Same Old Shot ‘Em Up

The U.S.D.C. for the Southern District of California (per Benitez, J.) has ruled that California’s statute outlawing guns that hold more than ten rounds is unconstitutional.

I have not read the entire 86 pages of the opinion, but it seems to be based upon outdated and questionable scholarship (see footnote 7 at slip op. 3) and, rather disgustingly, suggests that German Jews could have avoided their fate at the hands of the Nazis if only they had guns (see footnote 13 at slip op. 13-14).

The decision is, at its core, an extended ideological screed rather than a judicial opinion. Just look at the first paragraph of the three paragraph footnote 33 (of a total of 69 footnotes) that begins on slip op. 22 and runs on to slip op. 23:

Artificial limits will eventually lead to disarmament. It is an insidious plan to disarm the populace and it depends on for its success a subjective standard of “necessary” lethality. It does not take the imagination of Jules Verne to predict that if all magazines over 10 rounds are somehow eliminated from California, the next mass shooting will be accomplished with guns holding only 10 rounds. To reduce gun violence, the state will close the newly christened 10-round “loophole” and use it as a justification to outlaw magazines holding more than 7 rounds. The legislature will determine that no more than 7 rounds are “necessary.” Then the next mass shooting will be accomplished with guns holding 7 rounds. To reduce the new gun violence, the state will close the 7-round “loophole” and outlaw magazines holding more than 5 rounds determining that no more than 5 rounds is “necessary.” And so it goes, until the only lawful firearm law-abiding responsible citizens will be permitted to possess is a single-shot handgun. Or perhaps, one gun, but no ammunition. Or ammunition issued only to persons deemed trustworthy.

Emphasis added.

On not being bedazzled

If you have never in your life done anything you’re ashamed of or could have done better, you’re welcome to reject any and all Democratic Presidential candidates for their personal flaws. But no one gets to her 50s (or even 40s, or 30s) without regrets—no one honest, anyway. So let’s try to judge these people based on their actions and words in the public arena—what they’ve done for others, and what they propose to do.

This is not a taste test; we’re not consumers, entitled to titillation or inspiration or glossy packaging before we purchase. We’re citizens looking for a sister- or fellow-citizen—as flawed as ourselves—who most closely approximates our public ideals, plans and goals. For some reason I think of Tennyson’s Ulysses:

Come my friends, tis not too late
To seek a newer world….
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved heaven and earth, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Today someone expressed enthusiasm for a candidate by saying, “Who cares about votes?” I don’t understand that: every day that goes by, every terrible judicial appointment, every regulatory rollback, every white-supremacist speech or action, shows how critical it is to care about votes.

So let’s stop sipping and spitting and get down to the business of choosing an able candidate. Able to be elected, and able to do what matters as President when she is.

The Brexit ship of fools

A try at an update on the evolving Brexit chaos.

Eight days to B-day on March 29! For amoral political junkies, it’s sheer heaven. The last fortnight at Westminster has been the most exciting since May 1940, if not quite as important. You could only keep up by 24/7 liveblogging. I can’t manage it, so consider this a Brexit open thread.

Last time I looked (ten minutes ago) the state of play is this:

Continue reading “The Brexit ship of fools”

Climate Change: Attention Must Be Paid

In Wildearth Guardians v. Zinke decided today by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Contreras, J.), the court returned to the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) the BLM’s authorization of oil and gas leasing on Federal land in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. The court stated:

[T]he Court concludes that—withholding judgment on whether BLM’s leasing decisions were correct—BLM did not sufficiently consider climate change when making those decisions. BLM summarized the potential on-the-ground impacts of climate change in the state, the region, and across the country. It failed, however, to provide the information necessary for the public and agency decision makers to understand the degree to which the leasing decisions at issue would contribute to those impacts. In short, BLM did not adequately quantify the climate change impacts of oil and gas leasing.

Cannabis News Round-Up

California marijuana industry needs an intervention to avoid an “extinction event.” Employment and marijuana use among Washington adolescents before and after legalization of retail marijuana. Cannabis industry questions new Colorado system that would add chemicals to marijuana for tracking purposes.

Brookline, Massachusetts medicinal pot shop approved for recreational sales. Mission to buy weed with Connecticut lawmaker is gold for Massachusetts. Leaders offer blueprint for legal pot sales in Connecticut. Connecticut lawmakers hosted press conference on marijuana legalization. Cannabis 101 at UConn.

New York legalization fight intensifies. More New York say they will opt out of recreational marijuana. Albany County leaders undecided about participating in potential marijuana sales. Newsday readers weigh in on legalized marijuana in New York. Keep social justice in mind when pushing for New York marijuana legalization.

New Jersey governor, legislature, announce legal marijuana agreement. Don’t rush New Jersey legalization without getting answers first.

Expunge Illinois small-time pot convictions if it’s legalized. Illinois largely white marijuana industry is booming, and minority-run businesses want in. Illinois treasurer pushing to modernize “outdated” marijuana banking laws.

From casinos to cannabis: the Native Americans embracing the pot revolution. New Mexico recreational marijuana will be back in 2020 session.

Is the expungement provision of the Marijuana Justice Act constitutional?Trump claims executive privilege over agency memos on marijuana legalization. Bipartisan bill seeks to protect federal employees who use state-legal marijuana. The case for allowing interstate trade among marijuana-legal states. John Boehner was once “unalterably opposed” to marijuana. He now wants it to be legal. Legalizing marijuana, with a focus on social justice, unites 2020 Democrats.

The marijuana industry looks like the fastest-growing job market in the country. Banks don’t want to work with marijuana companies. It’s time for that to change. 7 ways marketers can break into the cannabis industry. The economic implications behind the cannabis legalization debate. Marijuana legalization must make War on Drugs’ victims whole before companies profit. As marijuana gets legalized, companies drop THC testing of employees. The cannabis industry is creating a green gold rush but obstacles to legalization still exist.

Canada marijuana companies are quietly pushing the Toronto Stock Exchange to allow them to invest in the lucrative US market and it could be transformative for the $75 billion industry.Mexico lawmakers reach across party lines to launch marijuana reform process.

Partnership Tax Reform

Terry Cuff is a lawyer whose practice is focused on partnership taxation. He has submitted a long and detailed letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. The letter suggests areas in which partnership tax returns and audits might be improved.

A good deal of Terry’s letter deals with areas that only partnership tax practitioners who are “made men” (or, of course, “made women”) can fully comprehend and appreciate. (As Terry explains on page 32 of his letter “Partnership Tax is Difficult.”) However, Terry offers comments that should be of interest to a more general audience such as:

  • Low Audit Rate Encourages Abuse;
  • Partnerships Are Playgrounds for Abuse;
  • Only 0.4% of Partnerships Are Audited;
  • If You Cheat on Your Taxes, Use a Partnership;
  • Examiners Need Better Pay and Better Support; and
  • The IRS Competes Unfavorably With Private Industry in Recruiting Examiners.

I note that Terry has given me permission to post his letter.

Cannabis News Round-Up

New Mexico House votes to legalize marijuana. New Mexico bill would create first state-run pot shops in US. New poll shows over half of Arizona supports legalizing marijuana. New marijuana banking bill in Congress has 108 cosponsors.

New Jersey lawmakers reach historic legal marijuana deal. New Jersey lower forecast shows marijuana no financial panacea. New Jersey marijuana legalization: Does legal weed bill include home grow, deliveries?

Illinois legal pot seems like a done deal. Some want a fair shot at the profits. Coalition works for racial equity as Illinois eyes legal marijuana. Illinois legal weed is closer than you think. Fight against legal marijuana in Illinois gets underway in Springfield.

Alaska poised to let people use marijuana at certain stores.

Minnesota senate committee torpedoes legal marijuana bill. Texas police chiefs: Marijuana legalization would only make things worse. Tulsi Gabbard pitches pot legalization bill as criminal justice reform. Majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana and expunging records, poll finds.

California cannabis marketplace is a mess. Here’s how to fix it. California agencies face cannabis licensing backlog that could hamper legal supply. Los Angeles illegal pot shops on verge of power shutoff in city crackdown.

Black lawmakers to block legalized marijuana in New York if their communities don’t benefit. Legalizing marijuana likely faces setback in New York.Home grown marijuana in New York: Will it be legal? Recreational marijuana: What schools fear most about the legalization in New York. New York bishops blaze against legalization in joint marijuana statement. Tallying the costs: New York marijuana legalization continues to divide. Nassau and Suffolk counties want to opt out of New York legal weed.

Support for Pennsylvania legal marijuana defies party politics—among residents, not lawmakers. Key Maryland committee holds hearing on two marijuana legalization bills. Here’s what legal recreational weed in Florida will look like.

Are weed churches legitimate houses of worship, or just another way around marijuana law?

British Columbia pot revenues not so high 6 months after legalization.

Connecticut S. Court’s Gun Lawsuit Opinions

I have posted the opinions, both the opinions of the Court and the dissent, in Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC. The opinion holds that the plaintiffs’ claims under state law were not barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Both opinions are placed together as a single file.