The Pronk Pops Show 781, October 21, 2016, Part 2 of 2: Story 1: Who Won The Third 2016 Presidential Debate? Trump — Who Will Be Elected President of The United States? — Who Do You Trust The Most? — Trump — Verdict On Hillary Clinton’s Criminal Activities Given By American People on Election Day, November 8 — Videos — Story 2: Hillary Clinton Is Nurse Ratched! — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 781: October 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 780: October 20, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 779: October 19, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 778: October 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 777: October 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 776: October 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 775: October 13, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 774: October 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 773: October 11, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 772: October 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 771: October 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 770: October 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 769: October 5, 2016 

Pronk Pops Show 768: October 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 767: September 30, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 766: September 29, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 765: September 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 764: September 27, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 763: September 26, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 762: September 23, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 761: September 22, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 760: September 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 759: September 20, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 758: September 19, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 757: September 16, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 756: September 15, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 755: September 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 754: September 13, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 753: September 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 752: September 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 751: September 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 750: September 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 749: September 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 748: September 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 747: August 31, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 746: August 30, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 745: August 29, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 744: August 26, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 743: August 25, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 742: August 24, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 741: August 23, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 740: August 22, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 739: August 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 738: August 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 737: August 16, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 736: August 15, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 735: August 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 734: August 11, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 733: August 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 732: August 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 731: August 4, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 730: August 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 729: August 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 728: July 29, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 727: July 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 726: July 27, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 725: July 26, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 724: July 25, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 723: July 22, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 722: July 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 721: July 20, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 720: July 19, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 719: July 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 718: July 15, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 717: July 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 716: July 13, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 715: July 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 714: July 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 713: July 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 712: July 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 711: July 1, 2016

Story 1: Who Won The Third 2016 Presidential Debate? Trump — Who Will Be Elected President of The United States? — Who Do You Trust The Most? — Trump — Verdict On Hillary Clinton’s Criminal Activities Given By American People on Election Day, November 8 —  Videos

 

Electoral College Projections as of October 19th

October 19, 2016

As we head into the final presidential debate, and with just under three weeks to go until the 2016 presidential election, here’s the state of the race from the viewpoint of 14 forecasters. You can find all the associated maps, as well as a few others, on our2016 Presidential Election Forecasts page.

Since our last update on October 13th, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s average total electoral votes are little changed. Clinton is at 300, Trump 187. Within Trump’s average, however, we are beginning to see an erosion in states where the Republican nominee is favored vs. those that are leaning in his direction. For example, a couple forecasters have moved Texas from favored to leaning.

Note that the statistical projections (shaded in gray) in the table may change several times a day as new input data (e.g., polls released that day) are processed by the models. This will lead to more variability vs. the other forecasters.

http://www.270towin.com/news/2016/10/19/electoral-college-projections-october-19th_398.html#.WAgvH-iAOko

Latest Polls

Wednesday, October 19
Race/Topic   (Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Quinnipiac Clinton 47, Trump 40, Johnson 7, Stein 1 Clinton +7
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton Quinnipiac Clinton 50, Trump 44 Clinton +6
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein IBD/TIPP Clinton 40, Trump 41, Johnson 8, Stein 6 Trump +1
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton IBD/TIPP Clinton 44, Trump 41 Clinton +3
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Bloomberg Clinton 47, Trump 38, Johnson 8, Stein 3 Clinton +9
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Economist/YouGov Clinton 42, Trump 38, Johnson 6, Stein 1 Clinton +4
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Reuters/Ipsos Clinton 42, Trump 38, Johnson 6, Stein 2 Clinton +4
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Rasmussen Reports Clinton 42, Trump 42, Johnson 7, Stein 1 Tie
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton LA Times/USC Tracking Clinton 44, Trump 44 Tie
North Carolina: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson SurveyUSA Clinton 46, Trump 44, Johnson 6 Clinton +2
North Carolina: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson Civitas (R) Clinton 45, Trump 43, Johnson 5 Clinton +2
Pennsylvania: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Clinton 45, Trump 41, Johnson 4, Stein 4 Clinton +4
New Hampshire: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Clinton 44, Trump 36, Johnson 10, Stein 6 Clinton +8
New Hampshire: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein WMUR/UNH Clinton 49, Trump 34, Johnson 8, Stein 2 Clinton +15
Missouri: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Trump 47, Clinton 39, Johnson 5, Stein 2 Trump +8
Arizona: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Arizona Republic Clinton 43, Trump 38, Johnson 7, Stein 4 Clinton +5
Wisconsin: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Monmouth Clinton 47, Trump 40, Johnson 6, Stein 1 Clinton +7
New York: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Siena Clinton 54, Trump 30, Johnson 5, Stein 4 Clinton +24
Kansas: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein KSN News/SurveyUSA Trump 47, Clinton 36, Johnson 7, Stein 2 Trump +11
Utah: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein vs. McMullin Emerson Trump 27, Clinton 24, McMullin 31, Johnson 5, Stein 0 McMullin +4
Vermont: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Vermont Public Radio Clinton 45, Trump 17, Johnson 4, Stein 3 Clinton +28

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Presidential Debate – October 19, 2016

Full. Third Presidential Debate. Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton. October 19, 2016

LIVE: Third Presidential Debate (C-SPAN)

Social media mocks Hillary Clinton’s ‘creepy grandma’ grin

Hillary Clinton ~~ Pure Evil Devil Laugh (Remix)

