Thursday, June 16, 2011

This could be interesting

The Supreme Court today made a pretty interesting ruling in regards to where federal power ends and the power of the states begins.  The Justices specifically mentioned that an international treaty should not be the basis for restricting a citizen's rights:

But the Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, said Bond "has standing to challenge the federal statute on grounds that the measure interferes with the powers reserved to states. ... (A lawyer appointed to defend the law, once the administration withdrew) contends that for Bond to argue the national government has interfered with state sovereignty in violation of the 10th Amendment is to assert only a state's legal rights and interests. But in arguing that the government has acted in excess of the authority that federalism defines, Bond seeks to vindicate her own constitutional interests."
Kennedy said, "The statute ... was enacted to comply with a treaty; but (Bond) contends that, at least in the present instance, the treaty cannot be the source of congressional power to regulate or prohibit her conduct."
I'm not a lawyer, and I'm sure that someone with a lot more knowledge of the law and how this decision will be interpreted and applied has more insight into this.  But to me this says that the Supreme Court unanimously believes in a distinct limit on the federal government's power under the 10th Amendment.  It also limits how a treaty can be used against us.

There's been a lot of talk about how the 10th Amendment is dead, and for sure it's not as robust as it could be.  But a unanimous decision, including justices appointed by the current administration, just affirmed that there is still some life in the old girl.  That could have a lot of ramifications.

Also, there's been a lot of shouting about the U.N. treaty on small arms and how it could be used as a back door to force through gun control legislation.  The Supreme Court seems to have shot that down before it became a problem.  If a law based on an international treaty for chemical weapons can't be used against someone who chemically burns someone, then it would seem to me that an international treaty that restricts the private ownership, shipment, and sale of firearms could not be used as the basis for gun control laws that curtail our 2nd Amendment rights.

I'm looking forward to seeing analysis from someone who knows what they're talking about, and to see how this is applied.


Old NFO said...

I'm hoping you're right, but like you, I'm going to wait for someone that actually has studied this to weigh in... :-)

Keads said...

I'm with NFO- I hope you are right!

Joshkie said...

Even if the Executive branch signs a treaty it can't go into effect with out ratification in both house of Congress. I'm pretty sure that the U.N. small arms treaty would not be able to pass in House of Reprisentives at this time.

So I think we're jumping a head of the proccess. We are a couple of steps back before we would have worry about challenging it in court. Don't get me wrong this is good news for state rights.

I could be wrong.


MrG's said...

Normally I wouldn't be so concerned, but obummer and administration don"t care about the constitution and a large part of the American populace is ignorant and clueless and supported hope and change. ALl it would need is for another supreme court justice to retire and obummer can put another uber leftist on the supreme court, that believes that international law takes precidence over the Constitution.

DaddyBear said...

Actually, it just takes a 2/3 vote in the Senate. The House isn't involved in treaties.

But Josh is right in that it's unlikely that this wouldn't get through the Senate in its current make-up. But do you think a second term Obama or first term Romney wouldn't want gun control legislation based on this, and how many RINO's are there in the Senate who would vote for this treaty in order to get their next serving of pork?

And MrG makes a good point. All it would take is for one of the conservative justices to wake up tomorrow and decide that he'd had enough, or that he's too sick to continue, or God forbid, just dies, and we are screwed. Bush squandered his super majority in the Senate. He should have persuaded several of the older conservative justices to retire so he could put younger, healthier conservatives on the Court.

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