Susan, About That Precedent Thing

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the dowager senator* from Maine, has said that she won’t support a Supreme Court nominee who might overturn Roe v. Wade.

From her interview a week ago on ABC’s This Week:

“It has been established as a constitutional right for 46 years — 45 years, and was reaffirmed 26 years ago,” Collins said. “So a nominee position, whether or not they respect precedent, will tell me a lot about whether or not they would overturn Roe v. Wade. A candidate of this import position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me, because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have. And that would indicate to me a failure to respect precedent of fundamental tenet of our judicial system.”

This leads me to wonder whether Collins would have supported a nominee of a President Hillary Clinton who supported abortion but was committed to overturning both Heller and McDonald. I would be hard pressed to argue that she would not have.

My point in not to argue one way or another on abortion but I have watched numerous judges at both the District Court and Court of Appeals level who have thumbed their nose at Heller and McDonald in the ten and eight years respectively since they’ve been decided. You could put most judges in the 4th and 9th Circuits on that list. Moreover, the right to privacy was a right that was created out of whole cloth unlike the right to keep and bear arms which is an enumerated right found in the Bill of Rights.

Whomever President Trump announces as his nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy will presumably respect precedent. I just hope that her or she will have the gumption to say no to the lower courts who have ignored the precedent supposedly established in Heller and McDonald.

* I call Collins the dowager senator because she essentially inherited the position from former Sen. William Cohen whom she had served as a staffer early in her career.

I Wish Sen. Collins Would Stick To Worrying About Lobsters

Sen. Susan Collins (RINO-ME) usually worries about important things like whether Maine lobsters are invading Europe. Now she and an unholy alliance of senators are introducing a “compromise” bill that allows the Attorney General to deny firearms purchases to anyone on the No-Fly List or the “Selectee” List. Their idea of due process is to allow you to appeal to the US Court of Appeals if denied, pay an attorney big bucks, and then, and only then, recover your attorneys fees if your appeal was successful.

The bill is entitled the Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act of 2016. I wonder if she considers the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) or Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) as terrorists as both ended up on the No-Fly List. If not for their positions in Congress they still might be on it. The bill is pitched as a compromise between the failed bills of Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). While I didn’t like either of those bills, the Cornyn bill at least had some recognition of the 5th Amendment guarantee of due process. The ACLU, to their credit, didn’t like either bill.

Here is a summary of the bill as put out by Sen. Collins. Please notice item no. 4 which gives the Attorney General the power to approve a sale to someone on the list so as to not impede a FBI counter-terrorism investigation. Given that current Attorney General Loretta Lynch can’t even say the word “Muslim terrorist”, what’s to say that all terrorists won’t be OK’ed as a matter of policy. As we saw during Project Gunwalker, most of those firearms are still in the hands of the cartels.

Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act of 2016

Sponsor: U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)

Cosponsors: U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND); Kelly Ayotte (R-NH); Martin Heinrich (DNM);
Jeff Flake (R-AZ); Tim Kaine (D-VA); Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Angus King (I-ME); Bill
Nelson (D-FL); Joe Manchin (D-WV); Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); and Mark Kirk (R-IL)

The bipartisan “Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act of 2016” would prevent people who are on the No Fly
List or the Selectee List from purchasing firearms. If our government has determined that an individual is
too dangerous to fly on an airplane, that person should not have the opportunity make a legal firearm
purchase. Due process principles require that Americans denied their right to purchase a firearm under
this provision have the opportunity to appeal this denial to a federal court.

What the Amendment Does:


1. Gives the AG the authority to deny firearms sales to individuals who appear on the No Fly List or the
Selectee List.

2. Provides a process for Americans and green card holders to appeal a denial in U.S. Court of Appeals
and to recover their reasonable attorneys fees if they prevail.

3. Sets forth a procedure for protecting classified information during the appeal.

4. Protects ongoing FBI counter-terrorism investigations by giving the AG the discretion to allow gun
sales to go forward to individuals covered by this Act.

5. Includes a “look-back” provision that ensures prompt notification to the FBI if a person who has been
on the broader Terrorism Screening Database (TSDB) within the past five years purchases a firearm.


How It Works: The TSDB is the broad consolidated watch list comprised of several more narrow threat
databases that various government entities maintain. The No Fly List is a subset that precludes an
individual from boarding a commercial aircraft that departs in, arrives from, or flies over the United
States. The Selectee List is used to identify individuals who require additional screening.

Individuals on the narrower No Fly and Selectee lists would not be allowed to purchase guns, but
Americans and green card holders would have due process rights to appeal in the Court of Appeals
following a proscribed procedure. The AG would have the burden of proof, and the court would be
required to make a decision in 14 days.

Classified information would be reviewed by the court following procedures similar to those in the
Classified Information Procedures Act used for criminal proceedings. In cases where the classified
information is relied upon, the court would have a range of options to protect the information while fully
ensuring due process. These options range from providing an unclassified summary to disclosing some or
all of the classified information.

To ensure appropriate oversight and transparency, the Attorney General would be required to report to the
Intelligence and Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate on the number of persons denied a
firearm, the number of appeals filed, and number of persons who prevailed in their appeals under the
provisions of this Act.