Trump: Clinton such a nasty woman

Donald Trump: We need to get out ‘bad hombres’

Trump: Justice Ginsburg apologized to me

TRUMP RESPONDS! Project Veritas Action – Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

UPDATE , A MUST WATCH Project Veritas #3

Fox & Friends 10/15/16 NEW Wikileaks Bombshell Hillary Clinton Open Border

WikiLeaks Doc Dump on Hillary! Calls for Open Borders in Leaked Emails! – 10/7/16

WikiLeaks Hits Hillary Clinton with a 9.0 Magnitude Earthquake | 08 Oct 2016

Michael Savage – If Trumps Wins Elite Will Blame Russia And Cancel Elections

RUSH: What In The World Happened To All The Trump Voters?

LIMBAUGH: Woman Who Claims Trump ‘OCTOPUSED’ Her Is MAKING IT UP!

Wikileaks Blows To Pieces Rigged Media, Project Veritas Destroys Democratic Party Operatives

Rigging the Election – Video I: Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

Rigging the Election – Video II: Mass Voter Fraud

FOX NEWS ALERT 10/18/16 Trump On Clinton Email Scandal This Is Big Stuff. This Is Watergate.

Hillary Clinton The Movie Banned by the Courts in 2008

3 Reasons Not To Sweat The “Citizens United” SCOTUS Ruling

What You Probably Haven’t Heard About Citizens United

Justice Scalia on Citizens United (C-SPAN)

Crooked Hillary Threatens to Ban Gun Ownership With Supreme Court Nominations

Hillary Clinton Outlines Plan to Abolish the Second Amendment

The Heller Ruling, Five Years On (Robert Levy)

Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators Visited White House 342 Times

PETER HASSON

Reporter, Associate Editor

A key operative in a Democratic scheme to send agitators to cause unrest at Donald Trump’s rallies has visited the White House 342 times since 2009, White House records show.

Robert Creamer, who acted as a middle man between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and “protesters” who tried — and succeeded — to provoke violence at Trump rallies met with President Obama during 47 of those 342 visits, according to White House records. Creamer’s last visit was in June 2016.

Creamer, whose White House visits were first pointed out by conservative blog Weasel Zippers, is stepping back from his role within the Clinton campaign. (RELATED: Second O’Keefe Video Shows Dem Operative Boasting About Voter Fraud)

Hidden camera video from activist James O’Keefe showed Creamer bragging that his role within the Clinton campaign was to oversee the work of Americans United for Change, a non-profit organization that sent activists to Trump rallies. (RELATED: Activist Who Took Credit For Violent Chicago Protests Was On Hillary’s Payroll)

Scott Foval, the national field director for Americans United for Change, explained how the scheme works.
“The [Clinton] campaign pays DNC, DNC pays Democracy Partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval Group, The Foval Group goes and executes the shit,” Foval told an undercover journalist.
One example of the “shit” Foval executes was an instance in which a 69-year-old woman garnered headlines after claiming to be assaulted at a Trump rally.

“She was one of our activists,” Foval said.

Creamer’s job was to “manage” the work carried out by Foval.

“And the Democratic Party apparatus and the people from the campaign, the Clinton campaign and my role with the campaign, is to manage all that,” Creamer told an undercover journalist.

“Wherever Trump and Pence are gonna be we have events,” he said.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/18/exposed-dem-operative-who-oversaw-trump-rally-agitators-visited-white-house-342-times/#ixzz4Naebnlzy

 

 

Citizens United v. FEC

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Citizens United” redirects here. For the political organization, see Citizens United (organization). For other uses, see Citizens United (disambiguation).
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

Argued March 24, 2009
Reargued September 9, 2009
Decided January 21, 2010
Full case name Citizens United, Appellant v. Federal Election Commission
Docket nos. 08-205
Citations 558 U.S. 310 (more)

130 S.Ct. 876
Argument Oral argument
Reargument Reargument
Opinion announcement Opinion announcement
Prior history denied appellants motion for a preliminary injunction 530 F. Supp. 2d 274 (D.D.C. 2008)[1]probable jurisdiction noted128 S. Ct. 1471 (2008).
Holding
The Freedom of the Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. And the provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violates the clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. United States District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Kennedy, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Alito; Thomas (all but Part IV); Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor (only as to Part IV)
Concurrence Roberts, joined by Alito
Concurrence Scalia, joined by Alito; Thomas (in part)
Concur/dissent Stevens, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor
Concur/dissent Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
McConnell v. FEC (in part)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, 558U.S.310 (2010), is a U.S. constitutional law and corporate law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held (5–4) that freedom of speech prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.[2][3]

In the case, the conservativenon-profit organizationCitizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts, which was a violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”.[4] Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][5] The Supreme Court reversed this decision, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and “electioneering communications”.[4] The majority decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).[6] The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.[7]

Background

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (known as BCRA or McCain–Feingold Act) – specifically §203, which modified the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C.§ 441b – prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury to fund “electioneering communications” (broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate) within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. During the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization named Citizens United filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that advertisements for Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, a docudrama critical of the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, constituted political advertising and thus could not be aired within the 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election. The FEC dismissed the complaint after finding no evidence that broadcast advertisements for the film and featuring a candidate within the proscribed time limits had actually been made.[8] The FEC later dismissed a second complaint which argued that the movie itself constituted illegal corporate spending advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, which was illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974. In dismissing that complaint, the FEC found that:

