the 2008 elections, there were 43 Senators with an A rating from NRA, 2 with a B, 9 with a C, 12 with a D, and 34 with an F. The changes in the new Senate will be +7 A, +1 C, –7 D, and –1 F.

The 12 pro-gun Senate freshmen are:  John Boozman (Ark.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Rob Portman (Oh.), Pat Toomey (Penn.), Mike Lee (Utah), Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Ron Johnson (Wisc.).

In the U.S. House, 227 of the 283 endorsed by NRA-PVF won. 

After the 2008 elections, there were 226 Representatives with an A rating, 18 B, 14 C, 22 D-rated, 151 F, and 4 ? (had refused to answer questionaire). The new House will be +36 A, –7 B, - 1 C, –9 D, –16 F, — 3 ?.

There were 29 districts where the grade improved: AZ-1, AZ-5, AR-2, FL-8, FL-22, FL-24, ID-1, IL-8,IL-10, IL-14, IL-17, KS-3, MI-7, NV-3, NH-1, NJ-3, NY-13, NY-19, NY-24, NY-25, NY-29, NC-2, OH-1, OH-15, PA-3, PA-7, PA-8, SC-5 and WA-3. In 3 districts the grade declined: AL-7, HI-1 and LA-2.

The NRA identifies 86 pro-gun House freshmen:  Martha Roby (AL-2), Mo Brooks, (AL-5), Paul Gosar (AZ-1), Ben Quayle (AZ-3), David Schweikert (AZ-5), Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), Jeff Denham (CA-19), Scott Tipton (CO-3), Cory Gardner (CO-4), Steve Southerland (FL-2), Rich Nugent (FL-5), Daniel Webster (FL-8), Dennis Ross (FL-12), Allen West (FL-22), Sandy Adams (FL-24), David Rivera (FL-25), Rob Woodall (GA-7), Austin Scott (GA-8), Raul Labrador (ID-1), Joe Walsh (IL-8), Adam Kinzinger (IL-11), Randy Hultgren (IL-14), Bobby Schilling (IL-17), Marlin Stutzman (IN-3), Todd Rokita (IN-4), Larry Bucshon (IN-8), Todd Young (IN-9), Tim Huelskamp (KS-1), Kevin Yoder (KS-3), Mike Pompeo (KS-4), Jeff Landry (LA-3), Andy Harris (MD-1), Dan Benishek (MI-1), Bill Huizenga (MI-2), Justin Amash (MI-3), Tim Walberg (MI-7), Chip Cravaack (MN-8), Alan Nunnelee (MS-1), Steven Palazzo (MS-4), Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), Billy Long (MO-7), Joe Heck (NV-3), Frank Guinta (NH-1), Charlie Bass (NH-2), Jon Runyan (NJ-3), Steve Pearce (NM-2), Michael Grimm (NY-13), Nan Hayworth (NY-19), Chris Gibson (NY-20), Richard Hanna (NY-24), Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25), Tom Reed (NY-29), Renee Ellmers (NC-2), Rick Berg (ND-AL), Steve Chabot (OH-1), Bill Johnson (OH-6), Steve Stivers (OH-15), Jim Renacci (OH-16), Bob Gibbs (OH-18), James Lankford (OK-5), Mike Kelly (PA-3), Pat Meehan (PA-7), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Tom Marino (PA-10), Lou Barletta (PA-11), Tim Scott (SC-1), Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Trey Gowdy (SC-4), Mick Mulvaney (SC-5), Kristi Noem (SD-AL), Chuck Fleischmann (TN-3), Scott DesJarlais (TN-4), Diane Black (TN-6), Steve Fincher (TN-8), Bill Flores (TX-17), Quico Canseco (TX-23), Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Scott Rigell (VA-2), Rob Hurt (VA-5), Morgan Griffith (VA-9), Jaime Herrera (WA-3), David McKinley (WV-1), Sean Duffy (WI-7) and Reid Ribble (WI-8).


