Nebraska Passes Right to Carry Law, now only two states completely ban carrying handguns

By a 33-12 vote Nebraska senators today passed a concealed handgun law today. The governor has promised to sign the legislation. Only Wisconsin and Illinois completely ban carrying concealed handguns, and twice in the last few years the Wisconsin legislature has passed the law with veto proof margins in both legislative houses only to see one or a couple Democratic legislators switch their votes at the last minute. If Wisconsin Governor Doyle loses re-election or if there are only a couple of vote changes in the state assembly, the next time passage is tried the bill will become law.

One of the problems with the asymmetry in news coverage on guns

One of the problems with essentially only bad news with guns being reported (e.g., like the tragedy in Seattle over the weekend) is that it produces a call for more gun control laws. If the defensive gun uses got coverage or even better cases where people could no longer defend themselves since their guns had been taken away (see a few reported cases from New Orleans), it is possible that these debates would be quite different. In the Seattle case, (e.g., like the tragedy in the attack has created a call for more gun control.

Talk Today at Hillsdale College

I will be giving a talk at Hillsdale College in Southern Michigan later today (1 PM to be exact). Spent most of yesterday visiting with people at the school. It is an interesting place.


Interesting conference on the abortion and crime link

Today we just had an interesting conference on the abortion and crime link. There is a video of the event. We invited all the Americans who had finished work on this topic by the middle of February, so while it might appear that almost everyone who had finished a paper thought that the link between abortion and crime was nonexistent or possibly even positive. There was one paper that claimed to find evidence in favor of Donohue and Levitt, but that when the issues raised by Chris Foote were dealt with the significance of the effect went away. Video is available of the two sessions at the top right of the page.

Labels: , ,

Defensive Gun Use: Stopping a scary home invasion

Here is a dramatic story from Channel 7 (ABC) in Denver. CRAIG, Colo., March 27th:

A 60-year-old Moffat County man was killed during a home invasion shootout in Craig -- except he was the one who was doing the breaking in with a gun.

Police were dispatched to a home in the 800 block of Washington Street at about 5:40 p.m. on Sunday on a report of a home invasion. The 911 dispatcher told officers that shots could be heard from inside the home.

Officers found Mario Vigil lying on a floor outside a bedroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The officers then found the homeowner, 33-year-old Josh Jackson, and his 9-year-old son hiding in a bedroom.

An investigation revealed that Jackson saw Vigil trying to break into the front door with the butt end of a rifle. Jackson grabbed a .410 shotgun and shot the intruder in the chest as he entered the home, but the shot did not stop him, police said.

Jackson and his son ran into a back bedroom and locked the door. Jackson told his son to hide under a bed and then grabbed a 30-06 rifle and started loading it. Police said the intruder then fired two rounds from a 30.30 rifle through the closed bedroom door.

Jackson yelled at him to leave and fired one round from his weapon through the bedroom door into the hallway. The intruder fired two more rounds and then began busting open the bedroom door, police said.

At that point Jackson fired another round, which apparently struck the intruder in the right hip area. The door remained closed and Jackson and his son stayed in the bedroom until officers arrived.

Police determined that earlier in the evening, Vigil was involved in a domestic violence case with Jackson's mother. Vigil had fired one round at the girlfriend and made threats to hurt her family, including killing her son and her 9-year-old grandson.
An initial investigation revealed the shooting was justifiable and was in self defense, police said.

Thanks very much to Gary Miller for sending me this link.


Wealthy People Carrying Concealed Handguns in New York CIty

From yesterday's New York Post:

March 26, 2006 -- . . . Ronald Lauder has joined trigger-happy tycoons Donald Trump and Seagrams scion Edgar Bronfman Sr. as the richest men in the city packing heat, according to the NYPD's gun-permit list.

Lauder, the cosmetics heir, and multimillionaire Marvel Comics CEO Isaac Perlmutter are the newest gun-club members licensed to carry a weapon - topping a list that already included "Mean Streets" actors Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro, "Scarface" producer Martin Bregman and shock jocks Don Imus and Howard Stern. . . .

Other gun-toting notables - who have a license to carry as opposed to a permit to keep their weapon only at a home or business - include anti-gun activist Fernando Mateo and Giuliani Partners execs Richard Sheirer and Anthony Carbonetti - an in-law of the notorious booze-peddling Dorrian clan.

Republican Senate majority leader Joe Bruno and music czar Tommy Mottola remain licensed carriers, according to NYPD records through March 17. . . .

Former Manhattan Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder is also licensed to carry a firearm.

"You will see a lot of judges with [gun] permits, and I've also noticed over the years more women applying," said NYPD License Division Capt. Mike Endall.

Queens DA Richard Brown is the only elected prosecutor in the city with a gun license, but "he has his own security, so he doesn't walk around carrying a gun," said spokeswoman Nicole Navas.

Celebrity divorce lawyer Raoul Felder said he has carried a gun since 1961 during his days as a prosecutor.

"A man threatened to kill me, and since he was a murderer I thought it was time to get a gun," he said. "We live in a very disturbed age. There's all kinds of sickness."

Subway vigilante Bernie Goetz's lawyer, Barry Slotnick, is also strapped.

Last year 3,187 people applied for gun licenses, and 2,575, or 81 percent, were approved. In the same period, 141 licenses were revoked and 4,103 licenses were canceled.. . . .

Thanks to Gus Corey for sending this.

Gun News from Canada

From guns to Kyoto, Canadian Liberals are rethinking some of their past policies, or at least how they plan on accomplishing their goals.

PUBLICATION: Belleville Intelligencer
DATE: 2006.03.27
PAGE: A1 / Front
BYLINE: James Wallace
SOURCE: The Canadian Press


Majority favours scrapping gun registry, poll shows


There is broad public support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to dismantle the former Liberal government's controversial national gun registry, shows a poll by SES Research/ Osprey Media. More than half of Ontario voters -- 55 per cent -- either strongly or somewhat support Harper's campaign promise to end the program intended in part to curb gun-related crime.

"It's pretty clear the public preference is to scrap the gun registry and for Stephen Harper to deliver on that promise," said Nik Nanos, president of SES Research. . . .


PUBLICATION: National Post
DATE: 2006.03.27
EDITION: All but Toronto
PAGE: A1 / Front
BYLINE: Juliet O'Neill
SOURCE: CanWest News Service


Key Liberal slams Martin government strategies: Some 'bizarre': Axworthy


OTTAWA - The man the Liberals have assigned to assemble their blueprint for party renewal says the defeated government's national daycare program was "a deathbed repentance," the gun registry was "an administrative disaster" and the response to the sponsorship scandal was "bizarre."

