Friday, August 30, 2019

Why Presser v Illinois is important to Second Amendment Jurisprudence

Ignoring this from the "Second Amendment Jurisprudence" is totally wrong.  The basic gist of the case:
In Presser v. Illinois, the Court sustained an Illinois state statute prohibiting parading with arms by groups other than the organized militia. Herman Presser, who had been convicted of leading armed members of a fraternal organization in a parade, challenged the statute on the grounds that it violated the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.
If that doesn't set off bells in your head that this is important to "Second Amendment Scholarship", then you need to stop pretending to be a "Second Amendment Scholar".
"The plaintiff in error insists that the act of congress requires absolutely all able-bodied citizens of the state, between certain ages, to be enrolled in the militia; that the act of Illinois makes the enrollment dependent on the necessity for the use of troops to execute the laws and suppress insurrections, and then leaves it discretionary with the governor by proclamation to require such enrollment; that the act of congress requires the entire enrolled militia of the state, with a few exemptions made by it and which may be made by state laws,"

Herman Presser was using the "unorganized militia" argument. Presser argues that Illinois law regarding people associating "themselves together as a military company, or to drill or parade with arms without the license of the governor, and declares that no military company shall leave the state with arms and equipments without his consent" violated his Second Amendment right. Unfortunately, the Court said that argument had no legal bearing.

So, while this didn't go to whether there was "an individual right": the fact that Presser was barred from exercising his "Second Amendment right" outside the context of being a member of the active, organized militia pretty much sits square in the arguments made by "Second Amendment Scholars" that this right is related to the militia duty, not personal purposes. The Presser Court made statements such as:
We think it clear that the sections under consideration, which only forbid bodies of men to associate together as military organizations, or to drill or parade with arms in cities and towns unless authorized by law, do not infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

The right voluntarily to associate together as a military company or organization, or to drill or parade with arms, without, and independent of, an act of congress or law of the state authorizing the same, is not an attribute of national citizenship. Military organization and military drill and parade under arms are subjects especially under the control of the government of every country. They cannot be claimed as a right independent of law. Under our political system they are subject to the regulation and control of the state and federal governments, acting in due regard to their respective prerogatives and powers. The constitution and laws of the United States will be searched in vain for any support to the view that these rights are privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States independent of some specific legislation on the subject.

It cannot be successfully questioned that the state governments, unless restrained by their own constitutions, have the power to regulate or prohibit associations and meetings of the people, except in the case of peaceable assemblies to perform the duties or exercise the privileges of citizens of the United States, and have also the power to control and regulate the organization, drilling, and parading of military bodies and associations, except when such bodies or associations, are authorized by the militia laws of the United States. The exercise of this power by the states is necessary to the public peace, safety, and good order. To deny the power would be to deny the right of the state to disperse assemblages organized for sedition and treason, and the right to suppress armed mobs bent on riot and rapine.
So,like the Heller and McDonald cases, there is "nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms." And both decisions made it clear that this list was not exhaustive.

New York's Sullivan Act was enacted in 1911. So, there is nothing in the current canon of US gun laws, including Heller and McDonald, which would preclude strong gun laws. In fact, the Heller and McDonald decisions were so narrow that only an "absolute prohibition" on handguns in the home are prohibited under current law. But looking at how strong some states' prohibition on carrying concealed, that means that Heller and McDonald can be safely ignored.

Unless the issue is an absolute prohibition on handguns in the home for self-defence.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Glasgow University and its "programme of restorative justice".

The major problem with talking about reparations, besides the time factor, is what form would they take? Glasgow Univerity found that donations to the 1866-1880 campaign to build the university's current campus at Gilmorehill incluided 23 people who gave money which had some financial links to the New World slave trade. "Some financial links" is an interesting term: especially since the period in question includes the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The Abolition of Slave Trade Act, which made it illegal to trade slaves throughout the British Empire and banned British ships from involvement in the trade, was passed by the British Parliament on 25 March 1807. Britain officially ended trading slaves on 1 March 1808 (the slave trade still went on illegally for some time). Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, with exceptions provided for the East India Company, Ceylon, and Saint Helena. Those exceptions were eliminated in 1843. Slavery was still practised in the United States until the end of the US Civil War in 1865.