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Amending the Constitution to Save It: The Final Chapter

Posted by on Nov 04 2010 | congress, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, federalism, Government Largess, iVoices.org, PPC, U.S. Constitution

In the first part of our three part iVoices.org podcast series on “Amending the Constitution to Save It,” Senior Fellow Professor Rob Natelson laid out the two ways in which amendments to our constitution can be proposed. The first is the most common. Congress itself proposes amendments to the constitution and passes them in house so to speak. Since the balance of power has shifted heavily towards the federal government and away from the states and people, we should not expect Congress to start passing amendments to the constitution that restricts its own powers. Therefore we are left with the second avenue for proposing amendments – an Article V convention. As Rob explains in the podcast, an Article V convention for proposing amendments is NOT a constitutional convention. What it is however, is a process by which the states themselves can propose amendments and ratify them amongst the states, with no input whatsoever from Congress. Therefore, to rein in our out of control congress and bring the balance of power back towards the states and people, the best way may indeed be for the states to take the lead and do it themselves.

In the second podcast, Professor Natelson discusses the history of conventions, which he reminds us are just another way of saying “meetings.” How many conventions have we had? Was the only convention the most famous one in 1787 in Philadelphia? It turns out that we’ve had many conventions (meetings). Rob also gets into the details of what protects the American people from a possible “runaway” convention. What would stop a convention from convening and instead of addressing the issues it was meant to address, it ended up rewriting the entire constitution? There are safeguards that prevent that from happening. Listen here as Rob goes into the history and nuances of the convention process.

Finally in podcast three, Rob and host Justin Longo put down all the history and theory to get to the nitty gritty details of what a convention would look like today in modern America. What needs to happen first for the States to trigger the convention process? How many delegates would represent each state? How would they be chosen? What role would state governors and the President play? What prevents the States from tackling issues outside the scope of the convention? All of these questions are answered in light of contemporary politics and the Article V process laid out in our constitution. But don’t take my word for it, listen to Rob yourself here.

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2d Amend. Results

Posted by on Nov 02 2010 | congress, guns, Politics

(David Kopel)

Senate: +6

House: +18.75

Governors: +.5

Constitutions: +4

Hawaii Gov. Dem. Abercrombie wins open seat, vacated by Linda Lingle. –75.

Undecided Governor races: Connecticut (potential +1), Repub. Foley leads by 3%, with 87% in. Florida (potential –1), Repub. Sink leads by 1% with 99% in. Minnesota open seat (potential –1), Mark Dayton leads by 1% with 90% in. Oregon (potential +1), Repub. Dudley leads by 2% with 81% in.

Undecided Senate races: Washington (potential +1), Murray (D, F) leads by 1% with 60% in. Colorado (potential +.5), Bennet (D, C) trails by 1% with 77% in. Alaska, Murkowski leading, with 51% in; all candidates are A-rated, but Republican Miller would probably be a more energetic activist.

Ill. Gov. Anti-gun incumbent Quinn hanging on, with 99% counted. Will make passage of licensed carry difficult.

Colorado State House of Representatives: Repubs. take control. So re-districting will be bi-partisan. Bad news for U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D, F), who needs a carefully-drawn district to win in 2012.

From Ben Smith @ Politico: Repubs. now fully control redistricting in Ind., Penn., Ohio, Ala., Mich, Wisc.  My view: RKBA effects unclear, because all those state have lots of strongly pro-2d Amendment Dems. But probably a net plus for RKBA.

Wash. 2. John Koster (R, A) unseats Rick Larsen (D, B-).

Big race on the cusp. Less than 8,000 votes separate Illinois Gov. candidates, with 97% in. If Republican Brady wins, Illinois will get concealed carry.

Ariz. right to hunt and fish: Nearly 90% of precincts in. Losing by 13%. I project defeat.

Minn. 8. Chip Cravaack (A, R) unseats long-term incumbent Jim Oberstar (D, B+). +.25

Conn. Gov. retraction: With 81% of precincts reporting, Republican Tom Foley leads Dem. Dan Malloy by 3%. Possible pro-gun pickup.

Colo. Atty. Gen. Repub. John Suthers re-elected. Fends off challenger who attacked him for filing amicus briefs  against gun control and health control.

Ohio Atty. Gen. Former U.S. Sen. Repub. Mike DeWine wins. Setback for 2d Amendment.

Ariz. 5. David Schweikart (R, A) beats incumbent Harry Mitchell (R, C-). +.5

Mich. 7. Tim Walburg (R, A) ousts Mark Schauer (R, B-).  +.25.