The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film’s release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not “contributions” or “expenditures” as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act.[9]

In the wake of these decisions, Citizens United sought to establish itself as a bona fide commercial film maker, producing several documentary films between 2005 and 2007. By early 2008, it sought to run television commercials to promote its political documentary Hillary: The Movie and to air the movie on DirecTV.[10]

In the District Court

In December 2007 Citizens United filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of several statutory provisions governing “electioneering communications”.[11] It asked the court to declare that the corporate and union funding restrictions were unconstitutional both on its face and as applied to Hillary: The Movie, and to enjoin the Federal Election Commission from enforcing its regulations. Citizens United also argued that the Commission’s disclosure and disclaimer requirements were unconstitutional as applied to the movie pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.. It also sought to enjoin the funding, disclosure, and disclaimer requirements as applied to Citizens United’s intended ads for the movie.

In accordance with special rules in section 403 of the BCRA, a three-judge court was convened to hear the case. On January 15, 2008, the court denied Citizens United’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the suit had little chance of success because the movie had no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote against Senator Clinton, that it was therefore express advocacy, not entitled to exemption from the ban on corporate funding of electioneering communications, and that television advertisements for the movie within 30 days of a primary violated the BCRA restrictions on “electioneering communications”.[12] The court held that the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC (2003) had found the disclosure requirements constitutional as to all electioneering communications, and Wisconsin RTL did not disturb this holding because the only issue of that case was whether speech that did not constitute the functional equivalent of express advocacy could be banned during the relevant pre-election period.

On July 18, 2008, the District Court granted summary judgement to the Federal Election Commission. In accordance with the special rules in the BCRA, Citizens United appealed to the Supreme Court which docketed the case on August 18, 2008 and granted certiorari on November 14, 2008.[13]

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on March 24, 2009[10][14][15] and then asked for further briefs on June 29; the re-argument was heard on September 9, 2009.[13]

Before the Supreme Court

During the original oral argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or labor union.[16] In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring a writer to author a political book.[17]

According to a 2012 article in The New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin, the Court expected after oral argument to rule on the narrow question that had originally been presented: could Citizens United show the film? At the subsequent conference among the justices after oral argument, the vote was 5–4 in favor of Citizens United being allowed to show the film. The justices voted the same as they had in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., a similar 2007 case, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito in the majority.[18]

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the initial opinion of the Court, holding that the BCRA allowed the showing of the film. A draft concurring opinion by Justice Kennedy argued that the court could and should have gone much further. The other justices in the majority began agreeing with Kennedy, and convinced Roberts to reassign the writing and allow Kennedy’s concurrence to become the majority opinion.[18]

On the other side, John Paul Stevens, the most senior justice in the minority, assigned the dissent to David Souter, who announced his retirement from the Court while he was working on it. The final draft went beyond critiquing the majority. Toobin described it as “air[ing] some of the Court’s dirty laundry,” writing that Souter’s dissent accused Roberts of having manipulated Court procedures to reach his desired result – an expansive decision that, Souter claimed, changed decades of election law and ruled on issues neither party to the litigation had presented.[18]

According to Toobin, Roberts was concerned that Souter’s dissent, likely to be his last opinion for the Court, could “damage the Court’s credibility.” He agreed with the minority to withdraw the opinion and schedule the case for reargument. However, when he did, the “Questions Presented” to the parties were more expansive, touching on the issues Kennedy had identified. According to Toobin, the eventual result was therefore a foregone conclusion from that point on.[18] Toobin’s account has been criticized for drawing conclusions unsupported by the evidence in his article.[19]

On June 29, 2009, the last day of the term, the Court issued an order directing the parties to re-argue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission to decide the case.[20] Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge of BCRA §203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim.[21]

Justice Sotomayor sat on the bench for the first time during the second round of oral arguments. This was the first case argued by then-Solicitor General and future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued for Citizens United, and former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman defended the statute on behalf of various supporters.[22] Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky called it “one of the most important First Amendment cases in years”.[23]

Opinions of the Court

Majority opinion

Justice Kennedy, the author of the Court’s opinion.

Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion[24] found that the BCRA §203 prohibition of all independent expenditures by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The majority wrote, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”[25]

Justice Kennedy’s opinion also noted that because the First Amendment does not distinguish between media and other corporations, the BCRA restrictions improperly allowed Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television, and blogs.[4] The Court overruled Austin, which had held that a state law that prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court also overruled that portion of McConnell that upheld BCRA’s restriction of corporate spending on “electioneering communications”. The Court’s ruling effectively freed corporations and unions to spend money both on “electioneering communications” and to directly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates (although not to contribute directly to candidates or political parties).

The majority ruled that the Freedom of the Press clause of the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker. Corporations, as associations of individuals therefore, have free speech rights under the First Amendment. Because spending money is essential to disseminating speech, as established in Buckley v. Valeo, limiting a corporation’s ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members to associate effectively and to speak on political issues.