The blunt-talking Tom Axworthy, a former aide to Pierre Trudeau who teaches at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., also says the former government's Kyoto policy was not only difficult to understand, "it wasn't real anyway."


Concise history of gun control in Britain

See the beginning of this post from gunbancon.com/lostarms.html:

Significant restrictions began in 1920 with the 1920 Firearms Act, which was introduced because the government feared a communist revolution along the lines of the Bolshevik Revolution that was occuring in Russia at the time, not to mention the Easter Rising of 1916. They also feared the fact that unions all over the country were calling for a general strike and becoming increasingly militant. Clearly, the 1920 Firearms Act had nothing to do with crime; in fact, it is yet another textbook example of why gun control is only ever about power and control. By allowing the government to get its foot in the door in an area it had no right to interfere with, the British people had dropped a serious clanger: the door was now wide open for progressively more severe assaults on the right to keep and bear arms, culminating in the 1997 Firearms Amendment Acts, which were very much the final nail in the coffin.

And boy did those draconian gun laws come, one after the other: 1937 (ban on short-barreled shotguns and fully automatic rifles), 1946 (the year the government adopted the position that self-defence would no longer be deemed an adequate reason for being granted a firearms certificate), 1953 (Prevention of Crime Act outlawed the carrying of an "offensive weapon" and put the burden of proof on anyone found with an "offensive weapon" such as a knife, to prove that he had a reasonable excuse), 1967 (the Criminal Justice Act's shotgun controls), 1982 (replica guns that could be converted to fire live ammunition), 1988 (ban on semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and pump-action rifles and even stricter shotgun controls), 1997 (ban on all handguns except for antique and muzzle-loading black powder guns, firearms of historic interest whose ammunition is no longer available and firearms of historic interest with current calibres). . . .

Useful article on the slippery slope.


Texas Arresting Bar Patrons for Being Drunk in the Bar

You really have to wonder how many people who would have had no plans to drive while drunk are getting caught up in these arrests. This is pretty depressing, and it is even more depressing that it is occurring in Texas of all places, which has long seemed to prize individual responsibility. It reminds me a little of Sweden when I went there in the late 1970s and the government was removing people by force from their homes and taking them to medical facilities if they were drinking too much (though what was happening in Sweden was obviously worse). I suppose though that this Texas policy could eventually move in that direction.

Many North Texans are complaining about a controversial program during in which state officials arrest people inside bars in order to crack down on public intoxication.
The program began years ago, but during the most recent legislative session, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission asked for and received more money to ramp up the operation.

As a result, the TABC hired 100 agents to travel from bar to bar looking for drunk people who could pose a danger in an agent's opinion.

TABC officials said the program is proactive policing to cut back on drunken driving, but those arrested said it is unfair to arrest someone inside of a bar.

One bar owner, who asked NBC 5 not to use his name for fear of retaliation by the TABC, said those arrested were not causing a disturbance.

"I can understand if we had somebody laying in a booth and they were basically passed out and drunk, I could understand for them to go in with the flashlights and take them out of the booth and arrest them, but these people were standing and doing fine," he said. . . .

UPDATE: I just heard on Fox News tonight that some of the people arrested where arrested in hotel bars and they were staying at the hotel! They also mentioned that over the last two months some 2,000 people have been arrested in bars.

See also this piece from the Dallas Morning News:

Big Brother has gotten mean and sneaky.

In case you hadn't heard, you can't get wasted in a Texas drinking hole these days without fear of going to jail.

And your bartender might be hauled off with you.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is cracking down on public intoxication by going right where you'd expect to find somebody who may have had one too many – bars and nightclubs.

Apparently, the agency loves to shoot fish in a barrel.

Jokes aside, the campaign has caused a public uproar the likes of which I haven't seen around these parts in quite some time.
Within hours after The Dallas Morning News wrote about the crackdown, dozens of e-mails came pouring in yesterday against the TABC.

Folks are outraged, accusing the TABC of "Gestapo-like" practices, of trying to usher in a new era of alcohol prohibition, of being too lazy to go after drunks causing real problems.

Those were the nicer ones.

The TABC's district offices have been flooded with calls across the state.

Still, the agency isn't backing down. Capt. David Alexander, the man in charge of the North Texas region, said he isn't the least bit embarrassed by all the national attention the campaign is drawing.

"We don't feel embarrassed or ashamed, and we feel like we're making a difference by holding the bars accountable and reducing the potential for DWIs," Capt. Alexander said in a telephone interview, one of the countless media calls he has fielded. . . .

The way the TABC figures it, if it can cut down on the number of tipsy people leaving bars and restaurants, it can reduce the number of DWI-related accidents and fatalities.

That's an admirable goal. Plus, the truth is, public intoxication is illegal, too – and to the surprise of several people I talked to yesterday, bars are public places. Still, you have to draw the line somewhere. . . .

Secret list of DC police officers whose testimony will not be used by prosecutors in court

So the question is: why are these police officers on the police force?

A police officer's testimony can make or break a criminal case when it goes to trial. WTOP Radio has learned of a secret list that makes it even more difficult to put criminals behind bars.

In D.C. it's called the Lewis List, but sources tell WTOP similar lists exist in almost every jurisdiction.

It's a computerized list, kept by prosecutors, of police officers under investigation -- officers prosecutors knew will have their credibility challenged if they testify.

Because of the list, prosecutors and police have had to change their tactics to ensure their cases are solid. For example, they try to get suspects to confess to an officer who is not on the list and to make sure the names of the arresting officers are not on the list. . . .

On average, more than 100 names are on the Lewis List in the District. Most are officers who work for the Metropolitan Police Department, but some are from smaller departments. . . .

Thanks to Don Kates for sending this to me.

"Pennsylvania's Rendell Headed for Tough Election"

A win by Lynn Swann could eventually have a major impact on national politics. He is a smart, articulate African-American conservative who would instantly be talked about for national office. While I have heard him stumble in one interview, he has usually done a very good job explaining why incentives matter and what can be done regarding poverty and people's ability to make something of their lives. Even though I haven't lived in Pennsylvania for some time now, I still have strong feelings towards Pennslyvania's Governor Ed Rendell (e.g., his pushing through a state tax income tax increase, opposition to individuals using guns for self-defense, etc.). Rendell's actions on taxes and corruption and the pay hikes will make it much easier for Swann to win than might normally be the case. AngusReid indicates that Rendell is going to face a tough re-election battle this fall.

Last month, former football player Lynn Swann was officially endorsed by Pennsylvania’s Republican Party as its gubernatorial candidate. Swann seeks to become the second African American governor in U.S. history. Rendell and Swann are tied with 44 per cent each in a head-to-head contest. . . .

Only 46 percent of Pennsylvania voters approve of the job Rendell is doing and only 35 percent think that the state is moving in the right direction.


A useful sentiment: "Legislation should make criminals quake"

It is hard to see how the Pennsylvania constitution could be any clearer on the right of people to bear ("carry") guns for self protection.

Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states, “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”

For many years, gun rights have been eroded by zealous politicians (primarily Democrats) who exploited tragedies to restrict gun-owners’ rights in the name of public safety – ignoring that gun crimes are committed almost exclusively by criminals. . . .

In an effort to restore several fundamental rights that anti-gun politicians legislated away from citizens, two Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced legislation that would codify and restore the natural and long-honored right to self-defense and eliminate the state police’s handgun-owner database. . . .


What Dick Cheney wants when he is on the road

Talk about reasonable. This comes across as almost bland, but other than making Cheney look like a regular person it is hard to see why this even rates a story. I particularly like the request for Fox News.

All televisions sets in Mr. Cheney's hotel suite should be tuned to Fox News, all lights should be on, and the thermostat set at 68 degrees. Mr. Cheney should have a queen- or king-size bed, a desk with a chair, a private bathroom, a container for ice, a microwave oven and a coffee pot, with decaf brewed before arrival.

The vice president should also have four cans of caffeine-free Diet Sprite and four to six bottles of water. He must have the hotel restaurant menu, with a copy faxed ahead to his advance office. If his wife is with him, she should have two bottles of sparkling water, either Calistoga or Perrier.

For his reading material, Mr. Cheney should have The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and the local newspaper. . . .

Tony Martin's Burglar gets Paid by the BBC

People might remember the Tony Martin story in Britain, where a man who had been robbed many times finally shot to death one of the burglars and wounded another when they had broken into his home. The BBC has now agreed to pay the burglar who was wounded to appear in a BBC movie about the burglary. Fortunately, the BBC decision is getting some negative attention

A documentary about Tony Martin, who was jailed for shooting dead a burglar, will be shown on the BBC despite controversy over payment to a criminal.
Brendan Fearon, who was wounded in the shooting after breaking into Martin's Norfolk home, was paid £4,500 by the BBC to appear in The Tony Martin Story.

News of the payment sparked outrage, and prompted the BBC to reconsider . . .

Kansas passes right-to-carry, only three states now completely ban carrying of concealed handguns

Talk Today

I am giving a talk today at 12:30 PM in the economics department at William & Mary. The talk will be on my research on media bias.

UPDATE: I thought that giving the talk was a lot of fun, and there was a very nice turnout. It was nice to go down to visit there again.

Larry Elder on why people are so pessimistic about the economy

In February, our economy created 243,000 new jobs.

Yet one of our major newspapers tells us almost half of Americans consider the economy in a recession. American Research Group's latest monthly survey found 59 percent of Americans rate the economy as bad, very bad or terrible. Why are Americans so negative?

Compare the first few paragraphs of this particular story by Investors Business Daily to the way the New York Times reported the story. . . . .

Media Research Center examined the year 2005, specifically how ABC, NBC and CBS covered employment news. In 2005, the economy created 2 million jobs. According to the MRC, however, more than 50 percent of the stories involved job losses rather than gains.

. . . John Lott, economist and resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute, and Kevin A. Hassett, the Institute's director of economic policy studies, examined, among other things, newspapers' economic political bias as reflected by their headlines: "We found that newspaper headlines reporting economic news on unemployment, gross domestic product (GDP), retail sales, and durable goods tended to be much more frequently negative when a Republican was in the White House. And this was true even after accounting for the economic numbers on which the stories were based and how those numbers were changing over time."

In other words, all other things being equal, positive economic news under a Democratic president becomes even more positive news. Positive economic news under a Republican president suddenly becomes less positive news. And, on the other hand, negative economic news under a Democratic president becomes less negative news, while negative economic news under a Republican president becomes even more negative. . . .


Georgia v. Randolph: So what do police do now?

Talk about a vague Supreme Court decision. The majority couldn't even state a rule clearly enough that they could say what would happen in this case if there were three tenants as opposed to the two tenants who were present for this case. The notion of having to wait for another case to determine what would happen under those circumstances must give police a lot of assurance on what to do. The one thing that I have to agree with Souter on is that the decision is indeed "drawing a fine line."

But Chief Justice Roberts was not persuaded. In his first written dissent in a criminal case since joining the court, the Chief Justice said: "The possible scenarios are limitless, and slight variations in the fact pattern yield vastly different expectations about whether the invitee might be expected to enter or go away." "Such shifting expectations," he wrote, "are not a promising foundation on which to ground a constitutional rule." . . .

Justice Souter, in alluding to the chief justice's complaint that the majority did not address what would happen if there were a third household occupant involved, said, "We decide the case before us, not a different one."

But both Justice Souter and the chief justice agreed that factual differences that might appear trivial to a layman, or the fruit of nothing more than pure luck, could be all-important in court.

Justice Souter wrote that "we have to admit that we are drawing a fine line; if a potential defendant with self-interest in objecting is in fact at the door and objects, the co-tenant's permission does not suffice for a reasonable search, whereas the potential objector, nearby but not invited to take part in the threshold colloquy, loses out."

Chief Justice Roberts saw the same possibilities, to his dismay. "What the majority's rule protects is not so much privacy as the good luck of a co-owner who just happens to be present at the door when the police arrive," he wrote.

Had the majority decided logically, the chief justice said, it would have found that, just as Mrs. Randolph could turn her husband's drugs over to the police, "she can consent to police entry and search of what is, after all, her home, too."

Wash Post Gives Justice Ginsburg a Hard Time on Reliance on Foreign Law

The paper at least gives her a harder time than I would have expected.

IN A SPEECH last month at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made some unfair insinuations about critics of the use of foreign law in American courts. . . . To hear Justice Ginsburg describe the matter, you'd think the use of foreign law presents an easy question, legally and morally. In her speech, she quoted language from Chief Justice Roger Taney's infamous Dred Scott decision that rejected the notion that European opinions ought to guide American understanding of the Constitution. She went on to note that South Africa under apartheid also rejected the influence of foreign law, while its 1996 constitution explicitly invites its consideration. And she attacked members of Congress for introducing bills to eliminate the use of foreign precedents in American judicial decisions. Such legislation, she suggested, was responsible for an incident in which someone posted a call on the Internet for her and then-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to be assassinated. . . . We agree with Justice Ginsburg and the court majority that American courts need not pretend that foreign courts do not exist. . . . . Justice Antonin Scalia offers some reasonable criticisms of how the court has used foreign precedents -- that is, selectively, when foreign law supports results that the court cannot justify based on American authorities alone. As Justice Scalia points out, justices cite foreign precedents in capital cases, where European law is far more liberal than American law, but not in abortion cases, where it is more restrictive.


