Gun Tweet of the Day: Wait…I Didn’t Mean *All* Constitutional Rights!

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We’re pretty sure that the esteemed Professor Tribe had no intention of supporting gun rights when he tweeted the above. At all. Oops.

Thanks to the FPC’s Rob Romano for highlighting an example of one particular constitutional right that was a victim of the filibuster…without provoking any cries of racism or Jim Crow.

But as Justice Clarence Thomas has observed and we’ve seen time and again, the Second Amendment is frequently treated as a second-class right.

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62 COMMENTS

  1. Why does stuff like this keep coming ’round? The matter is simple enough that even I understand: in a democracy, there is room for no other vote than “majority rules”. What is the point of having power if you cannot abuse it?

    • “What is the point of having power if you cannot abuse it?”

      True, but you have to admit, if we get the upcoming ‘NY Pistol’ carry case decided in our favor, we stand on much firmer ground in demanding 50 state reciprocity, just like a driver’s license…

      • “…demanding 50 state reciprocity, just like a driver’s license…”

        Nah. Just like the constitution says.

    • Another term for unlimited power by majority vote is mob rule. The Constitution exists to protect basic human rights no matter how much the majority dislikes them.

      • “The Constitution exists to protect basic human rights no matter how much the majority dislikes them.”

        A common, attractive, yet almost entirely wrong statement.

        Do you have a reference in the constitution that declares majority rule is not the standard means of conducting a representative democracy?*

        The constitution protects human rights through the restrictions established regarding what the central government may not do; i.e. not interfere with the exercise of human rights unless otherwise directed per the constitution.

        *Constitutional amendment process only.

        • Up until the War Of Northern Aggression the constitution also protected states rights. The senate used to be the body representing the states and senators were originally selected by state legislatures, not by a popular vote.

          Individuals had rights and states had rights, but since Lincoln’s War and that supreme court decision about growing your own wheat affecting interstate commerce, no one has rights.

        • “Do you have a reference in the constitution that declares majority rule is not the standard means of conducting a representative democracy?*”
          “*Constitutional amendment process only.”

          It takes a super majority to change the constitution. More, that supermajority requires ratification by the states – and I believe that ratification requires a super majority.

          The nation was never intended to blow before the winds of whimsy, on a majority of 50% +1.

          Further, the Supreme Court is there to help prevent some of that sort of nonsense.

          Maybe it is important to remind people that we DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY. We live in a republic. This republic has borrowed some from democracy, and we use some democratic processes. But, the republic remains a republic.

        • Let’s see, to amend the Constitution takes something like (I can never remember) a 2/3 vote in 75% of the states? Is that “majority rules”? If you think so, remedial 8th grade math for you!

        • Asinine response. The Constitution is meaningless if simple majority (aka, mob) rule is exalted. It’s rendered grotesque if five robed SC statists can dictate unbothered and unanchored by its tenets.

        • “Good thing we live in a constitutional republic and not a democracy.”

          The “Republic” established by the founders remains a democracy. Nothing in our constitution prevents/prohibits majority rule.

          In our Republic, we resolve legislative issues by democratic form (“the vote”). We elect representatives. Representatives vote to represent the will of their (THEIR) people. Legislation is determined by vote counting. Either the majority, or plurality determine the outcome of voting. Whether simple, or super, a majority rules.

          In a pure democracy, everyone has power to directly vote on every matter submitted for approval by the populace. That is, every vote is sent to some central authority where votes are counted; there is no mitigating/filtering of the popular temperament, and majority rules.

          In our Republic the assumption is Representatives and Senators will insert their values as a means of cooling public sentiment that might not result in prudent outcomes. However, there is no mechanism to ensure Representatives and Senators will override the flames and emotions of constituents. When a majority/plurality “the people” and representatives of “the people” combine to ignore first principles, the existence of a Republic (or even a constitution) will do nothing to prevent mob rule (majority rule). Sending individual votes to a representative, then the representative voting IAW the majority position does not remove, overcome, eliminate a democracy. Our Republic only potentially mitigates silly/dangerous stuff.

