Happy Birthday, Clarence Thomas!
The justice celebrates by defending the Second Amendment
On his birthday, Clarence Thomas defends the Second Amendment:
The Supreme Court struck down New York state’s system for issuing concealed weapons permits, ruling that the century-old law requiring that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” and “good moral character” violates the Second Amendment.
Read the Decision: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen
The 6-3 decision in the case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, marks the widest expansion of gun rights since 2010, when the court applied nationwide a 2008 ruling establishing an individual right of armed self-defense within the home. It puts in question similar laws in at least eight other states and the District of Columbia, where authorities hold substantial discretion over issuing concealed-weapons permits.
“The Second and 14th Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court. New York law requiring that applicants justify their need for a concealed weapons permit thus was unconstitutional.
The ruling came on the same day Senate Democrats and more than a dozen Republicans were set to advance bipartisan gun control legislation past its last procedural hurdle, setting up a final passage for as soon as Friday on the biggest firearms legislation in decades.
The Supreme Court’s decision swept further than the rules for concealed-weapons permits. The court rejected the legal method overwhelmingly used by lower courts to evaluate gun regulations, which has considered such government’s interests as crime prevention. Under that standard, most weapons laws have been upheld since the Supreme Court first recognized an individual right under the Second Amendment in its 2008 decision on District of Columbia v. Heller and a subsequent ruling in McDonald v. Chicago in 2010.
Instead, Justice Thomas wrote Thursday, a weapons law is constitutional only if the government demonstrates “that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined the opinion.
Under that standard—previously asserted in dissenting opinions by Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett when they sat on lower courts—gun advocates believe more regulations will fall, allowing greater access to weapons and ammunition nationwide.
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Biden Confidant: Start Firing People
One of President Joe Biden’s closest friends and staunchest supporters has a simple message: Big changes need to happen at the White House or Democrats will want a different nominee in 2024.
For South Carolina Democratic state senator and longtime Biden adviser Dick Harpootlian, voters are awaiting any evidence that the president is making a meaningful effort to turn the economy around. An easy first step? A staffing overhaul.
"If I had any advice to Joe Biden, it would be to fire someone," Harpootlian told the Washington Free Beacon in a wide-ranging interview. "The people who are supposed to be serving you are not serving you. I’m not saying they’re malicious, I’m not saying they’re lazy—I’m just saying whatever they’re doing, it’s not working."
Harpootlian’s analysis is hard to argue with. Biden is now the most unpopular president at this point in his term in at least a century, according to an aggregate of polls from FiveThirtyEight. Skyrocketing inflation, a never-ending border crisis, and a likely recession are just a few of the problems that have left broad swaths of the public with the impression that the White House is incapable of governing.
Barring some dramatic staffing changes, Harpootlian said, Biden runs the risk of an exasperated Democratic Party seeking a new candidate in two years. As of right now, he added, "There’s no messaging coming out of the White House."
Why The Lia Thomas Movement Failed
A domino has tipped over and bureaucracies around the world are now unapologetically dismantling a movement so powerful that nobody at ESPN dared question it openly. Last week, it was impossible to fight. This week, it’s impossible to save. That’s one hell of a shift.
There’s an upshot to all of it, far beyond the sports specific aspect Wetzel noticed. Wokeness, successor ideology, political correctness, whatever you want to call it, it’s vulnerable. Indeed, it was just stopped cold by a federation based in the city of Lausanne, Switzerland. If what looks indomitable one day in America can get completely wrecked by bureaucrats off of Lake Geneva on the next, then what does that mean? What other seemingly strong causes, movements and mainstream political assumptions are actually built on the softest sand?
Lia Thomas, as you might remember, is a biological male who switched from the men’s team at Penn to the women’s and started setting records. We might refer to Thomas as an avatar and tentpole for the Thomas Movement, an effort by activists to erase the sex boundary in sports. Though much of the public is solidly against this sort of thing, Thomas had institutional support from the Ivy League and ACLU, among other activist organizations. While the Biden administration stayed mum on the Thomas situation specifically, it endorsed accepting transgender girls on girls’ sports teams while pushing for a federal Equality Act that would codify such a right.