Kansas Governor vetoes concealed carry bill, override vote will be close

Op-ed on New Orleans Confiscating Guns

National Review Online has a new piece by me entitled: "Defenseless Decision: Why were guns taken from law-abiding citizens in New Orleans?"

Hemenway and Co-authors Refuse to Provided Data Set From 1999

Previously, I complained that David Hemenway (Harvard) and co-authors would not give out the data to a recent study that they did on road rage despite the fact that they had already published a paper in a journal and gone public talking to the media. Recently, however, I have asked for data from two other surveys in 1996 and 1999 that Hemenway also conducted. The 1996 data is available at the ICPSR, but the data from the 1999 survey is not released and Hemenway is not responding to requests on information on even when the data will be released (I last asked on March 9th). It seems as though seven years, long after their study results have been published, is excessively long. The strategy that Hemenway seems to be following is to delay providing the data for so long that no one is able to critically comment on his research simply because the data is so old. An possible concerns that anyone might have would be easy to resolve if data were provided in a timely manner.

Labels: , ,


Great economic news not getting any news coverage

"A one-stop e-shop for gun thieves" Lorne Gunter op-ed

If I can find the link, I will put it up. This is a nice op-ed by Lorne.

PUBLICATION: National Post
DATE: 2006.03.20
EDITION: National
SECTION: Editorials
COLUMN: Lorne Gunter
BYLINE: Lorne Gunter
SOURCE: National Post
NOTE: lgunter@telus.net


A one-stop e-shop for gun thieves


The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters set off a minor firestorm two weeks ago when it released an advance copy of its April newsletter, Hotline. The issue contains an interview with John Hicks, former Webmaster for the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC), who contends that anyone with a home computer, an Internet connection and a little patience can hack into the national firearms database and find out who owns guns, where they live and what makes and models they possess.

Sort of a one-stop-shopping service for criminals.

To Hicks and other critics, the CFC counters that its computers are as secure as the RCMP's.

But after months of freedom-of-information requests from Saskatchewan Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz, the Mounties were forced last year to admit they haven't got up-to-date statistics in this area. Their most recent numbers show 306 illegal breaches of the national police database between 1995 and 2003, 121 of which were unsolved at last report. . . .

Since last fall, there have been half a dozen high-profile gun thefts from shops and collectors' homes in southern Ontario, and unconfirmed reports of nearly 20 more in and around Edmonton.

While there is no proof of a connection between the CFC's hackable computers and these break-ins, it's not hard to imagine that after Ottawa spent billions compiling information on millions of guns in a single database, thieves found it convenient to penetrate the firewall and compile a wish list.

So far, computers have been the largest single known cost of the federal gun-control scheme. (I say "known," because even after eight years, the government still refuses to release any information on enforcement costs.)

Ottawa has already spent or announced spending of $527-million on firearms computers -- or more precisely, on computer failures. There have been 133 computer contracts or amendments made in the last decade to five different companies.

Despite this massive expenditure, no company has been able to make the system work right. . . .

Rather than making Canada safer by letting police know where most of the guns are, the registry may be making the country more dangerous by letting criminals know, instead. Your tax dollars at work.


Evidence that conservatives are winning ("slowly") the debate over the courts

According to the NY Times, former Justice O'Connor and Justice Ginsburg are making what appear to be pretty political speaches. Personally, while it means that the court will be seen as even more political, overall it is a good sign: those on the left or "middle" are finding it necessary to defend their position from conservative concerns:

This month, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor told an audience at Georgetown University that a judiciary afraid to stand up to elected officials can lead to dictatorship. Last month, speaking in South Africa, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the courts were a safeguard "against oppressive government and stirred-up majorities."

Justice Ginsburg also revealed that she and Justice O'Connor, who retired in January, had been the targets of an Internet death threat over their practice of citing the decisions of foreign courts in their rulings. . . .

I could be wrong, but I assume that there wouldn't be this somewhat unusual desire to respond publicly unless they felt that the debate was moving against them.

A Doctor argues for guns as "health insurance"

Great caution needs to be taken with cross-sectional data, but given the weight that so many people put on them, I thought that I would point to this piece. It is understandable that these numbers are easy for people to understand, and I have referenced these numbers myself in the past, but a warning on the weaknesses of cross-sectional data should be included.

I posited that earlier in American history, a Winchester rifle was the most potent health insurance (it was the only kind, really) most people could get. I also alluded to how this might still be the case today...

Seriously, folks - despite all the mainstream's trumped-up claims about the dangers of firearms (the one about a gun in the home being more likely to harm the homeowner than a criminal cracks me up), the real statistics firmly cement the fact that legally owned and carried guns do far, far more good than harm.

Cases in point, from public records: In U.S. states that DON'T ALLOW law-abiding citizens to pack heat without restriction...

There are 89% more violent crimes than in states that allow "concealed carry" (that's gun-speak for being legal to carry a hidden firearm on your person)
There are 127% more murders than in states that allow concealed carry
There are 25% more rapes than in states that allow concealed carry
There are 96% more aggravated assaults than in states that allow concealed carry
There are 106% more robberies than in states that allow concealed carry. . . .


Flowers really starting to come out in Northern VA and DC

Things are really starting to look beautiful around here. This weekend has been very nice. Some information on the National Cherry Blossom festival can be found here.

NYT: Comparing Apples and Oranges on percent of women in law firms

Although the nation's law schools for years have been graduating classes that are almost evenly split between men and women, and although firms are absorbing new associates in numbers that largely reflect that balance, something unusual happens to most women after they begin to climb into the upper tiers of law firms. They disappear.

According to the National Association for Law Placement, a trade group that provides career counseling to lawyers and law students, only about 17 percent of the partners at major law firms nationwide were women in 2005, a figure that has risen only slightly since 1995, when about 13 percent of partners were women.

Even those who have made it to the top of their profession say that the data shows that women's legal careers involve distinct, often insurmountable hurdles and that those hurdles remain misunderstood or underexamined. . . .

For their graph on the percentage of women law partners over time see here.

One obvious problem with their data is that people might be lawyers for 40 or 50 years, but women didn't reach 40 percent of law school students until twenty years ago and didn't reach 50 percent until 2000. It was 20 percent thirty years ago and 10 percent just 23 years ago. It is the average over the entire period that counts, not just the most recent graduation numbers. Indeed if it takes 7 years or so for people to become partners you can't even compare the graduation rates prior to 1997 (since their numbers end in 2004).

