Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 12, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them… The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.” —Federal Farmer (1787)

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has an impressive 2A record.
  • Trump leaves NATO having accomplished his goals.
  • Young conservative women are excited about the future of conservatism.
  • Trump is aggressively working to bring about efficiency to government.
  • A feminist writer urges America to stop calling Kavanaugh “a good dad.”
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

IN BRIEF

Kavanaugh — A Strong Defender of Americans’ 2A Rights

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is a man who unreservedly holds that fidelity to the Constitution is a justice’s number one job. Irrespective of personal opinions, he reasons that as a judge, “our task is to apply the Constitution and the precedents of the Supreme Court, regardless of whether the result is one we agree with as a matter of first principles or policy.”

In light of this view, three words best describe Brett Kavanaugh’s approach to determining whether or not a law meets the standard of constitutional consistency: “text, history and tradition.” Kavanaugh explained his perspective in light of the Court’s decisions on Heller and McDonald, writing:

In my view, Heller and McDonald leave little doubt that courts are to assess gun bans and regulations based on text, history, and tradition, not by a balancing test such as strict or intermediate scrutiny. To be sure, the Court never said something as succinct as “Courts should not apply strict or intermediate scrutiny but should instead look to text, history, and tradition to define the scope of the right and assess gun bans and regulations.” But that is the clear message I take away from the Court’s holdings and reasoning in the two cases.

In my judgment, both D.C.‘s ban on semiautomatic rifles and its gun registration requirement are unconstitutional under Heller. In Heller, the Supreme Court held that handguns — the vast majority of which today are semiautomatic — are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens. There is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semiautomatic handguns and semiautomatic rifles. Semiautomatic rifles, like semiautomatic handguns, have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens for self-defense in the home, hunting, and other lawful uses.

Moreover, semiautomatic handguns are used in connection with violent crimes far more than semiautomatic rifles are. It follows from Heller’s protection of semiautomatic handguns that semiautomatic rifles are also constitutionally protected and that D.C.’s ban on them is unconstitutional. (By contrast, fully automatic weapons, also known as machine guns, have traditionally been banned and may continue to be banned after Heller.)

D.C.’s registration requirement, which is significantly more stringent than any other federal or state gun law in the United States, is likewise unconstitutional. Heller and later McDonald said that regulations on the sale, possession, or use of guns are permissible if they are within the class of traditional, “longstanding” gun regulations in the United States. Registration of all lawfully possessed guns — as distinct from licensing of gun owners or mandatory recordkeeping by gun sellers — has not traditionally been required in the United States and even today remains highly unusual. Under Heller’s history- and tradition-based test, D.C.’s registration requirement is therefore unconstitutional.

Kavanaugh also rejects the argument that the Second Amendment doesn’t address the technological development of modern firearms and is therefore only applicable to those firearms that existed at the time of its adoption. He notes that the principle the Second Amendment is based upon does not change even as technology advances:

When legislatures seek to address new weapons that have not traditionally existed or to impose new gun regulations because of conditions that have not traditionally existed, there obviously will not be a history or tradition of banning such weapons or imposing such regulations. That does not mean the Second Amendment does not apply to those weapons or in those circumstances. Nor does it mean that the government is powerless to address those new weapons or modern circumstances. Rather, in such cases, the proper interpretive approach is to reason by analogy from history and tradition.

The Constitution is an enduring document, and its principles were designed to, and do, apply to modern conditions and developments. The constitutional principles do not change (absent amendment), but the relevant principles must be faithfully applied not only to circumstances as they existed in 1787, 1791, and 1868, for example, but also to modern situations that were unknown to the Constitution’s Framers. To be sure, applying constitutional principles to novel modern conditions can be difficult and leave close questions at the margins. But that is hardly unique to the Second Amendment. It is an essential component of judicial decision making under our enduring Constitution.

The National Rifle Association offered high praise of Kavanaugh, saying that his record on the Second Amendment is “impressive.” And Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottleib mirrored the NRA’s praise, stating, “We’re encouraged by this nomination because, by adding Judge Kavanaugh, we might see the High Court become more willing to accept and rule on important Second Amendment issues, such as right-to-carry.”

But maybe the best endorsement for Kavanaugh comes from the anti-Second Amendment group Everytown for Gun Safety, which blasted him for his “extreme outlier approach to the Second Amendment [that] would elevate gun rights above public safety and put in jeopardy the full range of gun-safety laws.”

