Re: Latest Supreme Court Ruling: US v. Lopez

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 16:54:39 MDT

Technotranscendence wrote:
> On Monday, May 22, 2000 12:56 PM Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> > This past monday, in case it wasn't in your local paper (and considering
> they
> > way they lean usually, it probably wasn't), the Supreme Court ruled in
> favor of
> > the defendant, Lopez, in deciding that the Gun-Free School Zones Act is
> > unconstitutional in its overly broad claim under the Commerce Clause. They
> ruled
> > that a person carrying a weapon on school grounds or within 1000 feet of
> school
> > grounds does not fit the definition of engaging in interstate commerce.
> With
> > this ruling, we have one more nail in the coffin of gun control.
> Don't uncork the champaigne too soon. The general mood, as exhibited by
> polls, is still in favor of more gun control. And that particular law was
> heinously stupid. Why does crime X -- whether you agree X should be a crime
> or not -- suddenly become so much worse because it takes place near a
> school? Imagine if all laws were like that. You get caught driving with an
> overdue inspection sticker and you get a higher fine because you're within
> 1K feet of a school. Your dog barks at two a.m. and the judge increases the
> punishment because a high school is nearby.

Thats not even the basis upon which Lopez won. Congress tries to apply
every law it passes in response to the media yellow journalism to
interstate commerce in some respect, because that, in reality is the
only way in which it is capable of federalizing what were formerly state
level crimes (outside of the civil rights amendment).

> I gather such laws arose either to overcome local opposition to the law or
> to make it look like politicians are being tough on crime. I wonder if
> anyone has assessed their impact.

Since US v Lopez first overturned the law in 1995, gun crime in schools
has dropped to its lowest level in decades. The current hysteria over
Columbine and other school shootings is so distanced from reality its

> > The fact this
> > came so soon after the Million Mutha March (oops, make that the 100,000
> mom
> > march) indicates that the conservative block of Rhenquist, O'Connor,
> Kennedy,
> > Scalia, and Thomas that steadily maintains the fundamental principle that
> "Every
> > law enacted by Congress must be based on one or more of its powers
> enumerated by
> > the Constitution", will likely continue on this track when and if it hears
> US v.
> > Emerson next year,
> I would not praise them too highly. In several recent decisions, they
> expanded police powers.

The Miranda ruling was odd, I admit. I would not have been surprised if
they just said that not mirandizing someone was no longer grounds for
dismissal, but removing the requirement entirely was a bit of a reach.
Considering todays education system, you can't expect everyone to know
those rights, although the prevalence of Miranda in tv cop shows has
generated a pretty extensive public knowledge of them.

> > Assuming Bush gets elected, I forsee US. v. Emerson passing the Court with
> a
> > devastating victory for gun owner rights and the 2nd Amendment.
> Assuming he gets elected... But the problem is, a Conservative Court is no
> friend to freedom in general. Surely, we might -- ah, might! -- get some
> gun control removed, but in other areas, such as police power, we might have
> more freedoms curtailed.
> All power to the Libertariat!

The current Court's ruling philosphy seems to be based on literal
interpretation, original intent, that sort of thing. While it does seem
to take a dim view of criminal's rights, it has done very well to hold
up freedom of expression in some areas. For example, just
won a case before the SCOTUS against a law that mandated that they
scramble all of their broadcasts occuring during daytime hours. On the
other hand, everyone BUT Thomas voted to uphold workplace restrictions
on racist speech (while Thomas is a vocal proponent of free speech, I
think his vote was mainly an 'up yours' toward the NAACP and others that
have been out to get him and who opposed his appointment.)

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