Adam Winkler is a professor of law at the UCLA School of Law.
He published an Op-Ed in the New York Times arguing that the US Government should create a secret court to secretly strip US citizens of their rights to own a gun, in which the defendant has not been notified that he has been charged or has any ability to defend him/her self.
“Congress should authorize no-buy lists but mandate that appropriate protections be put in place. If the attorney general believes a suspected terrorist should be added to the list, she should have to go to court first and offer up evidence. Only after concluding that the attorney general has probable cause should the court approve the denial of the suspect’s right to buy a gun. This court proceeding, of course, would be secret. ”
Of course, he thinks this is perfectly in line with what our Founding Fathers intended.
“Due process of law is a vital constitutional principle and Americans have a right to own firearms for self-protection.“
But then contradicts himself, recognizing that his secret court violates due process.
“Although that denies the person included on the no-buy list the opportunity to rebut the attorney general’s evidence...“
So how does he try to justify a secret court that secretly strips people of their rights without giving them the ability to defend themselves or face their accusers?
Well, the FISA court and Japanese internment, of course.
“Such principles, which were part of the framers’ broad conception of due process, have not always been followed when it comes to national security, from the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II to the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program. Yet those principles can provide a sound basis for no-buy lists.“
Get it? Nothing justifies stripping citizens of their rights than perhaps invoking the greatest injustice and worse Supreme Court decision of the 20th century. Not to mention that the constitutionality of the FISA court is dubious at best and has been ruled against in part in the past, and that it is notoriously on the side of government intrusion with over 75% of warrants being approved.
Saying that a FISA court like system to take away gun rights would preserve due process is beyond ridiculous as legal scholars have said that the FISA court is “the antithesis of due process.”
One would think that a liberal lawyer from California would respect the opinion of the ACLU, which hates both the FISA court and the no fly list, but apparently the opinion of a civil rights organization that fights for civil liberties means nothing when it comes to gun rights.
Winkler thinks that his idea is reasonable because “to ensure that the no-buy list isn’t being abused, the law should also require that the attorney general file periodic, confidential reports to an appropriate congressional oversight committee where pro-gun lawmakers can police any executive branch abuses.”
If there is one thing that we have learned in the last nigh-on 16 years is that Congress has all of its 1,070 collective thumbs firmly embedded up its own ass when it comes to policing executive overreach.
That is not a glitch in his plan, that is a feature.
Let me pose this question to Mr. Winkler: since you are such a fan of the Korematsu v. United States decision, given that there were no verifiable cases of Japanese sabotage on the mainland United States prior to internment, but SCOTUS decided that internment was Constitutional on the basis that public safety overrode the civil rights of Japanese Americans; given the Ft. Hood shooting, San Bernardino shooting, Boston Marathon bombing, DC Snipers, Chattanooga Recruiting Center shooting, and Pulse Nightclub shooting, do you support the internment of Muslim Americans?
Or do you just hate gun owners?
Winkler has the audacity to end his advocacy for an anti-gun Court of Star Chamber with “the best way to honor those who died in Orlando is to do everything we can to reduce the chances of more innocent lives being lost to terrorism. And we can do it while respecting the Constitution.”
A secret court that cannot be challenged or appealed, that exists explicitly to strip a citizen of their Constitutional right does not respect our Constitution. At. All.
Let me make this clear. A secret court that cannot be challenged or appealed, that exists explicitly to strip a citizen of a Constitutional right is EXACTLY the type of institution that our Founders had in mind when they created the Second Amendment, having signed their names to a document that contained the words ” But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government” only a dozen years before.
The thought experiment that went into writing this Op-Ed is the reason my father – who was also an attorney, a gun owner, and who HATED the FISA court and President G.W. Bush, in particular, for expanding it under the PATRIOT Act with a vehemency – raised me to be a gun owner.
Writing this post has really made me miss by dad. This Op-Ed is the kind of thing I would have sent to him to watch his brilliant legal mind tear apart, quoting case law from memory.
One other thing.
Shut up, you are not helping.
I have read in countless Op-Eds since Sunday how as a straight male, I don’t know what the shooting at the Pulse feels like. I have been told that I don’t understand how gays feel in America, and that this is why so many gays are afraid to even hold hands in public.
I don’t know what that is like, they are right. But I do know what it is like to have members of the Muslim Student Association scream in my face about
the blood libel supposed Israeli war crimes and how my people are apes and pigs, because when other students put op Christmas decorations in their offices, I put up Hanukkah decorations.
I know what it is like to put a Mezuzah on my door to have it torn off and smashed.
I know what it is like to to be told to my face that my people are everything that is wrong with the world and that we should all be killed.
I know what it is like to have people protest outside my place of worship while I am trying to celebrate my holy days.
I know what it is like to think “is this a safe place for me to say that I am Jewish?”
I know what it is like to watch TV or go online and see religious and political leaders call my people a cancer on the world, the AIDS virus, blood drinkers, baby killers, and that we should be exterminated.
I know what it is like to see people celebrate in the streets and hand out candy to children when Jewish families are butchered in their sleep.
I many not know what it is like to be gay, but I think my experiences are pretty damn close.
And after all of that, how have I chosen to respond. The way my father taught me, by having several of your hated AR’s ready in my safe. By getting a permit and carrying a handgun with one of your hated high capacity magazines on me everywhere that it is legal. I’m not going to die on my knees with a knife in my ribs, with the last words I hear being “Allah Akbar” or “No blood for Israel.” I’m going to fight.
Don’t. You. Dare. Disarm. Me.