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Trump Reassures NATO After Winning Concessions

Jordan Candler

As this week’s NATO summit was closing, President Donald Trump professed: “I believe in NATO. I think NATO is … very important… But the United States was paying for anywhere from 70 percent to 90 percent of it.” He noted that “I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially” while also stating that “the United States was not being treated fairly, but now we are.” According to Trump, “Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment.”

The Hill reports, “Trump on Wednesday told other leaders behind closed doors he wants them to spend 4 percent of their GDPs on defense… He later pressed allies to hit the 2-percent goal 'immediately,’ rather than through a gradual increase. It remains unclear if any commitments were made to accelerate spending. French President Emmanuel Macron denied that NATO allies will increase defense spending beyond previously set goals, according to The Associated Press.” But Trump wouldn’t have said what he did if his goals weren’t accomplished.

As we noted yesterday, Trump’s focus is more about balancing the economic playing field rather than securing military alliances. The tariffs he has imposed are directly targeting unfair trade deals. And based on Trump’s remarks at the NATO summit, he managed to get what he was after. We’ll see exactly how this all plays out in the months ahead.

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Top Headlines

  • Brett Kavanaugh’s view on the Second Amendment (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Trump: NATO allies agree to “substantially up” spending (The Hill)

  • House Democrat: “China declared trade war,” not Trump (Washington Examiner)

  • ISIS “capital” captured in Afghanistan, over 160 fighters killed by U.S., Afghan troops (Fox News)

  • Immigrants find noncitizen voter registration easy (The Washington Times)

  • Feds’ new rules could stop asylum surge (The Washington Times)

  • Grassley, Meadows find more evidence of political bias at FBI as Strzok, Page summoned to testify (CNS News)

  • Congress authorized sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline last summer (CNS News)

  • Trump cracks down on disability skimming (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Jim Jordan targeted by deep-state-tied group in Ohio State abuse scandal, Matt Gaetz says (Washington Examiner)

  • Good news: Taking the task “to serve and protect” to the next level: Pasco firefighters help save man, then return to save his lawn (Tampa Bay Times)

  • Humor: New study reveals humanity just one “coexist” bumper sticker away from world peace (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Congress needs to make changes to the final NDAA (The Daily Signal)

  • Policy: Making the right move on racial preferences (City Journal)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

FEATURED ANALYSIS

The Courage to Think

Caroline C. Lewis

More than ever before, young conservatives face persecution on their high school and college campuses for their beliefs. Risking grades, academic advancement and putting career options in jeopardy, a generation of courageous young conservatives display moral courage to think for themselves, despite the consequences.

In early June, young conservative women gathered at Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit to hear from women like Judge Jeanine Pirro, Dana Loesch and Kellyanne Conway along with thought leaders like Professor Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro. Turning Point USA stands as the largest and fastest growing student organization dedicated to fighting socialism and defending free-market principles. Founded in 2012 by Charlie Kirk (at 18 years old), the organization has grown to over 1,300 chapters across the country with student training of over 5,000. TPUSA’s communication director, Candice Owens, boldly defends conservative principles and articulately rejects the promotion of “victim mentality” for women and minorities.

The conference room swelled with several hundred young women excited about the future of conservatism and their place in it. Their questions revealed not only the high stakes for being a conservative but their courage to stand for principles despite the consequences.

One young women asked about how to start a club, knowing that doing so could adversely affect her chances for admission at an elite university. Another girl said that she wore a conservative T-shirt to school and her entire town has boycotted her parents’ business. Some have endured physical violence. Another mentioned that a person at her school posted a suggestion that she commit suicide. It received 500 likes.

The political climate has become increasingly intolerant, vengeful and hateful. No longer being bullied solely by their peers, young conservatives face persecution by teachers, administrators and a culture that seems stacked against them.

However, these young women display a different type of resiliency. While no research can define every individual in a generation, some trends are worth noting. Generation Z, the post-Millennial generation born between 1995-2010, comprises those between the ages of eight and 23. According to Forbes, this generation tends to be more fiscally conservative and entrepreneurial, with 72% of high school students desiring to own a business. They value both independence and independent thinking.

This perhaps accounts for the many young women at the TPUSA conference who described their conservative “conversion” that occurred after reading and listening to reasoned arguments. They are not afraid to “come out” publicly as conservatives.

