Pennsylvania and the Second Amendment

The DC logo My second column for the news and information site, The Daily Caller, has been posted. “Greetings from the land of guns and religion” is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the recent SCOTUS McDonald v. City of Chicago ruling of last week.

The court’s sweeping decision to uphold the right to keep and bear arms really took me by surprise. As we’ve been watching government slowly erode our freedoms and our privacy, my expectations have sunk so low that such a strong defense of the Bill of Rights came as a shock.

The lower courts will now have the very important job of protecting us from municipal and state laws that do not conform to the Supreme’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.

From the top to the bottom, this is the quintessential example of why making appointments to our courts is one of the most important and impactful of Presidential prerogatives.

Like many rulings lately, McDonald was a slim 5 – 4 victory. It will only take one more retirement before 2012 to tip the scales the other way.

American Justice

Justice w-flagThere are many things about America that I love, but none more so than our “trial by a jury of your peers” and verdicts that must surpass a “reasonable doubt”. Yes, there have been some terrible and very public miscarriages within that system, like the acquittal of O.J. Simpson. But by and large, most juries do their duty without consideration of race, creed, or social rank.

Pennsylvania has just witnessed one such example: Acquitted of the most serious charges against him of vehicular homicide and aggravated assault, the case of Thomas Senavitis, proved that justice indeed cannot see through that blindfold she wears.

Senavitis is an “everyman” with a drinking problem: A thin, worn-out looking working-class guy whose 15 minutes of fame captured him with a graying mustache, in a tee-shirt and Midas Muffler baseball cap.

Held without bail, he’s spent the past nine months in prison while, according to the story in The Morning Call, his wife has been pleading his case, insisting he’s innocent of killing a prominent and popular politician, State Senator James Rhoades, by crashing his pickup truck into Rhoades’ Cadillac.

So here we are with a movie classic case of the little guy accused of wrongdoing against a high-profile person of power…and the system worked. The preponderance of evidence, not social standing, or money, or politics, won out.

And what gives that jury even more street cred is that they did convict Senavitis of DUI and another lesser charge. Justice was served on all sides. Senavitis is now in jail for the crimes he did commit and not for the ones he didn’t.

Justice’s scales remain perfectly balanced.

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