Thursday, November 27, 2008

DC--NYC Trip Day 2

Today started the first leg of our DC--NYC trip. I awoke early and Gretchen drove me to the metro so I could catch a train to the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention. After opening remarks by Mitch McConnell (R-Kenutcky), I attended a panel on judicial selection, then listened to an address by Michael Chertoff (Homeland Security Secretary). During lunch we had a panel on the International Religious Freedom Act, which was, for someone like me, an incredibly interesting experience. Next was a panel discussion on the implications of the reaction to climate change. (During this panel, I learned Obama wants to reduce US carbon emissions by 80% of 1991 levels by, I think, 2030. This sounds fantastically great, until one realizes those levels are equivalent to emission levels of such great industrial nations like Angola and Somalia. Ah, pipe dreams that will bankrupt the American economy and send us back to the dark ages: that's change you can believe in.) Next was a panel on the Heller case (Second Amendment case handed down this last term). After listening to the panel, I'm pretty convinced Scalia was wrong and the federal government had the contitutional authority to ban handguns from DC.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the day was the annual dinner. After an exceptional surf and turf meal, we listened to Michael Mukasey (US Attorney General). About twenty minutes into his talk, he began to slur his speech. Ten seconds later, he slumped unconscious over the lecturn. We all gave an exasperated gasp, Secret Service rushed the stage, and people yelled out, "Is there a doctor in the room?" There was, which was lucky because it took paramedics fifteen minutes to arrive. We left after Mukasey was taken to the hospital. He was at work the next afternoon.


Rammells said...

"Scalia was wrong" Blasphemy, Marco!

Interesting, please elaborate. (I actually read the whole opinion and agree, but what do you think?)

Marco & Demaree said...

I should moderate my statement by stating I think Scalia was right in part and wrong in part. He was right when it came to the provision regarding keeping firearms unloaded and therefore completely worthless for any type of home defense. I don't think such a provision is defensible on historical grounds.

I think Scalia was wrong when it came to the ban on hand guns in the home. After finding a personal right to having a gun (which I think is the correct reading of the text -- although it's a very debatable point from an originalist standpoint, and therefore should be left to the political branches), Scalia says a handgun can't be banned essentially because it's the prefered gun type for home defense. (WTH? So what?) I just don't see how you get to where Scalia wants to go from his reasoning; therefore, I can't agree with the handgun conclusion.

(Aside: It breaks my heart to disagree with Scalia since I believe a total handgun ban is complete jackassery and endangers millions of law abiding citizens. As an originalist, however, it doesn't matter what I think about policy, it only matters what I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt using the Constitution's text and history. I think Scalia allowed his policy desires to cloud his judgment on this one.)