          Where in our Constitution does it state that the rights of the minority shall never be abused by the majority?

          Yes, we have a democratic republic, or even constitutional republic. But in the end, majority rules, just as in a pure democracy. And so it is, even with our court system, from the local jury, up through the appeals process.

        • The irony of it all is that we read that the Leftists are not the majority of thinking in the nation. If so, how did we get where we are?

    • Exactly. That’s why I am a free market anarchist. No one should non voluntary power have power over anyone but themselves and/or anything but their own property.

      • “No one should non voluntary power have power over anyone but themselves…”

        That’s not fair !

        You are trying to limit my abuse of power.

        You are not a nice person.

      • “A republic helps prevent “tyranny of the majority”.”

        By what mechanism?

        A republic is nothing more than democracy by proxy. A democratic republic remains “democratic”, does it not? Representatives satisfy the majority of voters (in many cases “majority” is “plurality”) in order for the representatives to remain representatives.

        Besides, you missed the gag.

        • Sam I Am,

          “A republic is nothing more than democracy by proxy.”

          Now we are cooking with Crisco! You distilled the entire discussion and debate down to a single sentence of monumental importance.

          The reason that many people were arguing (albeit respectfully) with you is because they were arguing about a theoretical concept rather than the real world. You managed to characterize the entire concept into a single, very profound sentence which captures the real world.

          Kudos to you fine sir!

  2. A seminary professor of mine spent years trying to prove that situational ethics should yeild the same results as faith-based morals. His reasoning, the laws of God are written into each human being’s soul. He never succeeded.

    Goedel developed the proof that no system can be proven within itself. You must step outside the system to prove it is internally consistent.

    Similarly with the US Constitution. As long as we have no single authority that maintains to the original document, we have a relativist interpretation with no internal consistency. The Supreme Court routinely ducks responsibility and clucks like a chicken (did you notice that cross-species reference?) when asked to uphold the original intent. Without a steady reference point, legislators continually erode originalism. Without originalism the system has become unstable.

    • “As long as we have no single authority that maintains to the original document, we have a relativist interpretation with no internal consistency.”

      What we have is an original document to be safeguarded by humans. The document is not problematic; humans are. Eliminate humans, and the problem of human interpretation is rendered moot for all time.

        • “If we eliminate the humans, then Possum will get all the guns. That does not sound safe. ”

          But, there won’t be any humans around. Who cares about safety then?

        • Haz. I’m betting our possum can handle a cutting torch. And his half chimp girlfriend has thumbs.

          ‘King Possum sitting on a throne of guns’.

        • No humans, no F-150s driven by drunk rednecks to run his ass over.

          The Possum might initially think he scored big, but without humans to re-fill those dumpsters with tasty treats, he’ll be one sad marsupial… 🙁

      • That is also true of religion. If humans did not write in their own agenda, religion would work for everyone. The problem is someone has to be in power. While we have had some great leaders in the past, the power hungry leaders in religion want to be in control. The power of religion was made as a check against kings and royals abusing the population. Our form of government was designed to make the different religions play nice with one another(as much as they were convinced they were the only way). The power of the people(granted by God) was written in the BORs so that the government could not run over the people.
        They are trying to redefine the wording of the BORs as and end run around what was written.

        • “They are trying to redefine the wording of the BORs as and end run around what was written.”

          Zackly.

        • Why go to all the trouble to change it, when you can simply ignore it? Shortly, at the rate we’re moving, questioning that will get you disappeared from the discussion.

  3. Often enough bills that purport to “protect” rights actually abridge them. I don’t support elimination of the filibuster for any class of legislation. No sooner than it is done, the left will push through a raft of gun-control bills “to protect citizens right to life” and bills that codify election fraud in the name of a right to free and fair elections.

  4. Laurence Tribe is a great example of the kind of “intellectual” that Adolf Hitler used to justify his actions.

  5. Oh the democrats don’t give a flying flip about ANY constitutional right. They’re only interested in maintaining their power. And right now certain constitutional rights are useful for them to try and get more power. See how the freedom of religion has slowly been fading from democrat talking points when it starts to get to speak against social issues they don’t like.

