George Stadel op-ed:
Democratic Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal are not big fans of the U.S. Constitution, particularly of the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, 10th and 14th Amendments. One gets the feeling that if Gov. Dannel P. Malloy were to call for a National Guard platoon to set up camp in Tom Foley’s living room, they’d toss out the Third Amendment too.
What Murphy is fond of is dramatically expressed political outrage, for which he’s been given a lot of credit in recent weeks. Political is the operative word.
Murphy, joined by Blumenthal, filibustered to get a vote on gun control, which he got. There were two Democratic proposals, including Murphy’s, which had no chance of passing because they would have violated the Fifth Amendment requirement for due process and because of the Republican majority in the Senate, and two Republican proposals that could have passed if a handful of Democrats had voted for them. Granted, the Republican proposals didn’t go as far as Murphy wanted, but if he really wanted some new gun control rather than none, that was how he could have gotten it. Yet Murphy and Blumenthal both voted against the Republican proposals. Oddly, I didn’t notice any headline saying, “Senators Murphy and Blumenthal vote no on gun control measures.”
Then there is the Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, proposal, an intended bipartisan compromise. This also would violate the Fifth Amendment and as such was strongly opposed by the ACLU. That’s right, the ACLU, not the NRA that Murphy wants you to believe is the only organization that opposes gun control. The four-page ACLU letter to the Senate began: “Vote “NO” on Collins Amendment No. 4814 on Firearms Permits, Which Raises Even More Serious Problems than Either the Cornyn Amendment or Feinstein Amendment.” It then raised concerns regarding the “overbreadth and misuse of watchlists” and “the use of vague and overbroad criteria and the lack of adequate due process safeguards.” Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin proposed an amendment to the Collins proposal to meet the ACLU objections. Murphy and Blumenthal voted yes to the original and no to the Johnson amendment.
This is political posturing defined. Murphy even admits it.
In an interview by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Karl said, “Your proposal would have done nothing in the case of Orlando, it would have done nothing to stop the killing in San Bernardino and in fact, it was unrelated to the killing in Newtown.” Murphy replied, “(W)e can’t get into the trap in which we are forced to defend our proposal simply because it didn’t stop the last tragedy.” That’s right, he said it’s irrelevant that his proposed law would not have stopped the atrocities that he claims are the reasons his proposal should become law.
In an interview with Politico, Murphy said “Some of this is going to turn into an electoral operation. I’m going to be turning my attention to the November election. I’m going to take some of my energy and help make sure that people who cast the wrong vote don’t come back to the Senate.”
Yes, indeed. So this is not about getting a bill passed; that requires persuasion and compromise. It is about the drama that would help win him points in the partisan divide. In that he succeeded. He succeeded more than if his ineffective, arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional proposal had passed.
Since Murphy’s Senate histrionics, The Federal District Court for Oregon has found that the no-fly list itself violates procedural due process under the Fifth Amendment as well as rights under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706.
Not to be deterred, Murphy has set up The Fund to End Gun Violence to support those politicians who want to base the denial of Second Amendment rights on a list that has been found by a court to deny Fifth Amendment rights. Congratulations, senators; solid legal reasoning there.
Senator Blumenthal is up for re-election this year. The old faux war veteran is of one mind with Murphy. How about we take some of our energy and help make sure that he doesn’t come back to the Senate.
George Stadel is a member of the Stamford Taxpayers Political Action Committee.