The decision overruled Austin because that decision allowed different restrictions on speech-related spending based on corporate identity. Additionally, the decision said that Austinwas based on an “equality” rationale – trying to equalize speech between different speakers – that the Court had previously rejected as illegitimate under the First Amendment in Buckley. The Michigan statute at issue in Austin had distinguished between corporate and union spending, prohibiting the former while allowing the latter. The Austin Court, over the dissent by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and O’Connor, had held that such distinctions were within the legislature’s prerogative. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, however, the majority argued that the First Amendment purposefully keeps the government from interfering in the “marketplace of ideas” and “rationing” speech, and it is not up to the legislatures or the courts to create a sense of “fairness” by restricting speech.[24]

The majority also criticized Austin’s reasoning that the “distorting effect” of large corporate expenditures constituted a risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption. Rather, the majority argued that the government had no place in determining whether large expenditures distorted an audience’s perceptions, and that the type of “corruption” that might justify government controls on spending for speech had to relate to some form of “quid pro quo” transaction: “There is no such thing as too much speech.”[24] The public has a right to have access to all information and to determine the reliability and importance of the information. Additionally, the majority did not believe that reliable evidence substantiated the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, and so this rationale did not satisfy strict scrutiny.

The Court’s opinion relied heavily on the reasoning and principles of the landmark campaign finance case of Buckley and First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, in which the Court struck down a broad prohibition against independent expenditures by corporations in ballot initiatives and referenda.[24] Specifically, the Court echoed Bellotti’s rejection of categories based on a corporation’s purpose. The majority argued that to grant Freedom of the Press protections to media corporations, but not others, presented a host of problems; and so all corporations should be equally protected from expenditure restrictions.

The Court found that BCRA §§201 and 311, provisions requiring disclosure of the funder, were valid as applied to the movie advertisements and to the movie itself.[24] The majority ruled for the disclosure of the sources of campaign contributions, saying that

…prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters. Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are “in the pocket” of so-called moneyed interests…This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.[26][27]

Concurrences

Chief Justice Roberts, with whom Justice Alito joined, wrote separately “to address the important principles of judicial restraint and stare decisis implicated in this case”.[28]

Roberts wrote to further explain and defend the Court’s statement that “there is a difference between judicial restraint and judicial abdication.” Roberts explained why the Court must sometimes overrule prior decisions. Had prior Courts never gone against stare decisis, for example, “segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants”. Roberts’ concurrence recited a plethora of case law in which the court had ruled against precedent. Ultimately, Roberts argued that “stare decisis…counsels deference to past mistakes, but provides no justification for making new ones”.[28]

Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the Court, and wrote a concurring opinion joined by Justice Alito in full and by Justice Thomas in part. Scalia addressed Justice Stevens‘ dissent, specifically with regard to theoriginal understanding of the First Amendment. Scalia said Stevens’ dissent was “in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment…It never shows why ‘the freedom of speech’ that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form.” He further considered the dissent’s exploration of the Framers’ views about the “role of corporations in society” to be misleading, and even if valid, irrelevant to the text. Scalia principally argued that the First Amendment was written in “terms of speech, not speakers” and that “Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker.”[29] Scalia argued that the Free Press clause was originally intended to protect the distribution of written materials and did not only apply to the media specifically. This understanding supported the majority’s contention that the Constitution does not allow the Court to separate corporations into media and non-media categories.[24]

Justice Thomas wrote a separate opinion concurring in all but the upholding of the disclosure provisions. In order to protect the anonymity of contributors to organizations exercising free speech, Thomas would have struck down the reporting requirements of BCRA §201 and §311 as well, rather than allowing them to be challenged only on a case-specific basis. Thomas’s primary argument was that anonymous free speech is protected and that making contributor lists public makes the contributors vulnerable to retaliation, citing instances of retaliation against contributors to both sides of a then recent California voter initiative. Thomas also expressed concern that such retaliation could extend to retaliation by elected officials. Thomas did not consider “as-applied challenges” to be sufficient to protect against the threat of retaliation.[30]

Dissent

Justice Stevens, the author of the dissenting opinion.

A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens[31] was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens read part of his 90-page dissent from the bench.[32] Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the Court. He argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He added: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”[33]

Stevens also argued that the Court addressed a question not raised by the litigants when it found BCRA §203 to be facially unconstitutional, and that the majority “changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law”.[24] He argued that the majority had expanded the scope beyond the questions presented by the appellant and that therefore a sufficient record for judging the case did not exist. Stevens argued that at a minimum the Court should have remanded the case for a fact-finding hearing, and that the majority did not consider other compilations of data, such as the Congressional record for justifying BCRA §203.

Stevens referenced a number of major cases to argue that the Court had long recognized that to deny Congress the power to safeguard against “the improper use of money to influence the result [of an election] is to deny to the nation in a vital particular the power of self protection”.[34] After recognizing that in Buckley v. Valeo the Court had struck down portions of a broad prohibition of independent expenditures from any sources, Stevens argued that nevertheless Buckley recognized the legitimacy of “prophylactic” measures for limiting campaign spending and found the prevention of “corruption” to be a reasonable goal for legislation. Consequently, Stevens argued that Buckley left the door open for carefully tailored future regulation.[24] Although the majority echoed many of the arguments in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Stevens argued that the majority opinion contradicted the reasoning of other campaign finance cases – in particular, Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission – and found it telling that the majority, when citing such cases, referenced mainly dissenting opinions.