    • “Firearms in the hands of Possum is probably the safest place they could be.”

      Don’t underestimate such cunning critters.

      • Cunning critters. ? possums .
        Humans fables myths and religions portray that title goest to the snake.
        We dispute that, our short time on this earth has shown us the title of cunning creatures goest to humans.

        • “Cunning critters. ? possums …..We dispute that….”

          See? The fact you can dispute my statement proves you are cunning.

          You sneaky little rat!

  6. @Haz
    “My gun safe requires opposable thumbs to open it.”

    Well, that’s an anti-diversity act if I ever saw one.

  7. The right to drink Dr.Pepper shall not be Infringed.
    As long as it’s in a clear 12 ounce glass, your over 18 years old, poured with the left hand, using distilled water icecubes, hidden from public view, drank with a curly straw, not capable of blowing bubbles, stored in a locked refrigerator, not above 45° nor less then 35°, pass an FBI background check, have never drank Pepsi, get a license to drink it.
    Nothing’s infringing the right, it just has limitations.

  8. “without provoking any cries of racism or Jim Crow.“

    Dude. Stop with the DemsRrealRacist thing. You implicitly are ceding moral authority to the left. It’s ok like guns without needing to use a Marxist framework for criticizing the other side.

    Are pro-life people the real baby killers? That sounds retarded. Saying anti-gun people are racist and Jim Crow and all that jazz is dumb. My family still feels the pain of reconstruction.

    • “Saying anti-gun people are racist and Jim Crow and all that jazz is dumb.”

      No, it isn’t, and I can provide *proof*.

      The first large-scale gun control laws began during the reconstruction, and it was done because frightened whites didn’t want the newly freed blacks to think they could walk around armed as they were.

      A classic example of how gun control has *always* been about making sure the “wrong people” couldn’t get guns.

      Ergo, gun control is actual racism, not the bullshit accusations of ‘racism’ today being flung far and wide…

  9. I think their making cigarette butts stronger.
    When I was18 I could blow the battle ship apart, now I just soak it and hope I drowneded everybody before I flush the toilet .

  10. @Crimson Pirate

    “Individuals had rights and states had rights, but since Lincoln’s War….no one has rights.”

    Note that, as commonly expressed, documents read “The United States are….”. After 1865, we learn “The United States is…”

  11. @Crimson Pirate
    “The nation was never intended to blow before the winds of whimsy, on a majority of 50% 1.”

    Do you have a reference for that statement?

    Again, a republic is democracy via proxy. The only element of the constitution that requires more than a majority vote (too often a plurality), is the amendment process. No other restraint on majority rule exists in the constitution.

    Representatives, from the beginning were elected by majority/plurality, Senators were first appointed, then subject to majority/plurality rule. Presidents were elected by majority/plurality of Electors identified by some unidentified process within the states.

    If Representatives are supposed to only represent the will of the people, how is that “will” established? Hint: by majority/plurality of the voters. If Senators are supposed to represent the individual State (as in the beginning), how was the State to be represented? By loyalty to the governor? By loyalty to the donors who convinced the governor to appoint the Senator (possibly not even a plurality of donors)? Or by loyalty to the voters who, through majority/plurality, or money convinced the donors to pressure the governor? And, importantly, how was legislation supposed to be passed in both the House and Senate? Even the SC operates on “majority rules” (50% 1).

    There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents “majority rules”. The Constitution does not protect the rights of the individual, it establishes a mitigation of tyranny, but not a barrier. Quite simply, if sufficient numbers of voters, Representatives, Senators combine to amend the Constitution such that even the Republic is null and void, such is permitted by said Constitution; hence Franklin’s caution.

    The Constitution makes it difficult for “government” to become tyrannical, but not “the people”.

    • Sam I Am,

      “There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents ‘majority rules’.”

      Actually, there is: it’s called the Bill of Rights–what we often affectionately call “those pesky Constitutional Amendments”.

