Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taking It Way Over The Top

Gavin Seim is a self-proclaimed "Liberty Speaker" who has taken it upon himself to look out for our threatened gun rights. He's organizing a We Will Not Comply Rally to be held on Dec 13 where he and fellow gun rights activists claim they will purposely violate the new law recently passed by the citizens of Washington State contained in Initiative 594.

Seim says:

"Initiative 594 is the most corrupt, tyrannical, lawless, and draconian gun restriction, if it passes, you will have ever seen."

This sounds bad. This sounds like people will be executed on sight or imprisoned indefinitely without a trial.

"It makes it a crime to so much as hand a gun to my friend and loan it to him to go hunting."

Well, you can't get much more corrupt, tyrannical, lawless, or draconian than that, can you? Especially since the new law says this:

(4) This section does not apply to:

...while hunting if the hunting is legal in all places where the person to whom the firearm is transferred possesses the firearm and the person to whom the firearm is transferred has completed all training and holds all licenses or permits required for such hunting, provided that any temporary transfer allowed by this subsection is permitted only if the person to whom the firearm is transferred is not prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law;

I'd say the hyperbole meter went straight into the red zone.

And what if I-594 passes, which it did? Seim says:

"If you are walking down the road and you see a child about to be raped, do you stand aside and let it happen? Do you say, 'I cannot decide if that is lawless and wrong and a violation of their rights? I'll let the courts decide.'" 

Requiring background checks for gun sales and transfers is equivalent to the rape of a child? The hyperbole meter is spinning wildly.

Seim says:

"Or do you intervene? Then I ask you, if government tyrants are raping our liberty, our birth right, mine, and yours, and our children's."

The voting citizens passed I-594, which apparently makes them government tyrants raping our liberty.

Seim says:

"Do we stand by and wait for courts to decide? No. We peacefully stand up and we say, 'No,' while we can still do so peacefully. We refuse to lawless legislation. This goes back to when the Constitution was being debated and Alexander Hamilton said,  'All legislation that violates the Constitution is void. It is not law. It is lawless the moment it is enacted.'"

Interestingly, I can find no such quote by Alexander Hamilton. But in another blog post, Seim makes the same reference and says Hamilton affirmed that message in Federalist #78 (PDF). Federalist Paper 78, authored by Hamilton, concerns the creation of a separate judiciary, equal to the Executive and Legislative branches, and its singular authority in interpreting the law.

Some perplexity respecting the rights of the courts to pronounce legislative acts void, because contrary to the Constitution, has arisen from an imagination that the doctrine would imply a superiority of the judiciary to the legislative power. It is urged that the authority which can declare the acts of another void, must necessarily be superior to the one whose acts may be declared void. As this doctrine is of great importance in all the American constitutions, a brief discussion of the ground on which it rests cannot be unacceptable. 

There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. 

If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their WILL to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.

There's more to see for yourself. It's only six pages of text.

It must be great to pick and choose your quotes to suit your purpose and ignore the context of their original form. How ironic that Seim uses Hamilton's explanation of the judiciary authority to determine the constitutionality of a law passed by the legislature to justify his behavior in declaring a law unconstitutional and disobeying it.

But for Seim there's no need to wait for the courts when we have his hyperbolic hyperbole guiding us.

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