Stevens’ dissent specifically sought to address a number of the majority’s central arguments:

First, Stevens argued that the majority failed to recognize the possibility for corruption outside strict quid pro quo exchanges. He referenced facts from a previous BCRA challenge to argue that, even if the exchange of votes for expenditures could not be shown, contributors gain favorable political access from such expenditures.[24] The majority considered access to be insufficient justification for limiting speech rights.

Stevens, however, argued that in the past, even when striking down a ban on corporate independent expenditures, the Court “never suggested that such quid pro quo debts must take the form of outright vote buying or bribes” (Bellotti). Buckley, he said, also acknowledged that large independent expenditures present the same dangers as quid pro quo arrangements, although Buckley struck down limits on such independent expenditures. Using the record from a previous BCRA §203 challenge, he argued that independent expenditures were sometimes a factor in gaining political access and concluded that large independent expenditures generate more influence than direct campaign contributions.[24] Furthermore, Stevens argued that corporations could threaten Representatives and Senators with negative advertising to gain unprecedented leverage. Stevens supported his argument by citing Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.,[35] where the Court held that $3 million in independent expenditures in a judicial race raised sufficient questions about a judge’s impartiality to require the judge to recuse himself in a future case involving the spender. Stevens argued that it was contradictory for the majority to ignore the same risks in legislative and executive elections, and argued that the majority opinion would exacerbate the problem presented in Caperton because of the number of states with judicial elections and increased spending in judicial races.

Second, Stevens argued that the majority did not place enough emphasis on the need to prevent the “appearance of corruption” in elections. Earlier cases, including Buckley and Bellotti, recognized the importance of public confidence in democracy. Stevens cited recent data indicating that 80% of the public view corporate independent expenditures as a method used to gain unfair legislative access.[24] Stevens predicted that if the public believes that corporations dominate elections, disaffected voters will stop participating.

Third, Stevens argued that the majority’s decision failed to recognize the dangers of the corporate form. Austin held that the prevention of corruption, including the distorting influence of a dominant funding source, was a sufficient reason for regulating corporate independent expenditures. In defending Austin, Stevens argued that the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside profit-making, and no loyalty. Therefore, he argued, the courts should permit legislatures to regulate corporate participation in the political process.

Legal entities, Stevens wrote, are not “We the People” for whom our Constitution was established.[24] Therefore, he argued, they should not be given speech protections under the First Amendment. The First Amendment, he argued, protects individual self-expression, self-realization and the communication of ideas. Corporate spending is the “furthest from the core of political expression” protected by the Constitution, he argued, citing Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont,[36] and corporate spending on politics should be viewed as a business transaction designed by the officers or the boards of directors for no purpose other than profit-making. Stevens called corporate spending “more transactional than ideological”. Stevens also pointed out that any member of a corporation may spend personal money on promoting a campaign because BCRA only prohibited the use of general treasury money.

Fourth, Stevens attacked the majority’s central argument: that the prohibition of spending guards free speech and allows the general public to receive all available information. Relying on Austin, Stevens argued that corporations “unfairly influence” the electoral process with vast sums of money that few individuals can match, which distorts the public debate. Because a typical voter can only absorb so much information during a relevant election period, Stevens described “unfair corporate influence” as the potential to outspend others, to push others out of prime broadcasting spots and to dominate the “marketplace of ideas”.[24] This process, he argued, puts disproportionate focus on this speech and gives the impression of widespread support regardless of actual support. Thus, this process marginalizes the speech of other individuals and groups.

Stevens referred to the majority’s argument that “there is no such thing as too much speech” as “facile” and a “straw man” argument. He called it an incorrect statement of First Amendment law because the Court recognizes numerous exceptions to free speech, such as fighting words, obscenity restrictions, time, place and manner restrictions, etc. Throughout his dissent, Stevens said that the majority’s “slogan” ignored the possibility that too much speech from one source could “drown out” other points of view.

Fifth, Stevens criticized the majority’s fear that the government could use BCRA §203 to censor the media. The focus placed on this hypothetical fear made no sense to him because it did not relate to the facts of this case – if the government actually attempted to apply BCRA §203 to the media (and assuming that Citizens United could not constitute “media”), the Court could deal with the problem at that time. Stevens described the majority’s supposed protection of the media as nothing more than posturing. According to him, it was the majority’s new rule, announced in this case, that prohibited a law from distinguishing between “speakers” or funding sources. This new rule would be the only reason why media corporations could not be exempted from BCRA §203. In this, Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment’s protection of “the press” quite differently. Stevens argues that the “Press” is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not “press”. The majority opinion viewed “freedom of the press” as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.

Sixth, Stevens claimed that the majority failed to give proper deference to the legislature. Stevens predicted that this ruling would restrict the ability of the states to experiment with different methods for decreasing corruption in elections. According to Stevens, this ruling virtually ended those efforts, “declaring by fiat” that people will not “lose faith in our democracy”.[24] Stevens argued that the majority’s view of a self-serving legislature, passing campaign-spending laws to gain an advantage in retaining a seat, coupled with “strict scrutiny” of laws, would make it difficult for any campaign finance regulation to be upheld in future cases.

