Tag Archives: Antonin Scalia

Judge Upholds MA AR-15 Ban: “Not Within Scope of Personal Right to Bear Arms”

Boston, MA— A lawsuit challenging Massachusetts’ ban on assault weapons was dismissed by a federal judge on April 5, who asserted in his ruling that military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, banned by the state in 1998, are “not within the scope of the personal right to ‘bear Arms’ under the Second Amendment.”

“The AR-15 and its analogs, along with large capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional right to ‘bear arms,’” U.S. District Judge William Young wrote in the decision.

Young said in his ruling that the features of a military-style rifle are “designed and intended to be particularly suitable for combat rather than sporting applications,” and that Massachusetts was within its rights to enact a ban through elected representatives.

“In the absence of federal legislation, Massachusetts is free to ban these weapons and large capacity magazines. Other states are equally free to leave them unregulated and available to their law-abiding citizens,” Young wrote. “These policy matters are simply not of constitutional moment. Americans are not afraid of bumptious, raucous, and robust debate about these matters. We call it democracy.”

The Hill reported that the lawsuit dismissed by Young was filed by the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, which claimed the ban infringed on Second Amendment rights. The group asserted in its complaint that the term “assault weapons” is non-technical and “entirely fabricated” to politicize the most popular types of guns in the United States.

“Healey unilaterally decreed that thousands of Massachusetts residents are suddenly criminals simply for having exercised their Second Amendment rights,” the complaint said, in reference to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who expanded in 2016 the definition of “copies or duplicates” of AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles that are prohibited under the state’s 1998 assault-weapon ban.

In a statement, the National Rifle Association (NRA) criticized the decision.

“Like all law-abiding Massachusetts gun owners, the NRA was extremely disappointed that the court upheld Massachusetts’s ban on many of the most popular firearms in America,” the group said.

In his decision, Young, who Bloomberg reports was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan, quoted the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court in a critical 2008 decision that overturned Washington’s ban on hand guns, but also warned of potential limitations.

“Weapons that are most useful in military service — M-16 rifles and the like” aren’t protected by the Second Amendment and “may be banned,” Young quoted Scalia as saying, referring to the automatic rifle popular with the military. The AR-15 is similar to an M-16, Young said, equating the military fully automatic firearm with a civilian semi-automatic.

In addition, Young also rejected attempts by the gun-rights group to challenge the ban on the grounds that AR-15s are extremely popular and widely owned within the United States.

“The AR-15’s present day popularity is not constitutionally material,” Young said.

President Obama Selects Merrick Garland as Supreme Court Nominee

President Obama announced Wednesday that he is nominating Merrick Garland, chief justice for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat after the death of Antonin Scalia.

Garland, 63, was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997. Obama described the judge as “one of America’s sharpest legal minds” and praised him for his work leading the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing.

“I have selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, evenhandedness and excellence,” Obama said. “These qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration from leaders from both sides of the aisle.”

The Associated Press described Garland as a “centrist,” noting that he has earned the title due to the fact that he is not a “down-the-line liberal” on criminal defense and national security.

However, National Review also noted that Garland has a liberal view on gun rights. In 2007, Garland voted to reconsider the ban on a law prohibited “individual handgun possession, which even prohibited guns kept in one’s own house for self-defense,” and he voted “to uphold an illegal Clinton-era regulation that created an improvised gun registration requirement.”

While there has been speculation as to whether Obama should be allowed to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice during his last year in office, he released a statement prior to the announcement, calling it his “constitutional duty to nominate a justice.”

[pull_quote_center]It is both my constitutional duty to nominate a justice and one of the most important decisions that I — or any president — will make. I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time and deliberation to this decision. I’ve consulted with legal experts and people across the political spectrum, both inside and outside government. And we’ve reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously.[/pull_quote_center]

Yahoo News noted that although GOP leaders “have vowed not to commence confirmation hearings before the November election, there might be room for the Senate to confirm a nominee in the lame-duck period between Election Day and the Jan. 20, 2017, inauguration.

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Report: FBI ‘Declined To Get Involved’ in Investigation of Scalia’s Death

The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office released a report late Tuesday that gave some insight into the actions of federal law enforcement following the recent death of a Supreme Court Justice.

Senior Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead on the morning of Feb. 13 in a room at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a 30,000-acre luxury ranch in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, Texas.

The Sheriff’s office in Marfa released an offense report to the Washington Post, which claimed that the ranch’s owner, John Poindexter, called Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez at 12:14 p.m. on Feb. 13.

While Poindexter initially did not want to release the name of the deceased and wanted to contact the U.S. Marshals Service, Dominguez said in the report that he assured Poindexter that handling the death was under his jurisdiction.

“He then stated to me that this death was way beyond my authority and that it should go the Feds (USMS),” Dominguez wrote. “I then replied it doesn’t matter who it is, it was still under my jurisdiction.”

Dominguez said that after he arrived at the ranch at 12:35 p.m., he met with Poindexter and a friend of Scalia’s, and he was escorted to Scalia’s room, where he said “all seemed to be in order.”

[RELATED: Lack of Autopsy in Scalia Death Raises Questions]

[pull_quote_center]Scalia was laying on three pillows stacked up to elevate his head, and appeared to have fallen asleep in that position, indicating he died in that position as well. Both of Scalia’s hands were rested at his side. The top pillow case appeared to have shifted at some point in the night due to the weight of his head on the pillow, causing the pillowcase to slide down and cover his eyes. The position of the pillow did not seem to have inhibited Scalia’s breathing.[/pull_quote_center]

Dominguez went on to describe the setting of Scalia’s room, noting that the sheets and pillows that were being used by Scalia were still in the creased position from that day’s room service,” which he claimed indicated “that there was no struggle involved.”

[RELATED: Ranch Owner: Scalia Found Dead With a ‘Pillow Over His Head]

Dominguez said he then relayed his observations to Presidio County Judge Cinderella Guevara over the phone, and she pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes at 1:52 p.m.

The report claims that U.S Marshall Service Agents then arrived on the scene and after they observed the situation, they contacted their supervisor, Ken Roberts, who came to the scene and then contacted his supervisor in El Paso.

Dominguez reported that Marfa Sector Border Patrol Agents arrived on the scene around 10:00 p.m., and that although the FBI was contacted by the U.S. Marshal service, they “declined to get involved in the investigation” after hearing the marshals’ report of Scalia’s death.

[pull_quote_center]The FBI was contacted by the U.S. Marshal Service in reference to Scalia’s death. However, the FBI declined to get involved in the investigation, after hearing the report of the circumstances of the death from the U.S. Marshals.[/pull_quote_center]

Scalia’s body was then transported to El Paso, and arrived at the Sunset Funeral Home around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. He was embalmed without undergoing an autopsy.

Scalia’s family reportedly did not want an autopsy, and Guevara justified her decision to declare Scalia dead of natural causes based on the details she received during a phone call, by claiming that his doctor told her that he had been suffering from significant health problems.

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Lack of Autopsy in Scalia Death Raises Questions

The circumstances surrounding the death of Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia led some detectives to question why his body was not autopsied.

After he was found Saturday morning at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in west Texas, Scalia’s body was transported to El Paso by the Texas Department of Public Safety and U.S. Marshals. Scalia’s remains arrived at the Sunset Funeral Home around 3:30 a.m. Sunday where he was embalmed, which is required by Texas law before it can be moved to another state.

The Washington Post reported that “a manager at the El Paso funeral home where Scalia’s body was taken said that his family made it clear they did not want” an autopsy.

In a frantic search for a justice of the peace, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronounced Scalia dead by natural causes without seeing his body or ordering an autopsy, and based off of the details she was given by law enforcement over the phone.

However, Juanita Bishop, a justice of the peace in Presidio who was contacted but could not get to Scalia’s body, told the Washington Post she would have made a different decision concerning Scalia’s body, because she “would want to know.”

Bill Ritchie, a retired deputy chief and former head of criminal investigations for the DC police, told the New York Post that he was shocked to learn that no autopsy would be performed.

“How do you know that person wasn’t smothered? How do you know it’s not a homicide until you conduct an investigation?” Ritchie questioned. “You have to do your job. Once you go through that process, you can conclude that this is a naturally occurring death.”

[RELATED: Ranch Owner: Scalia Found Dead With a ‘Pillow Over His Head’]

John Poindexter, the owner of the Cibolo Creek Ranch, claimed that Scalia was found “in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled.”

Poindexter described Scalia as “lying very restfully,” and said he “looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap.”

Retired Brooklyn homicide Detective Patricia Tufo told the New York Post that he also questioned the lack of autopsy when a pillow was found over the head of a Supreme Court Justice.