N.Y. 19. Nan Hayworth (R, A) defeats incumbent John Hall (D, F). +1

N.Y. 13. Mike McMahon (D, F) ousted by Mike Grimm (R, A). +1

The official name of R.I. is the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” Voters defeated a proposal to remove the second half of the name. As Brunonian, I am delighted.

N.H. 2. Charlie Bass (R, A) wins open seat vacated by Paul Hode (D, A-).

R.I. Gov. Independent Lincoln Chafee wins open seat. –1

Wash. 3. Open seat of retiring Brian Baird (B in 2008). Won by Jaime Herrera (R, A). +.25 

Nev. Senate: Reid wins. Given a Democratic Senate, very good new for gun owners. Without Reid, the Majority Leader would have been Charles Schumer or Richard Durbin, either of them would be the first Majority Leader who was not only anti-gun, but strongly motivated and well-informed on the issue. Presuming that Reid is re-elected as Majority Leader, this means that both houses of Congress will have pro-gun leadership.

Ill. Sen. Mark Kirk (R, F) wins. Sponsored an “assault weapons” ban in the current Congress. Will be only strongly anti-gun Senator in GOP caucus. At least he’s a staunch critic of United Nations malfeasance.

Right to hunt and fish trailing in Arizona, 56–44. One million votes counted so far.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R, B) ousts Ted Strickland (D, A+). Kasich voted wrong on the “assault weapon” ban in 1994, now claims to have seen the light. -.25

Ark. 2. Tim Griffin (R, A) takes open seat vacated by Vic Snyder (D, F in 2008). +15.25 

 Ohio 15. Steve Stivers (R, A) takes the seat from Mary Jo Kilroy (D, F). +1

 Ohio 1. Steve Chabot (R, A) ousts Steve Driehaus (D, D). +1

 Kan. 3. Dennis Moore (D, F in 2008) is retiring. His wife, Stephene Moore (?) was defeated by Kevin Yoder (R, A). +1

 Conn. Gov. Dan Malloy (D, F) wins. Replaces term-limited Jodi Rell (R, F).

Penn. Senate. Pat Toomey (R, A) wins. Replaces inconsistent Arlen Specter. +.5

Great idea now circulating on Twitter: Replace Eric Holder with Russ Feingold.

Mo. 4. House Armed Services Chair Ike Skelton (D, A) defeated by Vicky Jo Hartzler (R, A).

Fla. 8. Allen West (R, A) unseats Ron Klein (D, F). +1

 N.C. 2. Incumbent Bob Etheridge (D, D) narrowly beaten by Renee Ellmers (R, A). +1

 Cal. Gov. Jerry Brown (D, D+) defeats Meg Whitman (R, C+). No net change from outgoing Gov. Schwarznegger.

Ill. 14. Randy Hultgren (R, A-) vs. unseates Bill Foster (D, D). +1.

 Penn. 8: Repub. Mike Fitzpatrick (R, A) ousts Patrick Murphy (D+). Congratulations to the Snowflakes team! +1

 S.C. 5: House Budget Chairman John Spratt (D, D) defeated by Mick Mulvaney (R, A). Good for 2d Amendment, and the public fisc. +1

Ill. 17. Bobby Schilling (R, A) takes the seat from Phil Hare (D, F). +1

Louisiana. Joseph Cao (R, C) unseated by Cedric Richmond (D, F). First net loss of the evening. -.5

Republicans take State House of Representives in Pennsylvania. Good news for RKBA.

South Carolina and Arkansas Constitutions: Right to hunt and fish amendments have been declared winners. Still awaiting results from similar amendment in Arizona.

Penn. 7. Joe Sestak’s open seat is taken by Pat Meehan (R, A). +1

Kansas Constitution: “Shall the state amend its Constitution to include an individual right to bear arms?” With 19% of precincts reporting, the question leads 87% to 13%. I project that it will win.

Wisc. Sen.  Ron Johnson (R, A) unseats Russ Feingold (D, C). Feingold has been a great leader on many civil liberties issues. I hope he finds a way to stay on the national scene. +.5

N.J. 3. Jon Runyan (R, A) unseats John Adler (D, D). +1

Wisc. Gov. Scott Walker (R, A) wins open seat. Very important. Means that Wisconsin has a very good chance of enacting licensed carry next year.