      For example the First Amendment prevents a law which makes it illegal to petition government for a redress of grievances even if a majority of voters and/or politicians support it. At least on paper. Of course, in the real world, if a solid majority of voters and politicians support such a law, they would pass it and enforce it even though our United States Constitution forbids it. Hence your statement that our nation has devolved into “democracy by proxy” is 1000% accurate.

      • “Actually, there is: it’s called the Bill of Rights–what we often affectionately call “those pesky Constitutional Amendments”.

        For example the First Amendment prevents a law which makes it illegal to petition government for a redress of grievances even if a majority of voters or politicians support it.”

        I think this is where people go off the rails. The First Amendment prohibits government to completely control political speech. However….

        When the super-majority repeals or amends the amendment, “majority rule” is the operator. Meanwhile, as you note, the reality is the proxy voters (elected officials) use simple legislation to bypass the Constitution, daring “the people” to challenge the usurpation. To borrow….”the ride is the punishment”.

        • You’re both barking up the wrong tree. The First Amendment prohibits *Congress* from passing any laws concerning a variety of things, not *government*, state and local governments are not restricted from any such thing. To prevent ANY government from doing something, terminology such as “shall not be infringed” is necessary.

  12. @Hush
    “Sam, you may want to sick the DOIJ on those awful nice(not) people.”

    I called my Congressman and he said, quote: “I’d like to help you son, but you’re too young to vote.” Sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do.

  13. @uncommon_sense

    “The reason that many people were arguing (albeit respectfully) with you is because they were arguing about a theoretical concept…”

    Yes, I am grateful that the discussion was/is respectful; always grateful for that. The downside would be that people think I am unhappy with our form of government, or even in opposition.

    It has been only in the last three years I came to understand that I didn’t really understand my own thinking that in our democratic/constitutional republic there is some sort of inherent talisman that removes “democracy” from the operation of politics.

    The Constitution actually protects/guarantees the rights of anyone no one. The people are the defenders/protectors. If “the people” fail, the nation fails. “The people” have arrived at a point where we outsourced our rights to elected officials.

  14. @LarryinTX
    “Let’s see, to amend the Constitution takes something like (I can never remember) a 2/3 vote in 75% of the states? Is that “majority rules”? If you think so, remedial 8th grade math for you!”

    Please note that in the original comment, I acknowledged the amendment process. However….a super majority is still a majority. Yes, I think a super majority is “majority rules”. The confusion perhaps comes from people thinking “majority rules” as being defined only as 50% plus 1.

    The House of Representative passes legislation by simple majority (50% plus 1). Where did that rule come from? By what authority in the constitution is simple majority sufficient to pass legislation in the House? The Senate passes legislation with super majority (the number of votes to create “super” changed over time). By what authority in the constitution is the Senate establishing a super majority? The constitution does not mandate the internal rules of the House or Senate.

    As for super majority for amendments, that provision in the constitution benefits not only “the minority”, but the majority as well….inserting a caution to be prudent in changing the constitution.

    Elected representatives are vote bundlers of a sort. They read, or otherwise discern, the “will of the people” they represent (expressed as a majority of voters/donors), and vote accordingly. Essentially a pass through of votes, rather than direct voting by the public. But what is really at issue is: does an elected representative owe strict fealty to the majority of those represented, or fealty to the representatives values/principles? The voters, or the nation as a whole? If fealty is due the voters, you have democracy by proxy. If the representative represents first the nation, then the constituency, we have democracy of the elites.

  15. @Jonathan-Houston

    “The Constitution is meaningless if simple majority (aka, mob) rule is exalted. It’s rendered grotesque if five robed SC statists can dictate unbothered and unanchored by its tenets.”

    Just as Franklin admonished.

  16. @Jonathan-Houston

    “The electoral college can prevent majority rule.”

    This can happen from time to time, but it is relatively rare*. However……

    Even the EC is based on “majority rules”. No democratic mechanism can be established where the majority does not rule. The size of the majority can be altered, changed, established, but a majority eventually determines the outcome of the voting. Take a look again at the EC. A majority of EC votes determines a presidential election.

    * 59 elections since 1789. 5 elections where the elected President did not hold the majority public vote.

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