Seventh, Stevens argued that the majority opinion ignored the rights of shareholders. A series of cases protects individuals from legally compelled payment of union dues to support political speech.[37] Because shareholders invest money in corporations, Stevens argued that the law should likewise help to protect shareholders from funding speech that they oppose. The majority, however, argued that ownership of corporate stock was voluntary, and that unhappy shareholders could simply sell off their shares if they did not agree with the corporation’s speech. Stevens also argued that Political Action Committees (PACs), which allow individual members of a corporation to invest money in a separate fund, are an adequate substitute for general corporate speech and better protect shareholder rights. The majority, by contrast, had argued that most corporations are too small and lack the resources and raw number of shareholders and management staff necessary to cover the compliance, accounting, and administrative costs of maintaining a PAC. In this dispute, the opposing views essentially discussed differing types of entities: Stevens focused his argument on large, publicly held corporations, while the justices in the majority, and particularly Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion, placed an emphasis on small, closely held corporations and non-profits.

Stevens called the majority’s faith in “corporate democracy” an unrealistic method for a shareholder to oppose political funding. A derivative suit is slow, inefficient, risky and potentially expensive. Likewise, shareholder meetings only happen a few times a year, not prior to every decision or transaction. Rather, the officers and boards control the day-to-day spending, including political spending. According to Stevens, the shareholders have few options, giving them “virtually nonexistent” recourse for opposing a corporation’s political spending.[24] Furthermore, most shareholders use investment intermediaries, such as mutual funds or pensions, and by the time a shareholder may find out about a corporation’s political spending and try to object, the damage is done and the shareholder has funded disfavored speech.

Stevens concluded his dissent:

At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.[25]

Subsequent developments

There was a wide range of reactions to the case from politicians, academics, attorneys, advocacy groups and journalists.

Support

Politicians

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a plaintiff in the earlier related decision McConnell v. FEC, said:[38][39]

For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today’s monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day. By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers. Our democracy depends upon free speech, not just for some but for all.

Republican campaign consultant Ed Rollins opined that the decision adds transparency to the election process and will make it more competitive.[40]

Advocacy groups

Citizens United, the group filing the lawsuit, said, “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Citizens United to air its documentary films and advertisements is a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”[41] During litigation, Citizens United had support from the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.[42]

Campaign finance attorney Cleta Mitchell, who had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of two advocacy organizations opposing the ban, wrote that “The Supreme Court has correctly eliminated a constitutionally flawed system that allowed media corporations (e.g., The Washington Post Co.) to freely disseminate their opinions about candidates using corporate treasury funds, while denying that constitutional privilege to Susie’s Flower Shop Inc. … The real victims of the corporate expenditure ban have been nonprofit advocacy organizations across the political spectrum.”[43]

Heritage Foundation fellow Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, said “The Supreme Court has restored a part of the First Amendment that had been unfortunately stolen by Congress and a previously wrongly-decided ruling of the court.”[44]

Libertarian Cato Institute analysts John Samples and Ilya Shapiro wrote that restrictions on advertising were based on the idea “that corporations had so much money that their spending would create vast inequalities in speech that would undermine democracy”. However, “to make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint, which is ultimately the heart of American conceptions of free speech.”[45]

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief that supported the decision,[46] saying that “section 203 should now be struck down as facially unconstitutional”, though membership was split over the implications of the ruling and its board sent the issue to its special committee on campaign finance for further consideration.[47] On March 27, 2012, the ACLU reaffirmed its stance in support of the Supreme Court’sCitizens United ruling.[48]

Academics and attorneys

Bradley A. Smith, professor of law at Capital University Law School, former chairman of the FEC, founder of the Center for Competitive Politics and a leading proponent of deregulation of campaign finance, wrote that the major opponents of political free speech are “incumbent politicians” who “are keen to maintain a chokehold on such speech”. Empowering “small and midsize corporations – and every incorporated mom-and-pop falafel joint, local firefighters’ union, and environmental group – to make its voice heard” frightens them.[49] In response to statements by President Obama and others that the ruling would allow foreign entities to gain political influence through U.S. subsidiaries, Smith pointed out that the decision did not overturn the ban on political donations by foreign corporations and the prohibition on any involvement by foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending by U.S. subsidiaries, which are covered by other parts of the law.[50][51][52]

Campaign finance expert Jan Baran, a member of the Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, agreed with the decision, writing that “The history of campaign finance reform is the history of incumbent politicians seeking to muzzle speakers, any speakers, particularly those who might publicly criticize them and their legislation. It is a lot easier to legislate against unions, gun owners, ‘fat cat’ bankers, health insurance companies and any other industry or ‘special interest’ group when they can’t talk back.” Baran further noted that in general conservatives and libertarians praised the ruling’s preservation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, but that liberals and campaign finance reformers criticized it as greatly expanding the role of corporate money in politics.[53]

Attorney Kenneth Gross, former associate general counsel of the FEC, wrote that corporations relied more on the development of long-term relationships, political action committees and personal contributions, which were not affected by the decision. He held that while trade associations might seek to raise funds and support candidates, corporations which have “signed on to transparency agreements regarding political spending” may not be eager to give.[43]

The New York Times asked seven academics to opine on how corporate money would reshape politics as a result of the court’s decision.[54] Three of the seven wrote that the effects would be minimal or positive: Christopher Cotton, a University of Miami School of Business assistant professor of economics, wrote that “There may be very little difference between seeing eight ads or seeing nine ads (compared to seeing one ad or two). And, voters recognize that richer candidates are not necessarily the better candidates, and in some cases, the benefit of running more ads is offset by the negative signal that spending a lot of money creates.[54]Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, stated that the “most influential actors in most political campaigns” are media corporations which “overtly editorialize for and against candidates, and also influence elections by choosing what to cover and how to cover it”. Holding that corporations like Exxon would fear alienating voters by supporting candidates, the decision really meant that voters would hear “more messages from more sources”.[54] Joel Gora, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who had previously argued the case of Buckley v. Valeo on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the decision represented “a great day for the First Amendment” writing that the Court had “dismantled the First Amendment ‘caste system’ in election speech”.[54]