In this context, with these tailwinds, the Thomas Movement appeared perhaps unstoppable in an area where few respectable people wished to voice objections. That was until FINA, the body that governs international swimming competitions, handed down a strong ruling, stating that transgender athletes can no longer compete in female events unless they undergo their transition before the age of 12. Even then, there are restrictions. Simply put, FINA pulled the handbrake on biological males in female sports.
Wetzel was supportive of the ruling, which counts as bold in today’s media landscape. While I appreciate his public sanity, that’s not the main takeaway from his column, in my opinion. Instead, it’s this paragraph:
This was the simplest and fairest solution to a problem that arrived before governing bodies knew quite what to do. FINA’s decision will likely trickle down throughout swimming and other sports.
Boom. That’s the bigger upshot in all of this. I don’t know much about FINA, which apparently stands for Fédération Internationale de Natation (or International Swimming Federation), but I can understand the principle espoused by Wetzel: The other sports bodies will copy a decision they favor, but didn’t — out of fear — want to be the first to make. Now that FINA has laid down a template, it will be copied at scale. Wetzel noted that track and field is already racing in FINA’s footsteps:
Already World Athletics, which oversees track and field, said it will reexamine its policy, and president Sebastian Coe, himself a four-time Olympic medalist, supported FINA’s approach. Other sports are sure to follow, or at least should.
So that’s the big picture. Sports after sport is going to ban males from female competition. Months and months of activist energy toward this cause has hit a wall.
It’s a major pivot from when biological males regularly competing against biological females looked inevitable, according to zeitgeist forces. You wouldn’t be crazy to have assumed that little would be done to stop this eventuality, for fear of angering loud activists. That’s how many of our cultural shifts have gone of late. Everybody keeps their heads down as the loudest and most emboldened parties within institutions get their way. Few professional types want to question because few want their wrath.
That terror was reflected in ESPN’s coverage of Thomas, or lack thereof. For weeks in 2021 and earlier this year, the Worldwide Leader avoided any mention of the building Thomas saga, while conservative publications reaped millions in pageviews. When ESPN finally did cover it, that duty was delegated to Katie Barnes, an activist whose takes on the topic include not entirely objective tweets like, “Transgender athletes, especially trans women, aren’t the threat here. Patriarchy is.”
The Real Reason For Biden’s War On Juul
Edward Luttwak, the foreign policy gadfly with an awful habit of being correct about everything in spite of groupthink, made waves in early June when he explained to Tablet the roots of America’s cratering, geriatric Republic.
“The massive brain outages we see throughout the West, and particularly in America, are in no small part due to the war on smoking, which both makes people smarter and kills them before they become senile,” Luttwak said shortly before the Biden administration launched its war on nicotine. Luttwak turned to nicotine patches for his performance enhancers, but the modern DC bureaucrat and Hill rat seeks refuge in their vaporizers.
The groups hardest hit by vape bans are young libertarians and Democrats, populations dominated by foodies and anti-tobacco attitudes, the types who pooh-pooh a cigarette until their BAC hits a certain level, only to fake a cough when they encounter second-hand tobacco during their morning bicycle commute. They rooted their vaping habits by throwing smokers under the bus, assuming that anti-tobacco crusaders — much like Covid hypochondriacs — could be persuaded by science. That assumption proved fatal to the pro-vape crowd. The anti-tobacco campaign was always rooted in the nose and the eyes, rather than the mind.
Biden pressed forward on the Juul ban after a two-year federal study, which showed vapes are capital B-Bad. I’ve no doubt this study will prove just as legitimate as the second-hand smoke study used to bolster indoor smoking bans. Fifteen years after lawmakers ruined every bar and diner in America in the name of science, researchers revisited the findings only to discover they were illegitimate. By then, every state no matter its partisanship had enshrined the rights of foodies and nerds to enter and exit bars without compromising their nostrils.
Vapers can cite all the facts they want about how vapes help people quit smoking, but they will never overcome the smug intentions of do-gooders trying to figure out how to spend the millions of dollars they pocketed by demonizing nicotine. We can only hope that these vape fiends will grow up and smoke a cigarette; the more likely scenario is they will try to ban my kind from that South Carolina courtyard.
Items of Interest
“My mother sees chaos biting at her doorstep, while the rest of us inhabit a fabricated playscape whose benevolence is a collective delusion.”
— Lionel Shriver