In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and…
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First Amendment Rights: Good News from the IRS on Donor Privacy

In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and First Amendment expression, there’s actually good news to report.

In fact, that positive development comes from none other than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which few people typically consider a font of good news.

Specifically, the IRS just announced a proposed rule to stop requiring nonprofit organizations to file what’s known as a Form 990 Schedule B, which exposes sensitive donor information not only to the federal government and potential rogues like former IRS official Lois Lerner, but also people who seek to access and use that information to target people on the basis of political belief.

As we at CFIF have long asserted, this welcome move will help protect the…[more]

September 12, 2019 • 11:07 am

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Important New Legal Victories for Second Amendment Rights Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, July 26 2018
Together, these constitute welcome legal victories for Second Amendment proponents.

We're only halfway through summer, but it has proven a particularly fruitful one for supporters of the Second Amendment individual right to keep and bear arms. 

Most saliently, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who interprets the seminal 2008 Heller v. D.C. decision to forbid laws outlawing so-called "assault weapons," to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Then, in recent weeks, several types of firearms restrictions have fallen in courts across America. 

This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals  which has consistently earned ridicule for defective constitutional analysis in pursuit of leftist political ends  actually got an important case right by ruling that the right to keep and bear arms includes the right to openly carry a firearm outside of one's home. 

In the case of Young v. Hawaii, local authorities repeatedly denied the plaintiff's application to carry a handgun for self-defense because they didn't believe that he had demonstrated sufficient cause.  Hawaiian law requires citizens to keep their firearms at their "place of business, residence, or sojourn."  And unless government officials allow otherwise, "a person may only transport an unloaded firearm, in an enclosed container, to and from a place of repair, a target range, a licensed dealer, a firearms exhibit, a hunting ground, or a police station, and may only use those firearms while 'actually engaged' in hunting or target shooting." 

Some good that will do anyone in need of immediate self-defense outside of their homes. 

Bizarrely, the lower district court dismissed Young's lawsuit, stating that the Hawaiian statute "does not implicate activity protected by the Second Amendment," because the Second Amendment "establishes only a narrow individual right to keep an operable handgun at home for self-defense." 

That's as if the text of the Second Amendment reads, "the right of the people to keep an operable handgun at home for self-defense shall not be infringed." 

Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week rejected that hairline interpretation.  Overturning the lower district court, the majority held that "we reject a cramped reading of the Second Amendment that renders to 'keep' and to 'bear' unequal guarantees": 

Concluding our analysis of text and review of history, we remain unpersuaded by the County's and the State's argument that the Second Amendment only has force within the home.  Once identified as an individual right focused on self-defense, the right to bear arms must guarantee some right to self-defense in public...  [W]e are satisfied that the Second Amendment encompasses a right to carry a firearm openly in public for self-defense. 

It's difficult to fathom how anyone could logically disagree with that conclusion.  Our Founding Fathers, after all, didn't envision a citizenry of shut-ins whose natural rights could be consigned to the parameters of their homes. 

From the nation's most left-leaning appellate court circuit, the Young decision constitutes a significant win for individual freedom. 

What's even more amazing is that Young arrives on the heels of another Ninth Circuit decision this month overturning another misguided gun control law. 

In Duncan v. Becerra, the plaintiffs challenged a 2016 California prohibition on "large capacity magazines," which the statute defined as those "with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds."  Unlike similar prohibitions in other states, however, California didn't merely ban the manufacture, sale or importation of such magazines, but also possession of any prohibited magazines acquired while they remained legal.  In this case, even the lower district court ruled that law unconstitutional, holding that, "If this injunction does not issue, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice:  become an outlaw or dispossess one's self of lawfully acquired property." 

The Ninth Circuit appellate decision found that the district court acted within its authority by enjoining California's prohibition: 

First, the district court identified the applicable law.  Second, it did not exceed its permissible discretion by concluding, based on those cases, that (1) some part of the Second Amendment right likely includes the right to bear a weapon "that has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia," and (2) the ammunition for a weapon is similar to the magazine for a weapon. 

Then in a third case, the U.S. State Department finally settled a lawsuit by ending its effort to block a private firearm company named Defense Distributed from publishing designs for its "Liberator," the world's first three-dimensional printed handgun.  The State Department even agreed to pay Defense Distributed's legal fees accumulated over four long years of litigation, a particularly humiliating concession. 

Together, these constitute welcome legal victories for Second Amendment proponents. 

But the best part is that upon confirmation by the Senate, future Justice Kavanaugh will be in a position to add his voice and his vote in similar Second Amendment cases. 

Question of the Week   
On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists using which one of the following?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"The Democrats, after all, have shown themselves to be thoroughgoing authoritarians. Many of our progressive friends spent the Obama years lecturing us that opposition to the president and his agenda was tantamount to sedition or treason. They tell us now that failing to knuckle under to their political agenda is treason. Democratic prosecutors have been conducting investigations of companies and…[more]
 
 
—Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
 
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Is the desire to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan in conflict with the lessons of September 11, 2001?