A second possible problem is that law schools might have let in lower quality women then men inorder to get the admission rates so high for women.

I am not sure what to say about this quote: "Lauren Stiller Rikleen says many women don't like being part of 'a billable-hour production unit.' " If workers don't like that arrangement and are willing to take sufficiently lower pay to compensate for the loss in efficiency, we would see law firms set up around those alternative arrangements. Since I don't think that we see many firms like that, it seems that isn't true.


New Orleans finally admits that it took law-abiding citizen's guns

A Second Amendment group calls it a “stunning reversal.” After denying it for months, the City of New Orleans on Wednesday admitted that it does have a stockpile of firearms seized from private citizens in the days following Hurricane Katrina.

The city even took lawyers to the place where some 1,000 firearms are being stored.

The city’s disclosure came as attorneys for both sides prepared for a court hearing on a motion to hold the city in contempt. (On March 1, The Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association filed a motion to have New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley held in contempt of court for refusing to comply with an injunction to stop illegal gun confiscations and return all seized firearms to their rightful owners.) . . .

Thanks to the The Independent Conservative for pointing to this story.

Thoughts on Kelo Decision


Senate Grandstanding on Oil

This is very depressing. Does it bother anyone making these causation claims that the prices didn't really go up that much until after Katrina? Can anyone discuss the changes in supply that have occurred? More importantly, it is not just the US price that has gone up, it is the world price that has gone up. If these politicians were right the gap between the US retail price and the world price should have gone up, and there seems to be no evidence of that. The only saving grace for Republicans is that the Democrats are even worse.

Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the hearings to examine whether mergers in the oil and gas industry had resulted in higher gasoline prices at the pump.

Gasoline prices jumped above $3 a gallon after Hurricane Katrina last summer and are now about $2.37 a gallon. They have risen by 60 percent in the last five years.

"We do know that there have been mergers and that gasoline prices have risen," Senator Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said in his opening remarks. . . .

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said that the degree of competition and the amount of market power held by oil companies following the mergers raised "really serious questions."

"Although each of these mergers reduced the companies' costs they were nevertheless followed by increases in the costs to consumers," she said. . . .


Talks this week

March 14 (noon) Law School, Florida Coastal, Jacksonville, FL
March 15 (lunch) Law School, Stetson, Gulfport, FL
March 16 (10:30 to noon) Economics Department, University of Miami
March 16 (4pm) Law School, Florida International, Miami, FL

In the economics department, I will be talking about my research on the judicial confirmation process. In the three law schools, I will be talking about gun control issues.


Gun law enforcement out of control in New Jersey

You have to follow the link to read the whole story, but this is a pretty scary story. Mr. Revell was carefully following the law, but it didn't stop NJ police from arresting him and getting him stuck in jail for a long time. I have posted on this case before, but the details here are worth reading:

When Gregg Revell packed his bags for a trip to Pennsylvania last April, he had no idea how far he'd be traveling.

Before the week was out, the 57-year-old suburban real estate agent and grandfather would be arrested, thrown into one of the country's most notorious jails, strip searched and inoculated against his will. The soft-spoken Utah native would be on his way to becoming a poster child for the National Rifle Association in a $3 million lawsuit.

During a nearly five-day stay in a Newark, N.J., jail, he would meet a terrifying side of America that most Utahns see only on television and briefly would become a jailhouse mentor to drug dealers and violent criminals.

It started as a trip to pick up a BMW in Allentown, Pa., for a relaxing road trip back to Utah.

"I fix them up and sell them," Revell says. "Sometimes I make a profit. It's something I do for fun."

Revell, who has a Utah concealed weapon permit, usually takes a handgun with him for protection on his car trips.

Transporting a firearm in your luggage across country on an airline is not illegal, but involves some paperwork. Revell who has made a couple dozen such car-buying trips, knows the process. He fills out the Federal Aviation Administration paperwork, packs his .45 caliber pistol in a locked case, his hollow-point ammunition in another locked case and puts both in his checked luggage. He declares the gun to the ticketing agents.

"Sometimes I get a look, but it's never been a problem," he says. . . .


More Fallout from Kelo v. New London

So What is Causing the String of Unanimous Supreme Court Decisions?

I saw the individual pieces here, but I didn't see the whole picture. Terry Eastland points out how Chief Justice John Roberts started having conferences that actually started talking about the issues and not simply having the Justices tell each other how they are going to vote. At the same time and not unrelatedly, Eastland points to the remarkable string of unanimous decisions that the court has made.

More evidence that the Canadian gun registry may be contributing to crime

You know that the gun registry is in trouble when even Toronto based newspapers are giving it a hard time.

we note two fine columns published yesterday -- one in the Sun, and one by one of our competitors -- that once again shot the rightly discredited registry full of holes.

Our own Mark Bonokoski, who has diligently covered a disturbing number of recent stories involving legitimate gun owners having their legally stored weapons stolen, offered a devastating argument that the nearly $2-billion registry itself could actually be contributing to these crimes.

Citing numerous examples of breaches of the federal government's other (supposedly) secure databases -- the RCMP-administered CPIC system; even top secret defence department security computers -- Bono argued that the bungle-plagued gun registry is just as vulnerable.

Proving the point, he quoted former firearms registry webmaster John Hicks, who says he reported flaws in the system to his superiors: "It took some $15 million to develop it, and I broke into it in about 30 minutes," said Hicks. "A 16-year-old kid could have broken into that system in a heartbeat."

Sophisticated computer hacking aside, Bono has also reported how would-be thieves can track gun owners through ammunition sales records kept by retail stores, or other means. But most registry proponents prefer to ignore these troubles and blame the victim -- gun owners who've been burgled -- while demanding laws to ban all innocent people from owning guns. . . .

Gunter skewered claims that the registry is oh-so-useful because police computers check it thousands of times a week -- explaining that such checks are built into the system. The fact remains, all the registry can do is tell police if someone is, or isn't, a legally registered gun owner. It can't tell them if a suspect has an illegal gun, and it has done absolutely nothing to stop them flooding our streets.. . . .

From Lorne Gunter's column:

The CFRO (Canadian Firearms Registry Online) may indeed process thousands of police-generated information requests each day, but the vast majority of these "hits" are not deliberate. As many as 80% are likely generated automatically when officers call up records from the nation police computer system. That system reflexively searches the firearms computers, a statistic that Ottawa then counts as police use of its registry.

Hundreds more of these daily police hits are merely officers checking to see whether someone seeking to register a new gun is already a licensed owner. Hardly a crime-fighting tool; more like a bureaucratic file check.

