McDaniel: Second Amendment An Individual Right

By Senator Chris McDaniel

Liberals will never tire in attempting to erode the Constitutional rights of gun owners.

Gun-control advocates complain that the founding fathers never intended firearms to go unregulated, invoking arguments made by United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer — a dissenter in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, a Supreme Court decision which overturned a Washington, D.C. handgun ban.

As part of his dissent in Heller, Breyer argued that Madison only drafted the Second Amendment because some feared that Congress would call up the state militias and nationalize them. Madison only proposed the amendment, he maintained, to appease skeptics and to “get this document ratified.” [Read more…]

Congressional Control of the Court: An Excerpt from The Last Jeffersonian

This is a small section from my book, The Last Jeffersonian, about an episode in 1869-70 when Congress took firm control of the Supreme Court.  Since the Court is now in the news with the passing of Justice Scalia, and there are arguments about Obama’s nomination and the Senate’s decision to take it up or not, I thought this might shed some light on the fact that Congress has a lot of power over the Court and has used it in the past:

The nation’s currency had been backed by gold until the rise of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1861. Though historically known as the gatekeepers of the gold standard, the Republican Party had inflationary ideas during the Civil War that essentially ended gold’s supremacy. In 1862, to help finance the war against the South, as well as their other spending schemes, Republicans, with the urging of Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, passed the Legal Tender Act, an inflationary plan that allowed for the creation and circulation of a national paper currency, called Greenbacks, that did not have the backing of gold, though the Constitution specifically gives Congress the authority to “coin money,” not to print it. In all, Congress issued more than $450 million in paper dollars during the four-year conflict, producing ample inflation to double the cost of living. The United States had not seen that level of inflation since the days of the American Revolution with the old, worthless Continental dollar.[i]

In 1869, the United States Supreme Court ruled the Legal Tender Act unconstitutional in the case of Hepburn v. Griswold, preventing the issuance of paper dollars. The Chief Justice in that case, who sided with the majority, was none other than former Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, who had advocated for passage of the law while in Lincoln’s cabinet. The Chase Court’s ruling angered inflationist Republicans in Congress, and they sought to re-order the Court to change the decision. In the late 1860s, in a move to prevent President Andrew Johnson from naming any justices to the Court, Congress, using its constitutional authority, had taken away two seats when they became vacant during Johnson’s tenure, reducing the number of seats to seven. But with Republican Ulysses S. Grant in the White House in 1869, Congress reinstated those seats on the Court to place it back to its present total of nine. President Grant then nominated two new Stalwart Republican justices in 1870, in an effort to “pack it,” and the Court reversed itself that same year, in the case of Knox v. Lee, allowing Congress the authority to issue paper currency.[ii]

[i] Irwin Unger, The Greenback Era: A Social and Political History of American Finance, 1865-1879 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964), 15-16.

[ii] Kermit L. Hall, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 685, 498-499; Sidney Ratner, “Was the Supreme Court Packed By President Grant?” Political Science Quarterly (September 1935): 343-358.

Senator Chris McDaniel Releases Statement Regarding Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling

Senator Chris McDaniel today released the following statement regarding the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage:

“Five unelected lawyers have, once again, ignored the democratic process.

Regardless of how one may feel about gay marriage, it cannot be plausibly maintained that it is a “fundamental” American liberty, and wishful thinking does not make it so. Otherwise, every state at the time of the 14th Amendment’s adoption would not have limited marriage to one man and one woman, without doubting the constitutionality of such actions.

Justice Scalia put it best in his dissent when he wrote that the court’s “practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”

The Supreme Court is not a legislature. Under the Constitution, the federal judiciary only has the power to say what the law is, not what it should be.

The “right” announced today by this court has absolutely no basis in the Constitution. Nor does it have any basis in the common law. Consequently, it should have been left up to the respective states to decide the controversial issue of gay marriage.”

Chris McDaniel is an attorney, conservative commentator and was a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014. He has represented the 42nd District, which encompasses part of South Mississippi, since 2008. He resides with his family in Ellisville, Mississippi. Find him on Twitter: @SenatorMcDaniel and on Facebook.