January 24, 2019

Supreme Court Update

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court removed a stay preventing the military from enforcing its ban on most transgender service members, allowing the policy to take effect. Also on Tuesday, the Court agreed to review a case challenging New York City’s restrictive gun laws.

See past issues

From the Left

The left opposes the ban, positing that it’s based on fear and bigotry rather than facts, and is worried that the 2nd amendment case could end up invalidating numerous gun control laws.

While it does not explicitly target transgender people, the plan “‘effectively implements [a transgender] ban by targeting proxies of transgender status… by requiring all service members to serve ‘in their biological sex’... Once the appeals court, or Supreme Court, lifts the last remaining injunction, the Trump administration’s experiment may begin in earnest, and transgender people who only want to serve their country will once again be shut out on the basis of their identity.”

“No one, including the lawyers for the Trump administration, has been able to show that inclusion of transgender service members or providing care to them has had any measurable negative impact on morale, readiness or unit cohesion. The chiefs of staff of all four service branches of the military have testified to Congress that there have been no issues.”
New York Times

“Many of the alleged risks of allowing transgender troops to serve have been contradicted by military chiefs, former surgeons general and a government-commissioned study… By reinstating the ban, the Supreme Court effectively validated President Trump’s unsubstantiated fears about transgender people — fears that also have fueled his administration’s attempts to undo legal protections for transgender people in other areas.”
New York Times

“The empirical evidence, based on the experiences of countries from Israel to the UK to Canada, shows that letting trans people openly serve poses minimal to no costs to the military’s budget or readiness… [Meanwhile] Trump’s ban could lead to some very ugly consequences.”

Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus states, “This notion that all of this work's been done and these people felt safe as transgender, felt safe coming out, joining the military, and then suddenly the rug gets jerked out from under -- it's not the way to treat patriots, it's not the way to build a great military force either.”

Regarding the gun rights case, “the rule does draw an arbitrary line between a firing range in Staten Island and another in Fort Lee, N.J. However, both a federal district judge and the New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld it, reasoning, soundly, that the limitation on Second Amendment rights was justifiable given the city’s difficulty in enforcing a previous, more lenient rule and the relative ease with which a gun owner could purchase a second weapon for use out of town.”
Washington Post

“As the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit explained in its opinion upholding the New York law, the plaintiffs in this case may still keep guns in their homes. The plaintiff with two homes — who, again, is rich enough to have two homes — may buy a gun for each of them. The plaintiffs may fire their guns at local gun ranges. They may also travel to non-local gun ranges and rent or borrow a gun to fire at that range. They also could potentially apply for carry licenses…

“What the plaintiffs can’t do is bring one very specific gun to a non-local range so long as they only possess a premises license… If the Supreme Court is willing to declare that even very minor burdens on gun ownersviolate the Constitution, then it is unclear what can still be done to prevent gun violence.”

From the Right

The right supports enforcing the ban, which is well within Trump’s authority to enact, and is encouraged by the 2nd amendment case, hoping that the Supreme Court will expand gun rights.

From the Right

The right supports enforcing the ban, which is well within Trump’s authority to enact, and is encouraged by the 2nd amendment case, hoping that the Supreme Court will expand gun rights.

“It's refreshing to see the U.S. Supreme Court rein in lower court judges who are bent on telling the commander-in-chief how to run the military… There are literally hundreds of conditions or physical limitations disqualifying people from military service. Does that make the military exclusionary? Yes. But the Pentagon isn't in the business of equality. It's in the business of fighting and winning wars. Either the military's priority is protecting America – or it's helping people on the path to self-actualization. It can't do both.”
CNS News

“The ban itself is not exactly a ban on transgender people but a ban that places parameters around mental health so that those fighting in our armed forces can prioritize national security. The ban says it affects individuals who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria — a very specific, serious psychological condition… The military is a fighting force, meant to secure our nation here and abroad. It is not a petri dish of social sciences, equipped or purposed with the task of helping individuals who have gender dysphoria.”
Washington Examiner

Minority View: “It is certainly the case that the repeal of the ‘Don’t-Ask, Don’t-Tell’ policy in 2010 has not harmed military readiness or effectiveness in any appreciable way… Since the trans ban was lifted, the military has soldiered on, again with no appreciable detriment to morale, readiness, cohesion or any of the usual metrics of effectiveness… The biggest threat to military effectiveness is the back-and-forth shenanigans over the ban.”
American Enterprise Institute

Regarding the gun rights case, “the Second Amendment recognizes the right to both ‘keep’ and ‘bear’ arms. How can you ‘keep’ arms when you are required to leave them behind, in a vacant dwelling, when you leave your home? A person should be able to ‘keep’ their weapon in the place where they lay their head. In addition, the right to ‘bear’ arms ‘implies the learning to handle and use them.’ A person’s right of self-defense travels with them… the idea that a person can be blocked from transporting their lawfully owned gun to a different location — leaving their lawful means of self-defense behind — means that the words ‘keep’ and ‘bear’ have no real meaning at all.”
National Review

“Not only has the city routinely failed to provide empirical evidence to support its claim that banning the transportation of lawfully owned, unloaded handguns in locked containers meaningfully promotes public safety, but the restriction itself poses significant safety risks by mandating that residents leave their handguns behind in vacant homes

“This case gives the Supreme Court an opportunity to shed some much-needed clarity on its Second Amendment jurisprudence and ensure that the right is not treated like a second-class right.”
Daily Signal

“What this really comes down to is the seeming ability of states and municipalities to effectively ignore [earlier decisions upholding gun rights]. A patchwork of such laws have cropped up across the country, with legislators claiming that everyone has an individual right to keep and bear arms in the wake of those cases, but then giving a wink and a nod by putting so many restrictions on the ability to own a gun that the owner’s rights are effectively nullified.”
Hot Air

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

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