“He’s not at home. There are no witnesses to his death, and there was no reported explanation for why there was a pillow over his head,” Tufo said. “So I think under the circumstances it’s not unreasonable to request an autopsy. Despite the fact that he has pre-existing ailments and the fact that he’s almost 80 years old, you want to be sure that it’s not something other than natural causes.”

As a staunch conservative voice on the Supreme Court, Scalia’s death could affect the outcome of upcoming cases. Last week, Scalia voted to put a hold on President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan,” which was presented as a regulation to help lower carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.

Reuters noted that without Scalia’s vote, “the conservative members of the court no longer have a majority, at least in the short term,” and the “sudden shift has given a boost to the supporters of the emissions rule.”


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Cruz: ‘The Second Amendment Will Be Written Out of the Constitution’ if Trump is President

As previously reported by Truth In Media, Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes at a ranch in West Texas Saturday morning.

The passing of Scalia sparked different reactions from presidential candidates and political organizations. Both the National Rifle Association and Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) are emphasizing the importance of replacing Scalia’s seat with a pro-2nd Amendment Justice.

According to Washington Examiner, the NRA will spend $20 million during the election to push for gun rights and will lobby for pro 2nd Amendment justices.

The NRA tweeted Senator Ted Cruz’s statement at the news of Scalia’s passing.

Senator Cruz told This Week‘s George Stephanopoulos the importance of the next election and how it will affect the SCOTUS’ decision on important issues like the 2nd Amendment. Cruz also told Stephanopoulos that he intends to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee brought forward by President Obama.

“I don’t think the American people want a court that will write the 2nd Amendment out of the Constitution,” said Cruz.

But Cruz went a step further by attacking his opponent Donald Trump.

Cruz said, “And if Donald Trump becomes president, the Second Amendment will be written out of the Constitution because it is abundantly clear that Donald Trump is not a conservative. He will not invest the capital to confirm a conservative.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: What Trump’s Love of Eminent Domain Tells You About His Values]

Cruz added, “whether it’s Hillary, Bernie or Donald Trump. The Second Amendment will go away.”

“He says you’re wrong. He says he will and he says your judgment should be questioned because you supported John Roberts,” said Stephanopoulos.


Cruz said, “Listen, number one, I did not appoint John Roberts. George W. Bush did. Now once the president made the appointment, I supported that nomination. That was a mistake.”

Ranch Owner: Scalia Found Dead With a ‘Pillow Over His Head’

The owner of the ranch where Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead Saturday shared the details of the judge’s appearance and the events surrounding his death.

John Poindexter, the owner of the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a 30,000-acre luxury ranch in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, Texas, told the San Antonio Express-News that he and a friend of Scalia’s entered the judge’s room three hours after he did not show up at a breakfast meeting at 8:30 a.m.

“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” Poindexter said.

Poindexter said Scalia had retired to his room around 9 p.m. Friday night after attending a dinner party with about 40 other guests. Poindexter said that when he found Scalia Saturday morning, he was lying very restfully,” and “looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap.”

Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara told ABC News that Scalia’s death certificate “will say the cause of death was natural, and that he died of a heart attack.” Guevara also said that “no autopsy was necessary.” 

As previously reported, Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1986, and was the longest-serving current justice.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) released a statement Saturday saying he thinks Obama “can and should send the Senate a nominee right away.”

“With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible,” Reid said. “It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat.”

President Obama said he would nominate a successor in due time. “I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to nominate a successor in due time,” He said, while traveling in Rancho Mirage, California.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he thinks the next administration should make the appointment to replace Scalia, in hopes that the next president is a Republican.

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell said. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

[RELATED: Lack of Autopsy in Scalia Death Raises Questions]

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Justice Scalia Found Dead at West Texas Ranch

UPDATE: Ranch Owner: Scalia Found Dead With a ‘Pillow Over His Head’

Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes at a ranch in West Texas Saturday morning.

Scalia, 79, was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1986, and was the longest-serving current justice.

The San Antonio Express-News reported that Scalia arrived at the Cibolo Creek Ranch Friday and “attended a private party with about 40 people.” When he did not show up for breakfast Saturday morning, “a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

U.S. District Judge Fred Biery said he was notified of Scalia’s death Saturday morning.

“It happened on a ranch out near Marfa. As far as the details, I think it’s pretty vague right now as to how,” Biery said. “My reaction is it’s very unfortunate. It’s unfortunate with any death, and politically in the presidential cycle we’re in, my educated guess is nothing will happen before the next president is elected.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement Saturday praising Scalia for being “the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution.”

[pull_quote_center]Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans. We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.[/pull_quote_center]