Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is on a political jihad against so-called Stand Your Ground laws. These laws state that a person does not have a duty to retreat if faced with great bodily harm or death and can meet force with force. Durbin has recently been sending letters to a number of non-profits and corporations who may have been involved with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council asking them if they support Stand Your Ground laws. The Chicago Tribune calls the recipients of the letter Durbin’s enemies list.
Now, though, Durbin has changed tactics. Rather than accusing political enemies of flouting federal law, he’s suggesting that he may publicly expose them to public outrage over the killing of Trayvon Martin. The editorial page of Thursday’s Wall Street Journal reported that the senator has sent letters to corporate and nonprofit supporters of the American Legislative Exchange Council, asking them to disclose their positions on “stand-your-ground” legislation that ALEC supported in Florida in 2005.
Some of the groups that have received this letter have told Durbin where he can stick his letter. The Goldwater Institute called Durbin’s attempted intimidation “disgraceful and not worthy of the title you hold.” Cato Institute President John Allison called Durbin’s actions “a subtle but powerful form of government coercion” and that his letter symbolized an “unconstitutional abuse of power”.
The American Legislative Exchange Council, by the way, says that they based their model Stand Your Ground law upon the state of Florida’s law and not the other way around. The Florida statutes on justifiable use of force including Stand Your Ground can be found here.
Against this backdrop of attempted political intimidation, it is quite interesting to note that the Florida Sheriffs Association voted unanimously this week to continue their support for Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. This is the same group of law enforcement officers that has opposed open carry laws supported by gun rights supporters in Florida.
From the FSA press release:
FSA President, Sheriff Grady Judd, today announced, “The right to self-defense is well-established in law. The Florida Sheriffs confirmed this position by voting unanimously, at the 2013 Florida Sheriffs Association Summer Conference, to support the Stand Your Ground law as it is currently written. Our current judicial system is comprised of multiple checks and balances to ensure fair and equitable application of all laws, including Stand Your Ground.”
Let’s be brutally honest about this. Dick Durbin doesn’t give a big rat’s ass about Stand Your Ground laws one way or another. What he does care about are only two things: denying resources to conservative political groups and keeping African-Americans safely ensconced on the Democrat’s plantation. His letter and hearings are expressly intended to do exactly this.