It is true, as the Star asserts, that "since 1998, the registry has assisted ... in revoking or turning down" 16,000 licence applications. But it is also true that this is a lower rate of refusals -- less than 1% -- than were rejected under the pre-registry screening system run by the RCMP.

It's difficult to fathom what the Star means when it says "the registry is at last working as it was originally intended," unless the system's original goal was to become a money-devouring, bureaucratic cock-up with no tangible effects for making Canadians safer.

SF approves tough penalties for violations of new gun ban

Despite all the Democratic politicians who have said that the SF gun ban violates California's pre-emption law, there is the concern among some that court still rule the law valid because it only applies to SF residents and not anyone else. This is apparently a very weak claim, but if the judge wants to find a way for this law, it is likely what he will do. Anyway, just in case the law is approved, the San Franciscos Board of Supervisors set penalties this past week.

Last November, 58 percent of San Francisco voters passed Proposition H, a city ordinance that makes it illegal for residents to possess handguns and prohibits the manufacture, distribution, sale and transfer of firearms in the city.

As required by the proposition, the supervisors Wednesday approved a set of penalties for violating the law that include imposition of a $1,000 penalty and a jail term of between 90 days and six months. . . .

Superior Court Judge James Warren, who is overseeing the case, expects to rule on the case before the mid-June deadline. If Warren deems the proposition unlawful, the city will likely appeal the decision.

Democrats and guns

I think that too much is being read into the quote below. The presence of more gun stores is a proxy for other values and views of the world than just the valuing guns. In other words, my guess is that the presence of gun stores and gun ownership is correlated with cultural problems that the Dems have rather than guns being the major reason that Dems have a problem in those areas.

Political Analyst Charlie Cook wrote in the March 11 issue of National Journal that the Democrats' "inability to consistently win elections in places where gun shops outnumber Starbucks is a big reason the party controls neither the House nor the Senate."


Former webmaster: "A 13-year-old kid could hack into the federal government’s online gun registry"

I am always a little dubious of these types of claims, but this is hardly comforting and given all the other problems with the registry, this seems more plausible than most claims.

A 13-year-old kid could hack into the federal government’s online gun registry and have access to millions of gun-owner addresses, says a former webmaster for the Canadian Firearms Centre.

But the real concern is what a criminal mind would do with a shopping list of guns in Canada, John Hicks, an information technology consultant in Orillia, told The Packet & Times yesterday. . . .

Besides leaving the guns open for theft, there is another problem, though the gun lock requirements in Canada reduce the size. Criminals will know what homes are unlikely to have guns. Criminals will have less to worry about in terms of would be victims who are able to defend themselves.


Charlie Cook on the odds that Democrats will win control of the U.S. House of Representatives

"[F]or Democrats to have any shot of taking back control of the House, they need to expand the narrow playing field of obviously vulnerable Republican seats, perhaps putting as many as 50 GOP seats in play. Of the 86 Republican-held districts that we consider to be the most potentially vulnerable, based on the district's Partisan Voting Index, there are 37 where Democrats have a candidate who meets at least a minimum standard of credibility. Still, we consider just 17 to be top-caliber challengers... Even though the political environment suggests Democrats should have little trouble lining up top candidates, the fact that Democrats have lost seats in the last two election cycles has certainly diminished the optimism of some ambitious candidates. Plus, many state parties have essentially abandoned any effort to build a farm team of up-and-coming candidates... [I]t is likely Democrats will pick up seats, but won't have enough top-tier candidates in vulnerable GOP districts to get the 15 they need to win the majority" -- Charlie Cook, publisher of the Cook Political Report, writing at NationalJournal.com.

Thanks to the OpinionJournal's Political Diary for spotting this quote.


Another serious flaw in Campaign Finance Rules

Haven't we seen this before? In 2004, Soros couldn't give money directly to Howard Dean, so he gave the money to MoveOn.org and let them raise money for Dean. Soros again can't give the money directly to Hillary, so he is giving the money to someone this time who will raise money for Hillary and others. Wasn't Soros the big funder of the new campaign finance laws? How can anyone defend these rules?

A group of well-connected Democrats led by a former top aide to Bill Clinton is raising millions of dollars to start a private firm that plans to compile huge amounts of data on Americans to identify Democratic voters and blunt what has been a clear Republican lead in using technology for political advantage.

The effort by Harold Ickes, a deputy chief of staff in the Clinton White House and an adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is prompting intense behind-the-scenes debate in Democratic circles. Officials at the Democratic National Committee think that creating a modern database is their job, and they say that a competing for-profit entity could divert energy and money that should instead be invested with the national party.

Ickes and others involved in the effort acknowledge that their activities are in part a vote of no confidence that the DNC under Chairman Howard Dean is ready to compete with Republicans on the technological front. "The Republicans have developed a cadre of people who appreciate databases and know how to use them, and we are way behind the march," said Ickes, whose political technology venture is being backed by financier George Soros.

"It's unclear what the DNC is doing. Is it going to be kept up to date?" Ickes asked, adding that out-of-date voter information is "worse than having no database at all." . . .

Gun control "stalled" worldwide

From the January 13, 2006 issue of Foreign Policy magazine that discussed the recent referendum to ban guns in Brazil (the referendum was defeated by a two-to-one vote):

Gunning for the World
David Morton

". . . John Lott Jr., an American economist who caused a furor in the United States when he argued that the more guns there were in a society, the lower the crime rate. When his 1998 book, More Guns, Less Crime appeared in Portuguese, Brazilian gun rights activists adopted it as a sort of anti-gun control bible. One enthusiastic gun rights activist in São Paulo bought 1,500 copies and distributed one to each member of the Brazilian congress. Denis Mizne, executive director of Sou da Paz, a São Paulo-based gun control organization, says he has seen many Brazilian pro-gun materials translated directly from the NRA’s promoted materials. 'To adopt the line and the concepts, it’s easy,' he says. 'You just go to the [NRA’s] Web site.' . . ."

". . . the momentum for gun control has stalled . . ."

My comment: Sorry for the bit of self promotion. I think that this article gets much wrong, but it is still interesting. If there was some sense of balance, the author would mention that the gun control advocates are also copying what gun control advocates have done in the US. I would also mention that much of the ability to stop UN action stems from President Bush, specifically his appointment of Bolton to various positions over the last five years. All this could change radically if there is a change in government in the US. But the author seems more intent on demonizing the NRA than giving a full picture here.

Should states allow gun, ammo sales during state emergencies?

The National Rifle Association is pushing a measure at the state Legislature that would keep the governor from confiscating or placing restrictions on firearms and ammunition -- including sales -- during a state of emergency.