Journalists

The Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News criticized McCain–Feingold’s exception for media corporations from the ban on corporate electioneering, writing that it “makes no sense” that the paper could make endorsements up until the day of the election but advocacy groups could not. “While the influence of money on the political process is troubling and sometimes corrupting, abridging political speech is the wrong way to counterbalance that influence.”[55]

Anthony Dick in National Review countered a number of arguments against the decision, asking rhetorically, “is there something uniquely harmful and/or unworthy of protection about political messages that come from corporations and unions, as opposed to, say, rich individuals, persuasive writers, or charismatic demagogues?” He noted that “a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of the public actually agrees with the Court that corporations and unions should be treated just like individuals in terms of their political-expenditure rights”.[56] A Gallup poll taken in October 2009 and released soon after the decision showed 57 percent of those surveyed agreed that contributions to political candidates are a form of free speech and 55 percent agreed that the same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions. Sixty-four percent of Democrats and Republicans believed campaign donations are a form of free speech.[57]

Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman wrote “If corporate advocacy may be forbidden as it was under the law in question, it’s not just Exxon Mobil and Citigroup that are rendered mute. Nonprofit corporations set up merely to advance goals shared by citizens, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, also have to put a sock in it. So much for the First Amendment goal of fostering debate about public policy.”[58]

Opposition

Politicians

President Barack Obama stated that the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington – while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates”.[59] Obama later elaborated in his weekly radio address saying, “this ruling strikes at our democracy itself” and “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest”.[60]On January 27, 2010, Obama further condemned the decision during the 2010 State of the Union Address, stating that, “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law[61] to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.” On television, the camera shifted to a shot of the SCOTUS judges in the front row directly in front of the President while he was making this statement, and Justice Samuel Alito was frowning, shaking his head side to side while mouthing the words “Not true”.[62][63][64][65][66][67]

Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, a lead sponsor of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, stated “This decision was a terrible mistake. Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”[68]RepresentativeAlan Grayson, a Democrat, stated that it was “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case, and that the court had opened the door to political bribery and corruption in elections to come.[69] Democratic congresswoman Donna Edwards, along with constitutional law professor and Maryland Democratic State Senator Jamie Raskin, have advocated petitions to reverse the decision by means of constitutional amendment.[70] Rep. Leonard Boswell introduced legislation to amend the constitution.[71] Senator John Kerry also called for an Amendment to overrule the decision.[72] On December 8, 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the Saving American Democracy Amendment, which would reverse the court’s ruling.[73][74]

Republican Senator John McCain, co-crafter of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, said “there’s going to be, over time, a backlash … when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that’s going to go into political campaigns”.[75] McCain was “disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions” but not surprised by the decision, saying that “It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA.”[68] Republican Senator Olympia Snowe opined that “Today’s decision was a serious disservice to our country.”[76]

Although federal law after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission still prohibited corporate contributions to all political parties, Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party, stated that “The ruling especially hurts the ability of parties that don’t accept corporate contributions, like the Green Party, to compete.” Another Green Party officer, Rich Whitney, stated “In a transparently political decision, a majority of the US Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech.”

Ralph Nader condemned the ruling,[77] saying that “With this decision, corporations can now directly pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars.” He called for shareholder resolutions asking company directors to pledge not to use company money to favor or oppose electoral candidates.[78]Pat Choate, former Reform Party candidate for Vice President, stated, “The court has, in effect, legalized foreign governments and foreign corporations to participate in our electoral politics.”[79]

Senator Bernie Sanders, a contender in the 2016 Democratic Primary, has filed a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Decision.[80] Further, both Sanders and Hillary Clinton have said that, if elected, they will only appoint Supreme Court Justices who are committed to the repeal of Citizens United.[81] In September 2015, Sanders said that “the foundations of American Democracy are being undermined” and called for sweeping campaign finance reform.[82]

International

Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, speaking for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe‘s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (which has overseen over 150 elections) said the ruling may adversely affect the organization’s two commitments of “giving voters a genuine choice and giving candidates a fair chance” in that “it threatens to further marginalize candidates without strong financial backing or extensive personal resources, thereby in effect narrowing the political arena”.[83]

Academics and attorneys

Money isn’t speech and corporations aren’t people
— David Kairys[84]

The constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe wrote that the decision “marks a major upheaval in First Amendment law and signals the end of whatever legitimate claim could otherwise have been made by the Roberts Court to an incremental and minimalist approach to constitutional adjudication, to a modest view of the judicial role vis-à-vis the political branches, or to a genuine concern with adherence to precedent” and pointed out, “Talking about a business corporation as merely another way that individuals might choose to organize their association with one another to pursue their common expressive aims is worse than unrealistic; it obscures the very real injustice and distortion entailed in the phenomenon of some people using other people’s money to support candidates they have made no decision to support, or to oppose candidates they have made no decision to oppose.”[85]

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose opinions had changed from dissenting in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce to co-authoring (with Stevens) the majority opinion in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission twelve years later, criticized the decision only obliquely, but warned, “In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon.”[86]