Though the media long to portray Gen Z as gun control advocates in the mold of David Hogg, they conveniently ignore the conservative voice, Kyle Kashuv, another Parkland shooting survivor, who counters the gun control lobby with reasoned arguments for the 2nd Amendment.

In addition, Kendall Jones, a former college cheerleader and avid hunter, spoke about how, at the age of 19, she became one of the most cyber-bullied teens in the world for posting pictures of her hunts on social media. Kendall has endured death threats and “Kill Kendall Jones” hate pages, emerging as a model of how to be unmoved by the opinions of others.

Thinking independently has less to do with age or generation and more to do with raw courage, bravery and conviction. Yet in any generation, a remnant remains to speak up, stand up and shape up society. The young women at Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit pay a high price for their beliefs despite physical, social and cultural abuse. The courage of these young conservative women who think for themselves and stand up for their beliefs should be admired, applauded and emulated. Their courage should inspire all conservatives to turn our faces to the wind and stand boldly for the enduring principles of liberty and freedom.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

OPINION IN BRIEF

Ann Coulter: “What liberals call ‘rights’ are legislative proposals that they can’t pass through normal democratic processes — at least outside of the states they’ve already flipped with immigration, like California. Realizing how widely reviled its ideas are, several decades ago the Left figured out a procedural scam to give it whatever it wanted without ever having to pass a law. … Soon the Court was creating ‘rights’ promoting all the Left’s favorite causes — abortion, criminals, busing, pornography, stamping out religion, forcing military academies to admit girls and so on. … Conservatives could never dream of victories like this from the judiciary. Even nine Antonin Scalias on the Supreme Court are never going to discover a ‘constitutional right’ to a border wall, mass deportations, a flat tax, publicly funded churches and gun ranges, the ‘right’ to smoke or to consume 24-ounce sugary sodas. These are ‘constitutional rights’ every bit as much as the alleged ‘constitutional rights’ to abortion, pornography, gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, the exclusionary rule and on and on and on. The only rights conservatives ever seek under the Constitution are the ones that are written in black and white, such as the freedom of speech and the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Mostly, we sit trembling, waiting to see what new nonexistent rights the Court will impose on us, contravening everything we believe. So when you hear liberals carrying on about all the ‘rights’ threatened by Kavanaugh, remember that by ‘rights,’ they mean ‘policy ideas so unpopular that we can’t pass a law creating such rights.’”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “Judge Kavanaugh seems to impress anyone with whom he crosses paths — at least those who haven’t blindly announced, in a fit of partisanship, their opposition to this nomination before he was even named.” —Mitch McConnell

The BIG Lie: “[Republicans] use the one nonelected branch of government, the judiciary, to sneak people onto the Court.” —Chuck Schumer

Braying Jackass I: “I’d like [Trump] to go to one of his rallies and say, ‘We don’t think that we should protect families with preexisting conditions.’ … He wouldn’t dare say it. But I’ll tell you what he will do: He’ll sneak a Supreme Court justice onto the bench who will do just that.” —Chuck Schumer

Braying Jackass II: “President Trump should not meet with President Putin alone. … The president needs to remember that, as Commander-in-Chief, his duty is to protect the American people from foreign threats, not to sell out our democracy to Putin.” —Chuck Schumer

Alpha Jackass: “We’ll be DAMNED if we’re going to let five MEN — including some frat boy named Brett — strip us of our hard-won bodily autonomy and reproductive rights.” —NARAL

Non Compos Mentis: “I will sue when the Supreme Court [overturns Roe v. Wade].” —New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Good luck with suing the Supreme Court.)

Dezinformatsiya: “Based on where Americans stand on the issues … do you think it’s appropriate to continue to take such a strict, originalist view of the Constitution, given it’s 2018 and not 1776?” —MSNBC anchor and “living constitution” advocate Katy Tur (For the record: “The year the Declaration of Independence was ratified, the Constitution was not written and signed until 1787.” —The Washington Free Beacon’s David Rutz)

Village Idiots: “Some more establishment, corporate Democrats get very scared by this term but if being a democratic socialist means that you believe health care, housing, education and the things we need to thrive should be a basic right not a privilege then count me in.” —actress and New York governor candidate Cynthia Nixon

And last… “Pro-tip: If you don’t want one unelected justice to be worth so darn much, don’t used the court to make laws.” —Twitter satirist @hale_razor

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher