Camp Lone Star – Act III – A Kangaroo Court – Scene 1 – How Case Law Subverts the Constitution

Camp Lone Star – Act III – A Kangaroo Court
Scene 1 – How Case Law Subverts the Constitution

kangaroo court2

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
June 8, 2015

Kangaroo Court
1: a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted
2: a court characterized by irresponsible, unauthorized, or irregular status or procedures
3: judgment or punishment given outside of legal procedure
(Merriam Webster)

In a recent article, “Government Enforces Their Laws – Who Shall Enforce the Constitution?“, I raise a question that is now worthy of our consideration. If we want our birthright of Constitutional Government, as envisioned by the Founders, we cannot rely upon government for interpretation those laws passed which are applied contrary to the Constitution.

To quote Teddy Roosevelt, with regard to the “case law method”, “some of the teaching of the law books and of the classroom seemed to me to be against justicewe are concerned with [the] question of what law is, not what it ought to be.”

In my Constitution, government was granted powers and authorities, and had limitations imposed upon it. Here, we will deal with some authorities granted and some limitations imposed. And, we, as Americans concerned about our country and our posterity find that we are in a situation similar to that which the Founders recognized, 240 years ago. And, we, like they, must weigh, very carefully, the extent of encroachments into our rights and our lives, as they did, then.

On April 17, 2015, the final pre-trial motions were submitted to the Court. The Court has taken 7 weeks to prepare a Memorandum Opinion and Order, to address the argument presented to the Court by Massey’s attorney.

Rather than outright denying the motions, the extended interval tended to support the probability of a well-crafted reply, granting the motions and dismissing charges against Massey. I don’t doubt that, somewhere, that well crafted order still exists, though it has been replaced by a rather poorly crafted order, which will be the subject of this article, and was substituted solely because Massey created a situation in which the Judge, for reasons that many will not understand, chose not to pursue justice in that it would reflect on him as supporting someone who could not keep his promise — his agreement with the Court.

Honor, one’s word being good, is an important part of life. Massey, regardless of why, gave his word that he would not partake of any illegal substances — as a condition of his “home detention” (See Cruel and Unusual Punishments – Before Conviction) — rather than remaining in jail awaiting trial.

The dilemma this created for Judge Hanen is that he would be challenging the status quo by granting the motion, undermining the very strength of the federal “Felon in Possession” law, and putting it back in proper perspective with those limitations imposed by the Constitution. This would leave those in government who support the improper interpretation in a position to accuse Hanen of siding with a man lacking honor and unable to abide by an agreement that he willingly made as a condition of his pre-trial release.

We must put ourselves in a position to understand that this apparently minor infraction would probably have similar consequences, or at least should have them, within our own community. Suppose you supported someone whom you had faith in to a position of chairman, or some other leadership role, within your organization. Suppose, then, he gave his word to abide by a promise that he had made, and then broke that promise. Would you continue to support him in the office that he held? This is what the politicians do, and this is an intolerable situation — it cannot be supported, if we stand behind our belief that honor and trust are necessary elements of leadership.

This is similar to the situation in which Judge Hanen finds himself. If he was willing to challenge the system and return to a proper interpretation of the law, it could be career ending decision, and could subject him to ridicule by others in government, including some of his peers on the federal benches. For him to take upon himself that responsibility, he would have to know that the person he was supporting by his actions was one as honorable as the Judge would be, in standing for justice. This is typical “office politics” and is true in business and the patriot community, as well. Violate the trust and you lose support.

So, let’s look at the “Memorandum Opinion and Order” that denied the Motions to Dismiss the Indictment (there were two of them: Motion to Dismiss Indictment, and First Supplement to Opposed Motion to Dismiss Indictment).

The Order begins with a misrepresentation that sets an erroneous foundation for what follows in the three “arguments” that the court offers, when it says:

As detailed below, Massey’s Motion to Dismiss focuses on the alleged unconstitutionality of Section 922(g), which makes it a crime for a person who has previously been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year “to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.” 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). For the following reasons, the Court denies Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the Indictment.

First, he implies that the entire question rests on “the alleged unconstitutionality of Section 922(g)“. Though challenges to constitutionality were made, there was an even stronger argument made with regard to the grammatical context of the statute, which, if correct, would allow other aspects of the law to fit, neatly, into earlier Congressional interpretations of the extent of the “commerce clause”. This will be addressed in the third point.

  1. Second Amendment Argument:

Massey’s argument relies heavily on District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), which upheld the right of people to have firearms for their personal protection. He argues that, among others, you do not lose your right to freedom of speech for being a convicted felon, so you cannot lose, forever, your right to keep and bear arms. Perhaps, unfortunately, the argument did not bring up the fact that 10 U.S.C. § 311 does exclude some from being members of the militia, though “felons” are not among those exclusions, which is a direct contradiction of the felon in possession statute, as applied.

The Court then argues that Heller did not address the felon aspect, He does point out that the court has set up the “scrutiny” to be applied in weighing whether a statute unfairly limits the “not infringe” (my words) provision of the Second Amendment, but rather than compare it to real world, he simply builds upon case law, redefining the Constitution, one case at a time.

In the dismissing nature of the current judicial system, he says:

The Second Amendment, at its core, protects “law-abiding” citizens. See Heller, 554 U.S. at 635. It is clear that convicted felons are not such citizens and thus fall outside of the Second Amendment’s protection. Accordingly, the Court need not consider the second inquiry because Section 922(g)(1) does not burden conduct falling within the scope of the Second Amendment.

So, unlike Texas, that being the location of the private property in which the alleged crime (possession) was committed, he determines that the rehabilitation program, under the various penal systems, cannot achieve its stated goal of rehabilitation, during the course of one’s life. In direct contravention of that “philosophy”, we have the opportunity to look at Massey’s life, since that rehabilitation, in “Who is K. C. Massey?“. What he does not address is the question of jurisdiction. If the “crime” was committed on private property (affirmed, in the next argument), is it constitutional to supersede Texas law absent an act that was committed on public lands? This doesn’t address an even more serious breach of jurisdictional limitations, which is quiet apparent in Massey’s case, as Massey was absolutely sure that they were on private land, with permission of the owner, to protect the owner’s property.

  1. Equal Protection Clause Argument:

This argument, in the Order, addresses only that challenge brought up in the first of Massey’s Motions. It is, perhaps, inserted here to avoid addressing the ramifications of the subsequent challenge to “equal protection” brought up in the second Motion — a legal sleight of hand.

Hanen, in citing a previous decision, says, “a law is subject to strict scrutiny review in the face of an equal protection challenge only if (1) there is a fundamental right affected or (2) the law targets a suspect class. He continues, “does not impermissibly impinge upon a right protected by the Second Amendment because it regulates conduct that falls outside the scope of the Amendment’s guarantee.”

So, let’s look, first, at (1), where the law in question, “felon in possession, affects the Second Amendment. As mentioned above, 10 U.S.C. § 311 is the codification of the Second Amendment. That statute has a solidly placed foundation in the Constitution, as it clearly defines what at least the one provision of the Second is the militia. It makes exception for some, as far as being, without question, in the militia, though “felons”, or any descriptor that would imply such, is not exclude from the mandatory inclusion in the militia.

Now, let’s look at (2), whether it targets a “suspect class”. Here, we enter more into the First Supplement (the second motion to dismiss the indictment), though Hanen refused to address that part of that motion. If it refused people in one state, merely because they lived in that state, and approved those in another state, simply because they lived in that state, would they not be creating a “suspect class” of those who lived in one of the “refused” states? Quite simply, living in one state makes you a “suspect”, while living in another allows you all of the privileges of firearms possession and ownership. So, if we consider the asserted Second Amendment right, including the codification, and compare that to the “commerce clause”, what do we come up with?

Back in 1934, the Congress enacted the first firearms control act. The concern was expressed in the record (Congressional Record, reference: keep and bear arms, pg 42 “}, which says:

Mr. FREDERICK. That takes me into the purposes of this bill. This bill, as I see it, is intended to be a bill for the suppression of crime and is proposed to the United States Congress which ordinarily has no power in such matters, under the guise of a revenue raising bill.

So, we have, “which ordinarily has no power in such matters, under the guise of a revenue bill”. Now, they were using the commerce clause, as that original acts required that interstate commerce be involved. However, since they had no power to “suppress crime”, they used their power to tax (“revenue raising bill”), to both fund and track firearms. That was the only way that they could mount a challenge to the Second Amendment — by taxing, not by criminal charges, unless the tax was ignored. That was what the Constitution, even loosely construed in the act, allowed. There are no amendments that would extend that authority beyond what existed in 1934 — except the machinations of “case law”, which disregards the Constitution if one can manipulate the words of a previous decision to extend government authority where it had no constitutional authority to go. This is precisely why I suggest that we, the People, need to interpret Our Constitution, as the government is intent upon subverting it.

  1. Commerce Clause Challenge:

Now, let’s look at the statute, in detail:

18 USC 922

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person –

(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

There are two key elements that we need to consider. First, “possess in or affecting commerce“. “In” is easily understood. That would clearly be in the act of shipping or transporting. “Affecting”, while that would mean that the possession affected, had an effect on, the transporting.

Here, the Judge cites United States v. Rawls, 85 F.3d 240, 242 (5th Cir. 1996), which says that the “in or affecting commerce’ element can be satisfied if the firearm possessed by a convicted felon had previously traveled in interstate commerce.” Damn, I need to return to school and take English Grammar all over, again. I cannot draw the same conclusion that the Court did in Rawls, though apparently, Judge Hanen apparently, can make that broad leap — away from the Constitution and into the lap of a government that wants to have absolute control over every aspect of our lives (Hint: That was once known as slavery). So, in a sense, the wording from Rawls rewrites the wording of the statute (922 (g)(1)) into something that is not written as law, rather, is interpreted into something that is not written in law, thereby making it law because the judges of the Fifth Circuit wanted it to be; not what it was intended to be when passed into law (or regulation). It is bad enough when the Congress can go from taxing to criminalization, however, when they allow the Courts to go even further and make something that does not exist, and then they can be described as nothing less than a Kangaroo Court.

But, wait, we’re not done, yet. That second part of the statute states, “to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate… commerce“, was discussed in A Favorable Ruling?. This, too, stretches our comprehension of the English Language. Here is how it is presented in Massey’s motion:

The word “has”, as opposed to the word “had” was used in the statute. “Has” is the third person singular, present indicative, verb meaning active in the action just completed, where “had” is past tense and participle of the verb have, meaning in a previous situation. So, if one were the direct recipient, then the word “has” would be appropriate. However, if it were expansive, intended to include any firearm shipped in interstate commerce, then “had” would be the proper verb. The use of “had” would have meant to include any and all that “had” been so transported any time prior.

That cannot be too difficult to understand, unless they teach a different grammar in law school, or have judicial indoctrination classes that they have not told us about. It has to do with tense. So, who is to interpret the laws? Will it be the government? Or, will it be we, the People, who have a vested interest in the laws of this nation, and, more importantly, in the Constitution that created that government that is now ignoring that document to increase their power over our very lives?

The Order says, “The Indictment, in all four counts, charges that Massey “did knowingly possess in and affecting interstate commerce a firearm . . . said firearm having been shipped in interstate commerce.” Now, the wording of the statute has been conveniently rearranged as it was presented to the Grand Jury that issued the Indictment. If that Grand Jury accepts that the wording of a law (statute) is what they are told, and probably in writing, how are they to know that it differs from the law that they are asked to weigh against Massey’s actions? If they did choose to question the wording, I’m sure that the US Attorney would explain to them that he, being a lawyer, has said that “this is what the law is, and, if Massey is in violation of this law, as I present it to you, you must come back with an Indictment”.

Let’s compare the wording from the Indictment

… did knowingly possess in and affecting interstate commerce a firearm . . . said firearm having been shipped in interstate commerce.

And the statute:

… to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

Darn look at that. They have introduced another verb, “having”.

“Had” and “having” are both past tense, as described in the First Supplement. However, “has”, is present tense (present indicative). So, the statute says “has”, while the proper verb should have been “had”, if what the government claims was intended was really intended when the statute was written. However, the Grand Jury was led to believe the even more broadly expressed “having”, which is very inclusive.

Has – present 3d singular of have
Had – past and past participle of have
Having – To be in possession of already

So, do we allow the government to redefine words so that they can imprison those that they want to punish? Or, do we decide that you don’t have to be a lawyer, or a judge, to understand the Constitution and the statutes alleged to be written in “Pursuance” to the Constitution?

Here is what James Madison said regarding laws:

It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

They will be “incoherent” if the Courts use a different language than the People. We cannot know what the law is, today, if that law is not based upon the language that we understand. The law is little known and less fixed when previous decisions of the courts have redefined the words, moving slowly but steadily away from the Constitution, for it is unfixed with subsequent decisions, and little known unless we make a daily habit of reading what the courts have done to both our language and the Constitution.

There is even more that troubles the patriot’s heart, and you will find those points highlighted in the linked Order. Suffice to say that if we fit the analogy of frogs in the water approaching its boiling point, we have, so far complained of the rising temperature, have failed to get out of the water.

9 Comments

  1. There is only one way to force the current government to go back to a constitutional republic. However if I said what had to be done I would be arrested and probably disappear into a deep dark hole. If you think about it you will figure it out. I am NOT calling for unsaid actions, just pointing out a fact I think we all know.