The bill was approved by the state Senate on Monday and has the backing of some leading Republican lawmakers, including state Senate President Ken Bennett and Senate Majority Leader Tim Bee. The measure prohibits the governor from curtailing the legal use, sale or transfer of firearms and ammo during a state of emergency. The measure now moves to the state House of Representatives.

The NRA is pushing similar measures in other states in the wake of Hurricane Katrina when civil disorder and rioting plagued New Orleans and some police officials sought to confiscate firearms and bullets in order to help restore order.

Arizona and a number of others states give their governors the ability to invoke emergency powers including additional police powers during natural disasters, riots, times of war and terrorist attacks . . .


Parental notification and Abortion

The New York Times has an article today arguing that parental notification has no statistically significant impact on the number of abortions. There is a paper by Jon Klick and Thomas Stratmann that argues that parental notification has a significant impact on sexual activity. They test this by looking at how the gonorrhea rate for teenage females varies relative to that rate for adult women before and after the adoption of these laws. To find their paper, click on the spring 2006 folder and then the paper entitled "Abortion Access and Risky Sex Among Teens: Parental Involvement Laws and Sexually Transmitted Diseases." They claim that "We estimate reductions in gonorrhea rates of 20 percent for Hispanics and 12 percent for whites. While we find a relatively small reduction in rates for black girls, it is not statistically significant."

I have read the Klick and Stratmann paper, and overall it is solid. I suspect that the paper the New York Times discusses is not anywhere nearly as well done.

Law Professors Must be Regretting Even Bringing this Case

I have a feeling that the law profs who brought this case are regretting doing so. The law profs were upset about the ''mere presence of military recruiters" and now the court has gone on record that congress could require that the military be allowed to interview recruits even if there was no funding attached.

The Constitution grants Congress the power to “provide for the common Defence,” “[t]o raise and support Armies,” and “[t]o provide and maintain a Navy.” Art. I, §8, cls. 1, 12–13. Congress’ power in this area “is broad and sweeping,” O’Brien, 391 U. S., at 377, and there is no dispute in this case that it includes the authority to require campus access for military recruiters. That is, of course, unless Congress exceeds constitutional limitations on its power in enacting such legislation. See Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U. S. 57, 67 (1981) . But the fact that legislation that raises armies is subject to First Amendment constraints does not mean that we ignore the purpose of this legislation when determining its constitutionality; as we recognized in Rostker, “judicial deference … is at its apogee” when Congress legislates under its authority to raise and support armies. Id., at 70. . . .

This case does not require us to determine when a condition placed on university funding goes beyond the “reasonable” choice offered in Grove City and becomes an unconstitutional condition. It is clear that a funding condition cannot be unconstitutional if it could be constitutionally imposed directly. See Speiser v. Randall, 357 U. S. 513, 526 (1958) . Because the First Amendment would not prevent Congress from directly imposing the Solomon Amendment’s access requirement, the statute does not place an unconstitutional condition on the receipt of federal funds.

Now I am sympathetic to one argument that the law professors made, but I would be a lot more sympathetic if they recognized that it applies whenever government funding has strings attached:

For the Faculty now to surrender to the Government's coercion--even to protect the University's finances--would inevitably erode all students' faith in the Faculty Members' commitment to treat them with equal respect and dignity.

The point that I would make is that if the government takes your money from you and then gives it back if you only use that money the way the government wants, that is coercion.


Possibly we won't run out of oil for a long time

This is sure to drive some environmentalists nuts:

Thomas Gold was not your typical radical. Far from being a mad scientist, he was a brilliant professor of astronomy at Cornell University, but he succeeded in driving many others mad with theories that flew in the face of conventional wisdom.

His most controversial idea was among his last, and geologists and petroleum experts around the world still rage against Gold for suggesting they were dead wrong in their understanding of how oil and gas are formed in the Earth's crust.

Now, a couple of decades after Gold first suggested that hydrocarbons are formed deep underground by geological processes and not just below the surface by biological decay, there is increasing evidence that he may have been on to something.

If he was wrong, he may have erred only in taking his idea too far. Gold argued that all hydrocarbons are formed in the intense pressure and high heat near the Earth's mantle, around 100 miles under the ground. If he was right, it means the finite limits of the resources that power our cities and our factories and our vehicles have been vastly overstated. . . .

The article goes on and discusses some experiments at Lawrence Livermore that have produced methane under conditions found 100 miles below the earth's crust. Livermore produced a news release that read: "These reserves could be a virtually inexhaustible source of energy for future generations."


Can Tougher Regulations for Obtaining a Car be Far Away?

I am partially joking, but given the way some react to these problems when they occur, who knows. It appears that it has dawned on someone that SUVs can be used for criminal attacks, possibly terrorist attacks.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (March 4) - The FBI has joined the investigation of a recent college graduate who faces attempted murder charges for allegedly injuring bystanders after driving a sport utility vehicle through a popular campus gathering spot. . . .

The FBI joined the case because 22-year-old Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, a native of Iran, "allegedly made statements that he acted to avenge the American treatment of Muslims," said agent Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman in Washington. "The ongoing investigation will work to confirm this."

Taheri-azar, who graduated in December after studying psychology and philosophy, was in the custody of campus police. They intended to charge him with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, said police Capt. George Hare.

Taheri-azar called police to surrender and then awaited officers on a street two miles from campus, authorities said. . . .

"I see everyone kind of part because there's a car coming through, and the next thing I know, I'm on his windshield," sophomore Jeff Hoffman, his arm in a bandage, told The Daily Tar Heel, the campus newspaper. . . .

"He slowly came in, and I thought he was going to stop or something," sophomore Scott Wilson, a candidate, told the newspaper. "But then he sped right through."

Five students and a visiting scholar were treated for minor injuries and released from UNC Hospitals, the university said in a statement. Three other people declined treatment at the scene, police said.

New National Association of Chiefs of Police Survey

The National Association of Chiefs of Police have released their new survey results for 2005. 93.6 percent think that "any law-abiding citizen [should] be able to purchase a firearm for sport or self-defense." On right-to-carry ("Will a national concealed handgun permit reduce rates of violent crime as recent studies in some states have already reflected?"), 63.1 percent said "yes." 88.1 percent view the death penalty as a deterrent. 93.2 percent do not view the media as impartially reporting the news. 67.3 percent say that their department has a policy against racial profiling. There are other interesting results on the survey.

Looking down this list of questions, police chiefs, as a group, certainly seem extremely conservative.


"Hunters give deer to hungry"

A surprising fact on congressional corruption

John Fund wrote in Opinionjournal's Political Diary today that "Just under a dozen of the nearly 10,000 individuals who have served in Congress have ever been convicted of bribery." I assume that he means the number is eleven. I guess that I would have thought the number was a little higher. The one other fact that I would like to know is how those eleven cases are distributed over time. Are most of them relatively recent?