Penn. 3. Kathy Dahlkemper (D, C) unseated by Mike Kelly (R, A). +.5

Tennessee Constitution. With over half the precincts in, the right to hunt and fish amendment to the state constitution is leading 90% to 10%. I hereby declare it a winner.

Penn. Gov. Tom Corbett (R, A) wins, replacing the retiring Ed Rendell. +1 

N.H. 1. Frank Guinta (R, A) unseats Carol Shea-Porter (D, F).

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick re-elected. Unfortunate.

Kan. Gov. Sam Brownback (R, A) wins. Replaces the Lt. Gov. who succeeded Sebelius and who did not run. +5.

Fla. 2. Alan Southerland (R, A) beats incumbent Alan Boyd (D, D).

N.D. Sen. John Hoeven (R, A) takes seat held by retiring Byron Dorgan (D, D+). +1

Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder (R, refused to answer NRA questionaire) defeats F-rated Dem.

Tenn. Gov. Mike Haslam (R, B-) defeats Mike McWherter (D, C-).

Ark. Gov. Incumbent Mike Beebe (D, A-) beats Jim Keet (R, B+).

Fla. 8. Daniel Webster (R, A) defeats Alan Grayson (D, B). +.25.

W.V. Sen. Manchin (D, A) wins. Takes the seat of the late Robert Byrd. +1

Conn. Sen. Blumenthal (D, F) wins, replacing Chris Dodd. Will be even more of an anti-gun leader.

Ark. Sen. Boozman (R, A) defeats Blanche Lincoln (D, D+). +1.

Fla. 24. Suzanne Kosmas (D, F-rated) loses. +1.

N.H. Gov. Lynch (Dem, C-rated by NRA) re-elected.

Fla. Rubio (R) win. Keeps seat pro-gun.

Missouri. Blunt (R) defeats Carnahan. Keeps seat in pro-gun hands.

N.H. Ayotte (R) wins. Improvement over retiring Judd Gregg (R). +.5

Ohio: Portman (R) defeats former Handgun Control, Inc., board member Lee Fisher. Will replace usually-anti George Voinovich. +1

Kentucky: Rand Paul wins. Replaces retiring Jim Bunning. Will probably be more of a leader on the issue than Bunning was.

Indiana. Dan Coats (R) wins. When previously in the Senate, was sometimes good, but not always. Dem. Brad Ellsworth would have been better. Retiring Sen. Evan Bayh was always bad. +5.

Vermont. Pat Leahy (D) re-elected. Much better to have him as chair or ranking member of Judiciary than Herb Kohl.


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Second Amendment election returns

Posted by on Nov 02 2010 | congress, guns, Politics

(David Kopel)

I’ll be providing them here tonight, once the polls close, and results start coming in. I’ll also be doing updates via Twitter, @davekopel.

Besides the candidate races, there are five important ballot issues. Kansas will be voting on whether to restore the individual right to keep and bear arms to state constitution, undoing the judicial nullification in Salina v. Blaksley (1905). Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee will decide whether to give explicit constitutional protection to the right to hunt and fish.

The Washington Examiner has this useful guide to some of the key races, organized by when the polls close. Some early races to watch, all of them with poll closings at 7 pm. eastern time:

Peninsular Florida, eastern time zone: 22d district (incumb. Dem. Ron Klein) and 24th (incumbent Dem. Suzanne Kosmos), both terrible on gun rights, and both facing pro-gun opponents. 8th District, where incumb. Dem. Alan Grayson has a B rating from the NRA, but his opponent Daniel Webster has an A (and Grayson’s outrageous incivility provides a non-ideological reason to hope for his defeat).

Indiana, central time zone (polls close at 6 p.m. locally). Open seat, with Dem. Brad Ellsworth (perfect record on Second Amendment) vs. Repub. Dan Coats (uneven record). Either would be superior to retiring Evan Bayh, and Coats has a huge lead in the polls.

South Carolina. 5th District, House Budget Chairman John Spratt. By far the most senior and powerful anti-gun congressman who is at serious risk, among the early poll closings.

Virginia, 11th Dist. Incumbent Dem. Gerry Connolly appears to have a tighter race than expected. Michael Bloomberg has been spending heavily on Connolly’s behalf recently. Conventional wisdom says that Connolly survives a wave, but not a tsunami.

Further information on the gun issue in the 2010 election is available in my guides to the House races and the Senate races.


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