  2. Tom Jones says:

    Frank, you may not say it, but I will. This country is at a crossroads. The contention is that there are and undetermined number of individuals who work in government at the federal level who are more interested in furthering their own agenda(s) than doing the actual jobs for which they were either elected or hired. They obviously believe that their individual opinions are more important than the intent of Constitutional Law. And so, they use whatever political mechanizations, artifices, dissemblings, and out-right lies in order to contrive that legal thought be bent to match their world-view. This world-view is not just a random understanding of individuals with converging thought, but it is the world-view of a highly sophisticated, very large, and insidiously pervasive world wide movement of collectivism; most commonly, but not always, seen as Communism.

    Collectivism at its idealistic core is supposed to be a majority-based, process of group-think; however, as in all things human, it rarely achieves its ideal. In addition, Collectivism produces a natural susceptibility to suggestion in its adherents, and reduces their capacity for critical thinking. This indoctrination causes them to be easily led, as long as the majority are in agreement, and crafty, evil men have used this to their personal advantage throughout history. Narcissists such as these tend to gravitate to such systems, because in their opinion, since they are so much smarter than everyone else, no one else’s opinion should matter. After all, they have convinced so many others that they are correct, then in fact, they must be!

    Collectivism always eliminates individual thought and action as a natural outgrowth of its essence, and is why this movement is incompatible with the theory, the intent, and the provisions of the US Constitution. The entire idea of individual LIBERTY is anathema to the essence of the tyranny ingrained in collectivism. Those who practice and think in such collectivist terms, will never change their minds. They made the decision to leave individual Liberty for group-think for a reason, and very few will ever actually change their minds, and go back to individual Liberty. It is impossible for these two world-views to co-exist in this country. We have a Constitution that defines the essence of individuality, accountability, and freedom; and therefore, leaves no room for any sort of tyranny.

    What Frank was not willing to say, is the simple 800 pound guerilla in the room. The proponents of collectivism will NEVER change. They will NEVER cease attempting to force their beliefs down our throats. And, they will ALWAYS do whatever is necessary in order to bring about Liberty’s downfall! So, therefore they cannot be allowed by “WE THE PEOPLE…..!” to exist in this country. They will not leave their positions of power willingly, and the they will fight to retain them! We are then left with no choice but to remove them by EVERY means necessary, up to and including force of arms! Yes, that means we will need to remove them at gun-point, because there is no other way. They will most likely fight via their own force of arms, and so they will need to be exterminated, like the vermin they are.

    It will take a Civil War inn this country in order to restore the Republic to its Constitutional roots, and eliminate the mumbo jumbo crap that these self-serving, wannabe dictators have foisted on the American judicial system. We will need to eliminate nearly every federal, state, and local judge. We will need to eliminate nearly every member of Congress, and nearly everyone in the various state legislatures. The federal, state, and local bureaucracies are filled with these anti-Constitutional Collectivists, and they will all have to be eliminated, as well. The situation we find ourselves in today took generations to construct, and it will take time to root out and eliminate all the Collectivists from society, but it must be done in order to get back to this country’s roots!

    I have coined a simple saying that illustrates these truths. “The only GOOD Communist, Socialist, Globalist, and Muslim, is a DEAD one!” I believe this does say all that needs to be said, in order to restore the Republic!

  3. Kyle says:

    James Madison hit it on the head, yet, what are our options for dealing with government case law? If legalese is so incomprehensible, is it worth any time or effort to read law, as Carl Miller or Richard McDonald have suggested in the past? Might the real problem be more accurately said to be the entire notion of “public laws” as opposed to private (contract) laws?

    • ghunt ghunt says:

      Public laws are necessary, though they should be limited to necessity. They should not be a subversion of the revenue and commerce provisions to effect gun control since that, clearly, is the authority of the state, in accordance with its constitution.
      Interesting turn of a phrase, “private law”, since it is not a law, simply an agreement.

      • Kyle says:

        I only used the term “private law” in my last comment using the same meaning that the Government Printing Office (GPO) defines it, which is as follows:

        Private Laws

        Affect an individual, family, or small group. Private laws are enacted to assist citizens that have been injured by government programs or who are appealing an executive agency ruling such as deportation. Private laws citations include the abbreviation, Pvt.L., the Congress number (e.g. 107), and the number of the law. For example: Pvt.L. 107-006. [SOURCE: http://www.gpo.gov/help/about_public_and_private_laws.htm%5D

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