Last week, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy unilaterally issued a diktat banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles. Firearms that have been sold legally in Massachusetts for the last 18 years. She claims that she has the authority to make that change in the law without any legislative action. She did it while the legislature was adjourned. She never even asked for legislative input.
But Healy doesn’t stop with abuse of her power to infringe on legislative authority, the separation of powers, and ever more infringements on the Second Amendment. She has equal disdain for the First Amendment.
Healey has also attacked several energy companies, particularly Exxon Mobile, on the shaky political theory that disagreeing on the scientific basis for man-made climate change somehow defrauds investors in Exxon Mobile.
Healey’s demanding that Exxon Mobile produce all documents that have any information about climate change for the last 50 years, pointing the sword of the State’s prosecutorial powers directly at the First Amendment rights of Exxon Mobile. From eagletribune.com(AP):
This past week, Healey and her counterpart in New York — fellow Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — refused to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking records about their investigations into whether Exxon Mobil misled investors about man-made climate change.
The refusal was part of an escalating political fight with the Republican chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas.
Smith is seeking records from Healey and Schneiderman along with nine environmental, scientific and philanthropic organizations.
Remember: the most important First Amendment protections are those for unpopular speech. Anyone who agrees with the State is always protected. Shouting the praises of Hitler or Stalin was always protected in those totalitarian regimes. It is those who disagree who need the First Amendment to protect them.
I don’t expect any immediate result. President Barack Obama has put in place arguably the most partisan Department of Justice in American history since Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. The Obama DOJ has shown that it will delay, obfuscate and lie about matters that a Congressional committee is investigating, if it involves political allies of the President.
The Congress has a duty to investigate these crimes by Healy and others in power. That is what checks and balances in U.S. government are all about. Those checks and balances have been drastically whittled down during the last eight years.
AG Healy is a classic example of the importance of First and Second Amendment rights, and how they are viewed as detrimental limitations by those who desire virtually unlimited political power.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.