While illegal, slavery is still practised in the world, which is something any serious discussion of this topic needs to include. Likewise, slavery took many different forms. Both issues are something that any realistic discussion of this topic needs to address.

Glasgow University isn't the only academic institution in United Kingdom to look into how it profited from the slave economy. Yet Glasgow University also points out that it supported abolition. So, there were two aspects of this. The University "profited" from the slave trade while condemning that trade.

On the other hand, "restorative justice" seems to be looking into the system of forced labour, which I hope includes people who went as "indentured servants" or were transported for "criminal offences".

Anyway, it sounds as if the real outcome of this will indeed be to promote discussion of the topic, which has pretty much been buried in both the US and UK. we could get into a debate about which culture has minimised the role of slavery in its development. Slavery did indeed contribute greatly to the prosperity of those countries, along with western society.

I think the bottom line is that any "reparations" or "restorative justice" is likely to come in the form of an acknowledgement of the role of slavery in Western Society, not monetary. Maybe there might be some social reforms, but I wouldn't be too hopeful about that.

 But addressing this topic in a candid and honest way might indeed be the best course of action for any 'restorative justice".

See also:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Too much confusion about immigration laws all around.

OK, this is one of the more complex aspects of law and most people have no idea that some things are a lot more complex than they appear. People talk about the "dreamers" as if they were like the people in Britain who were "Windrushed".

I have no sympathy for the Dreamers, but I have a lot of sympathy for the victims of a "Windrush".

But any serious discussion of immigration law requires some explanation. This is highly simplistic, but it gives an idea of how all this works.

First principle is that only citizens of a nation have a right to enter and exit the nation freely under international law. Everybody else enters and exits a foreign nation does so under condition. It is not a right for someone to enter a foreign country: especially unlawfully.

There are two ways to get citizenship: by birth or naturalisation. Birth can work by jus soli or jus sanguinus.The United States uses jus soli, which means someone has citizenship merely by being born inside the US. It is in the Constitution (14th Amendment).

Like most countries, the United States also has jus sanguinus, which means that you can have citizenship through your parents registering your foreign birth. People can inherit citizenship depending on the other countries' laws (e.g, Italy, Ireland, The United Kingdom, etc.).

Most countries have combinations of both jus soli or jus sanguinus. Some do it in such a way so that simply being born in a country does not result in citizenship (Ireland now requires at least one parent is an Irish Citizen or resident alien for citizenship). The US can't do this without changing the Constitution to require some parental connection to the United States. That was something that made sense after emancipation of the slaves, but doesn't make sense now.

The US is one place where the laws are fairly static, for what that is worth. One cannot lose, or renounce, citizenship without some serious consequences. The people who usually lose citizenship are people who became citizens under fraudulent circumstances (e.g, war criminals).

Another thing to explain is that Asylum is regulated by International law.
Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” The United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol define a refugee as a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Congress incorporated this definition into U.S. immigration law in the Refugee Act of 1980.
Asylum is an incredibly complex topic. I could easily do a very large book on the topic. The bottom line here is that not everyone qualifies as a refugee: no matter how sad their story may be. People escaping Central America's gang violence is a case in point: especially since most of those gangs were formed in the US!

Coming to the US to escape gangs in Central America makes as much sense as going to Sicily to escape the Mafia.

I'll add in that A valid passport is required for entry into most foreign countries. More than 80% of all countries in the world require a passport for entry. Some countries require foreign nationals to have a visa. Even if a passport is not required for entrance into a foreign country, it is required to re-enter the United States in most cases. Additionally, there are visa requirements for entry into the US for some foreign nationals. Not having the proper visa is another violation of immigration law.

Lack of the proper documentation as a foreigner means the person is in violation of immigration laws and unlawfully present in the country.

As I said, this is highly simplistic, but it explains the basics.

The real bottom line is that the law is the law. It doesn't matter whether one agrees with it or not. One must obey the law as is.

Or work to change it.

See also: