Our Return to the Old West – Thanks, Ninth Circuit!

The ongoing legacy of decades of reagan and bush presidencies has been the flooding of the nations’ federal court system with hundreds of judges who have no more business being judges with lifetime tenure deciding the fate of hundreds of millions of Americans than of being appointed to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency after having run a horse jumping competition. The result has been thousands of judicial opinions deciding life or death and other monumental personal life changing matters based not on a knowledge of the Constitution and of other applicable laws, and the thoughtful interpretation thereof, but rather on partisan political and religious beliefs and outright bigotry.

We have seen this in the recent past as the federal courts have given license to obscene laws requiring previously unimaginable hoops that must be jumped through for women to


be able to exercise their Constitutional right to choose and for medical doctors to engage in the practice of medicine, and for people to be able to retain their right to vote.

The last bastion of judicial independence and non-partisan thinking has long been the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, deciding federal appeals from the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, plus several US Pacific Ocean territories. This Court has been populated by several of the diminishing number of truly outstanding legal scholars in the federal court system, men and women who see the law itself as

sacrosanct, to be the deciding factor in disputes, rather than political party, religious training, racism, sexism, or other irrelevant and extraneous influence.

Among the Court’s stalwart members have been the likes of Justices Harry Pregerson, Stephen Reinhadt, and Arthur Alarcon (from whom I was once privileged to take a post graduate legal procedure course) each appointed by President Jimmy Carter, and Justice Kim McLane Wardlaw, appointed by President Bill Clinton. However, long years of reagan and bush presidencies gave them opportunities to make numerous appointments to the Ninth Circuit, and thus we see Opinions from that Court such as today’s decision in the case of Peruta (among others including the National Rifle and Pistol Foundation) v the County of San Diego.

In this case, the Ninth Circuit was called upon to uphold basic gun safety standards long ago effectuated by San Diego that require “good cause” for the issuance of a permit to carry a concealed handgun. The court has now failed the citizens very badly, with a ruling that is among their worst, most despicable that I have seen in the 45 years that I have been following this Court.

The opinion in the 2-1 decision was


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written by Diarmuid O’Scannlain and joined in by Connie Callahan. O’Scannlain was a reagan appointee and Callahan was appointed by g w bush. The essence of the opinion is that the government cannot make “good cause” a requirement for issuing a permit; all that is needed is to want to have on one’s person a handgun for “personal safety”. Disagreeing with other federal courts that have upheld similar laws around the country, O’Scannlain wrote that “The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense.”


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The dissenting vote was cast by Justice Sidney Thomas, who wrote as follows:

“Courts and state legislatures have long recognized the danger to public safety of allowing unregulated, concealed weapons to be carried in public,” By allowing permits only to

those who show a special need for self-protection, San Diego and other counties strike “a reasonable balance between individuals interest in self-defense and the public’s interest in limiting the proliferation of handguns in public spaces.”

There will likely be an appeal of this ruling where the Ninth Circuit en banc will have the opportunity to review and discard this affront to public safety and common sense. Until then, no one will now be safe walking the streets of California. The law of the frontier has returned. The legacies of reagan and king w continue to inflict irreparable harm.

About theHoundDawg

For many years as a lawyer, I saw much of the good and bad of society, and did what I could to right many wrongs. The lack of understanding of what is good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, as evidenced by such events as the election of King W as president, (who as such far surpassed the evil of richard nixon but not quite that of ronald reagan) lead me in a new direction, to spend my time trying to understand what is happening to our society, to try as best I can to spread my insights to others, and along the way to maybe even eke out a living through the internet.
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