The Internet and Freedom in Iraq

Jonathan Rauch has an interesting new column out:

Odd though it may sound, somewhere in Baghdad a man is working in secrecy to edit new Arabic versions of Liberalism, by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, and In Defense of Global Capitalism, by the Swedish economist Johan Norberg. He is doing this at some risk of kidnap, beating, and death, because he hopes that a new Arabic-language Web site, called LampofLiberty.org -- MisbahAlHurriyya.org in Arabic -- can change the world by publishing liberal classics.

Odder still, he may be right.

Interviewed by e-mail, he asks to be known by a pseudonym, H. Ali Kamil. A Shiite from Iraq's south, he is an accomplished scholar, but he asks that no other personal details be revealed. Two of his friends have been killed in the postwar insurgency and chaos, one shot and the other "slaughtered." Others of his acquaintance are in hiding, visiting their families in secret. He has been threatened for working with an international agency.

Now he is collaborating not with foreign agencies but with foreign ideas. He has made Arabic translations of all or parts of more than two dozen articles and nine books and booklets. "None," he says, "were previously translated, to my knowledge, for the simple reason that they are all on liberalism and democracy, which unfortunately have little audience and advocators in the Middle East, where almost all publishing houses and press outlets are governmental -- i.e., anti-liberal." . . .


The Mainstream Media Must Really Hate George Bush

For whatever it is worth, I just saw an excellent report on the recent Katrina coverage on Brit Hume's show. (A very small part of that coverage can be found here.) The August 28th discussion never mentions the word "breach." There is a brief discussion that no one can really say whether the water will top the levies, but that they expect "minimal flooding." Bill Sammon calls the reporting on this "journalistic fraud." Mort Kondracke said that the tape was "not a smoking gun" despite what the MSM was trying to claim.

The media is really out of control right now, on Katrina, the push poll done by CBS on Bush's popularity, and other issues.

Here is a CBC version of the AP story, but remember in reality there was no mention in the discussion of the word "breach" with respect to the levies and while the storm would be destructive, the belief was that the flooding in New Orleans would be "minimal." It is amazing how distorted this news coverage was.

The tape is of a briefing on Aug. 28 – just one day before Katrina roared ashore, unleashing its fury and destruction on the city of New Orleans and along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The video shows Bush and his federal disaster officials being warned that the levees in New Orleans could be breached.

A hurricane expert is seen and heard warning about his "grave concerns" of imminent danger and destruction of the storm.

"I don't think any model could predict whether it'll top the levees, but that's obviously a grave concern," said Max Mayfield, the Director of the U.S. National Hurricane Centre.

After the hurricane struck, Bush later went on television saying: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." . . .

Note from Switzerland

A friend of mine, Ben Zycher, is in Geneva, Switzerland for the week. He was telling me about a shop sign that read: "Tax Free Shopping for Diplomats." He said it basically summed up what being there was like.

When is a majority-minority district not a majority-minority district?

Apparently, a majority-minority district is not a majority-minority district unless there is a big majority.

Justice Kennedy, addressing R. Ted Cruz, the Texas solicitor general, called the new district "a serious Shaw violation," a reference to the court's landmark 1993 case, Shaw v. Reno, that opened such oddly shaped districts to challenge as racial gerrymanders. The removal of the Mexican-Americans from the Laredo district, leaving the Latino population a bare statistical majority there but not numerous enough to control electoral outcomes, was an "affront and an insult," Justice Kennedy said. . . .

Texas violated the Constitution by "the excessive use of race," Ms. Perales said, particularly "to craft a razor-thin 50.9 percent Latino majority" in Mr. Bonilla's 23rd Congressional District. She said the Legislature chose to retain the narrow majority, down from 63 percent, to protect Mr. Bonilla and "give the false impression of Latino support." . . .

Possibly Bonilla's district should be referred to as a minority-majority-minority district, but what they want is a majority-majority-minority district. Or is it the reverse? I trust that I am no more confused than the Justices. You have to protect Hispanics from not all Hispanics agreeing with each other.


New Jersey going after Law-abiding gun owner

Second Amendment supporters have filed a lawsuit stemming from the wrongful arrest of a Utah man who was detained at the Newark, N.J., airport because he had a gun in his luggage.

As required by federal law, the firearm was unloaded, locked and stored in a case inside Gregg Revell's luggage. Although federal law protects law-abiding citizens who travel with firearms, Revell nevertheless was arrested for possessing a firearm without a New Jersey state license.

Federal law should have trumped state and local law in Revell's case, said the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc.

The Association said it is suing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and one of its police officers for wrongfully arresting and imprisoning Revell, who spent five days in jail before his family raised the required $15,000 cash to bail him out. . . .

Justice Ginsburg falls asleep during oral arguments

Everybody falls asleep on the job sometimes, but if this had happened to Scalia or Thomas, does anyone believe that their behavior would have been excused?

The Supreme Court had put the Texas cases on the fast track, scheduling an unusually long two-hour afternoon session.

The subject matter was extremely technical, and near the end of the argument Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dozed in her chair. Justices David Souter and Samuel Alito, who flank the 72-year-old, looked at her but did not give her a nudge. . . .

By the way, I think that Ted Cruz, who argued the redistricting case for Texas, won.

Do you know the constitution, the Simpsons, or American Idol the best?

Here are some questions about the first amendment, the Simpsons TV show, and American Idol. I got only 2 out of 5 questions right about the Simpsons and 2 out 5 right about American Idol (and even then I was guessing and the first question was a gift). Well, at least I got all the first amendment questions right.

New Op-ed in WSJ on Texas Redistricting Case

I have a new op-ed on the case that will be heard today before the US Supreme Court on the Texas redistricting case: "Don't Mess With Texas." The first paragraph is:

Just three years ago Texas Democratic legislators made national news when they fled to New Mexico and Oklahoma to avoid a quorum in the state's House of Representatives. Today the Supreme Court reviews the partisan congressional redistricting that they failed to stop. Yet despite all the angry words spoken, the Republicans' gerrymandering has proven to be much less partisan than the Democratic gerrymandering it replaced. It is also less biased than gerrymandering in other states, making it hard for the Supreme Court to strike down the new district lines as unconstitutional. . . .

The New York Times takes the opposite position from me (surprise), but they provide no numbers on the gerrymandering in Texas and their emphasis on national numbers doesn't talk about what caused the lack of competition there (namely, the one-person-one-vote Supreme Court decisions from the 1960s).

Canadian government on track to eliminate long gun registry

Thank you: Over 400,000 different visits to my website

I appreciate you all taking the time to visit my site.