The Supreme Court’s Impending Dilemma
The Heartless Libertarian has done an outstanding job of collating the pertinent posts around the Blogosphere concerning the possible hearing by the Supreme Court of the recent 9th Circuit decision in US v. Stewart, which I wrote about in “Game Over, Man. Game Over”. In Stewart, my favorite 9th Circuit Justice Alex Kozinski (and no, I’m not being snarky – I mean it) wrote the majority opinion that the defendant could not be charged with possession of a machinegun because he had made the machineguns himself, and not purchased them in interstate commerce (basing the decision on the limiting power of the commerce clause of the Constitution.) You need to read the decision to understand the reasoning – and it’s eminently logical.
There was a dissent to the ruling, one based upon a previous Supreme Court decision, Wickard v. Filburn from 1942 – a decision that, for a layperson such as myself, appeared to be a Federal power-grab of unprecedented blatancy and scope. In Wickard the Court proclaimed that a farmer was in violation of interstate commerce law by growing wheat for his own personal use because it meant he wouldn’t be purchasing it in interstate commerce. Essentially the ruling said that everything anybody did or grew or made or mined “affected interstate commerce” and was therefore legally subject to Federal regulation.
Anyway, Heartless Libertarian’s post on the topic, Extremely Important Supreme Court Cases, is comprehensive. Go read and be enlightened as to the crack that decades of flawed legal decisions have wedged SCOTUS into. I expect they’ll have to be very creative to dodge this one.
Of course, like they did with US v. Emerson and Silveira v. Lockyer, they could just deny certiorari, but it’s the Justice Department asking that the case be heard.
Should be interesting.