A Judge Accepts the Biden Administration’s Dubious Argument for Banning Gun Possession by Marijuana Users

“President Joe Biden, who recently issued a mass pardon for low-level marijuana offenders, says cannabis consumption should not be treated as a crime. His administration nevertheless defends the federal ban on gun possession by marijuana users, arguing that Second Amendment rights are limited to “law-abiding citizens.”
Last week, a federal judge agreed, dismissing a challenge to that rule by medical marijuana patients in Florida. The reasoning underlying that decision shows that the constitutional right to armed self-defense, which the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld, is still subject to legislators’ arbitrary whims and irrational prejudices.”

“Winsor noted a long history of banning gun ownership by people convicted of certain crimes. But as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett pointed out in a 2019 dissent as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, that history does not suggest that any crime, or even any felony, will do.

“Legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns,” Barrett wrote. “But that power extends only to people who are dangerous.”

Are cannabis consumers dangerous? Winsor suggested that they are, accepting the Biden administration’s analogy between the gun ban for marijuana users and laws enacted in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries that prohibited people from either carrying or firing guns “while intoxicated.”

That analogy fails, however, because those laws did not impose general bans on gun possession by drinkers. They applied only when gun owners were under the influence.”

The Chinese government’s unlikeliest standoff is with … fandom

“In 2016..China formally banned K-pop…The ban, ironically, turned many former K-pop stars back into Chinese celebrities whose K-pop influence is still being felt.”

“The K-pop ban both is and isn’t about Korea. It began as a response to a US-Korea missile deal, but really embodied disapproval of three things the Chinese government perceived as tied to K-pop culture: the encroaching influence of US individualism, over-zealous fanbases, and effeminate men.

That last one is a major part of the K-pop ban, which forbids men from wearing earrings and excessive makeup on live TV.”

“Dan Chen researches authoritarian politics at the University of Richmond. She told Vox that the CCP’s fixation on masculinity is a recent byproduct of Xi’s growing nationalism — because “nationalism is a very masculine ideology.” Framing foreign influences like K-pop as anti-masculine plays right into Xi’s narrative of an idealized China that’s strong physically as well as economically and politically. Toward this end, the government has worked to eradicate effeminacy in schoolchildren and promoted images of strong, muscular soldiers as the masculine ideal.”

Pot Prohibition Continues Collapsing, and Psychedelic Bans Could Be Next

“Voters on Tuesday approved the legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland and Missouri while rejecting similar measures in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Meanwhile, voters in five Texas cities passed ballot measures that bar local police from issuing citations or making arrests for low-level marijuana possession. But the most striking election result for drug policy reformers looking beyond the ongoing collapse of marijuana prohibition happened in Colorado, where a broad psychedelic decriminalization measure is winning by two points with 80 percent of votes counted.

Prior to yesterday’s elections, 37 states had approved marijuana for medical purposes, and 19 of them also had legalized recreational use. The Maryland and Missouri results raise the latter number to 21.”

When Sri Lanka Banned Synthetic Fertilizers, the Country Imploded

“Starvation. Poverty. People struggling to buy medicine and fuel.
Disaster happened after one government fell under the influence of the world’s environmental extremists.

Many “experts” say pure nature is best. United Nations officials now tell politicians that the climate “crisis” demands countries make all sorts of sacrifices, like cutting nitrogen waste.

Much of that waste comes from synthetic fertilizer, so activists applauded when Sri Lanka’s government decided to become the first country to really take their advice. Sri Lanka banned all synthetic fertilizers.”

“Suddenly, the same farms produced much less food. Food prices rose 80 percent.

One result: riots. As my new video shows, thousands swarmed the president’s mansion. Some had a cookout on his lawn.

The president resigned and fled the country.

It turns out that we need chemical fertilizers.”

Everyone Wants To Ban Certain Content Online. No One Wants To Talk Enforcement.

“You can take down the big targets, the Pornhubs and Kiwi Farms of the world, easily enough. Maybe you toss their owners in jail or hit them with big fines.
But when their erstwhile users make a new site, or a thousand new sites—and they will—will they all get taken down too? Will you get everyone who uploads a video or leaves a comment? Everyone whose internet history shows they’ve visited these sites? What about emailing the banned content to download for offline viewing—is that illegal too? What kind of mass surveillance apparatus are you willing to build to catch everyone who bypasses the ban?

And if you catch them, what then? Would the government fine people? Garnish their wages? Put them on a sex offender registry? Take away their children?

Would we imprison people over pornography? For how long? (Remember, we’re talking about a ban on all porn or other objectionable but currently legal content, not already and rightly illegal things like child pornography, nonconsensual pornography, or the swatting to which Greene was subjected.) Is a family better off if the dad gets three strikes and goes to prison for a year and can’t find a job when he gets out? Will putting a young man addicted to pornography in the criminogenic environment of prison make him more or less likely to get his life on track?

None of this is to suggest porn is a good thing or that I’m sorry to see Kiwi Farms go. I believe pornography is evil, and from what I know of Kiwi Farms, good riddance. But as Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter observed in 2014, “making an offense criminal” doesn’t simply show “how much we care about it.” Ultimately, every ban creates the possibility “that the police will go armed to enforce it.”

Don’t get squeamish, prohibitionists. Tell us what stick you have in mind. Content ban plans can’t be taken seriously until you explain what, exactly, you want the state to do to people who break your rules.”

Courts Split on Whether the Feds Can Overturn These State Abortion Bans

“”Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live,” said Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Women should not have to be near death to get care.”
In July, HHS issued new guidance stating that EMTALA’s provision for stabilizing treatment includes a right to an abortion in some circumstances. “If a state law prohibits abortion and does not include an exception for the health or life of the pregnant person—or draws the exception more narrowly than EMTALA’s emergency medical condition definition—that state law is preempted,” the agency said.

No existing abortion ban lacks an exception for a mother’s life, but some do omit exceptions for women’s health. And determining whether something counts as a life-threatening emergency—as opposed to a mere health-threatening emergency—isn’t so clear-cut. Many pregnancy complications could become life-threatening while not being necessarily or immediately so. The HHS guidance attempts to provide clarity, stating that regardless of what a state law says, physicians must provide an abortion if one is necessary to address an emergency medical condition (including, but not limited to, ectopic pregnancy or severely high blood pressure).

Texas sued over the HHS directive. Joined by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA), the state sought to have the HHS “abortion mandate” declared “unlawful, unconstitutional and unenforceable” and for the court to issue a preliminary injunction on its enforcement.”

The DOJ Files a Lawsuit Challenging Idaho’s Strict Abortion Ban

“Idaho’s abortion trigger ban, which was passed in 2020 and is slated to go into effect on August 25, bans all abortions outright. Rather than offering a narrow list of exceptions, as other anti-abortion laws do, Idaho’s law simply provides an affirmative legal defense for doctors arrested and charged with performing abortions. If a doctor can prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that “[he] determined, in his good faith medical judgment and based on the facts known to the physician at the time, that the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman,” or if the physician has a copy of the patient’s police report of rape, such doctors cannot be found guilty of performing an illegal abortion. However, if doctors charged with providing abortions fail to meet this standard, they can face up to five years in prison.
“Laws will exist that ask [physicians] to deprioritize the person in front of them and to act in a way that is medically harmful,” Louise King, an OB-GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told NPR, referring to new abortion restrictions taking effect across the U.S. “The penalty for not doing so will be loss of license, money loss, potentially even criminal sanctions.” Idaho’s law would likely incentivize doctors to delay care for dangerous pregnancy complications until a woman’s death is imminent.

“When a hospital determines that an abortion is the medical treatment necessary to stabilize the patient’s emergency medical condition, it is required by federal law to provide that treatment,” Garland said during a press conference on August 2, noting that Idaho’s law “would subject doctors to arrest and criminal prosecution, even if they perform an abortion to save a woman’s life.”

The DOJ is suing Idaho over this law, arguing that its blanket ban on abortions, even when the procedure is necessary to save a woman’s life or preserve her health, violates federal law. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is a 1986 federal law requiring hospitals that receive Medicare funds (which includes the vast majority of hospitals) to provide stabilizing care to their patients before discharging them. The DOJ argues that by banning abortions when they are necessary to stabilize a patient’s medical condition (such as when an abortion prevents a deadly septic infection during an incomplete miscarriage or is necessary to begin treatment for newly diagnosed cancer), Idaho’s abortion ban violates federal law and, therefore, must be struck down in accordance with the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.”

The Time Has Come for a Transpartisan ‘Repeal’ Caucus

“The federal government’s decadeslong war on marijuana, one of the most life-mangling policies ever enacted, could be ended with a single sentence: The Controlled Substances Act shall not apply to marijuana.

Put it in a bill, vote on the bill, pass the bill, sign the bill, done. Much of the federal government’s drug war law enforcement machinery would grind to a halt. No legislative horse-trading, no Christmas tree–style gifts to favored constituencies, no giving old bureaucracies new responsibilities. Just the simple and urgent removal of the legal justification for grievous government harm.

This elegant approach, redolent of the 21st Amendment’s repeal of federal alcohol prohibition, is untenable to big-government lifers like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.), as Jacob Sullum has repeatedly detailed in these pages. But it’s the shortest line to a point where a supermajority of Americans want policy to be. And it’s a template that could and should be used, at every level of government, by every flavor of politician.”

Enforcing Abortion Bans Is Much Harder Than Winning in Court

“I don’t know exactly what an inquisition into my wife’s miscarriages would have looked like. But I do know that it would have done nothing to ease her anguish. Abortion opponents won their victory in the Supreme Court, and now it’s on them to avoid making difficult situations much worse.”