Richard L. Hasen, professor of election law at Loyola Law School, argued that the ruling “is activist, it increases the dangers of corruption in our political system and it ignores the strong tradition of American political equality”. He also described Justice Kennedy’s “specter of blog censorship” as sounding more like “the rantings of a right-wing talk show host than the rational view of a justice with a sense of political realism”.[87]

Kathleen M. Sullivan, professor at Stanford Law School and Steven J. Andre, adjunct professor at Lincoln Law School, argued that two different visions of freedom of speech exist and clashed in the case. An egalitarian vision skeptical of the power of large agglomerations of wealth to skew the political process conflicted with a libertarian vision skeptical of government being placed in the role of determining what speech people should or should not hear.[88][89] Wayne Batchis, Professor at the University of Delaware, in contrast, argues that the Citizens United decision represents a misguided interpretation of the non-textual freedom of association.[90]

The four other scholars of the seven writing in the aforementionedNew York Times article were critical.[54]Richard L. Hasen, Distinguished Professor of election law at Loyola Law School argued differently from his Slate article above, concentrating on the “inherent risk of corruption that comes when someone spends independently to try to influence the outcome of judicial elections”, since judges are less publicly accountable than elected officials. Heather K. Gerken, Professor of Law at Yale Law School wrote that “The court has done real damage to the cause of reform, but that damage mostly came earlier, with decisions that made less of a splash.” Michael Waldman, director of the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law, opined that the decision “matches or exceeds Bush v. Gore in ideological or partisan overreaching by the court”, explaining how “Exxon or any other firm could spend Bloomberg-level sums in any congressional district in the country against, say, any congressman who supports climate change legislation, or health care, etc.” andFred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21 considered that “Chief Justice Roberts has abandoned the illusory public commitments he made to ‘judicial modesty’ and ‘respect for precedent’ to cast the deciding vote for a radical decision that profoundly undermines our democracy,” and that “Congress and presidents past have recognized this danger and signed numerous laws over the years to prevent this kind of corruption of our government.”[54]

Journalists

The New York Times stated in an editorial, “The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.”[91]Jonathan Alter called it the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation”.[92] The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the Court had declared “outright that corporate expenditures cannot corrupt elected officials, that influence over lawmakers is not corruption, and that appearance of influence will not undermine public faith in our democracy”.[93]

Business leaders

In 2012, Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, founded Stamp Stampede, a sustained protest to demonstrate widespread support for a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. The campaign encourages people to rubber stamp messages such as “Not To Be Used for Bribing Politicians” on paper currency. In 2014, Cohen told Salon, “As long as the Supreme Court rules money is speech, corporations and the wealthy are using it by giving piles of it to politicians to pass or not pass laws that they want. Now, the rest of the people, [those] who don’t have that money, can actually make their voice heard by using money to stamp a message out.”[94]

Media coverage

Political blogs

Most blogs avoided the theoretical aspects of the decision and focused on more personal and dramatic elements, including the Barack ObamaSamuel Alito face-off during the President’s State of the Union address.[95] There, President Obama argued that the decision “reversed a century of law” (the federal ban on corporate contributions dates back to the 1907 Tillman Act, and the ban on union and corporate expenditures dates from 1947) and that it would allow “foreign corporations to spend without limits in our elections”, during which Justice Alito, in the audience, perceptibly mouthed the words “not true”. This event received extensive comment from political bloggers, with a substantial amount of the coverage concentrated on whether or not foreign corporations would be able to make substantial political contributions in US elections. In the opinion, the Court had specifically indicated it was not overturning the ban on foreign contributions.

Opinion polls

ABC-Washington Post poll results.

An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections”. Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns”. The poll showed large majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.[96][97][98]

A Gallup Poll conducted in October 2009, after oral argument, but released after the Supreme Court released its opinion, found that 57 percent of those surveyed “agreed that money given to political candidates is a form of free speech” and 55 percent agreed that the “same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions”. However, in the same poll respondents by 52% to 41% prioritized limits on campaign contributions over protecting rights to support campaigns and 76% thought the government should be able to place limits on corporation or union donations.[99][100]

Separate polls by various conservative organizations, including the plaintiff Citizens United and the Center for Competitive Politics, found support for the decision.[101] In particular, the Center for Competitive Politics poll[102] found that 51% of respondents believed that Citizens United should have a right to air ads promoting Hillary: The Movie. The poll also found that only 22 percent had heard of the case.

Further court rulings

SpeechNow v. FEC

Main article: SpeechNOW v. FEC

SpeechNow is a nonprofit, unincorporated association organized as a section 527 entity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The organization was formed by individuals who seek to pool their resources to make independent expenditures expressly advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates. SpeechNow planned to accept contributions only from individuals, not corporations or other sources prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act. On February 14, 2008, SpeechNow and several individual plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act provisions governing political committee registration, contribution limits and disclosure. The plaintiffs contended that the Act unconstitutionally restricts their association guaranteed under the First Amendment. By requiring registration as a political committee and limiting the monetary amount that an individual may contribute to a political committee, SpeechNow and the other plaintiffs asserted that the Act unconstitutionally restricted the individuals’ freedom of speech by limiting the amount that an individual can contribute to SpeechNow and thus the amount the organization may spend. SpeechNow also argued that the reporting required of political committees is unconstitutionally burdensome.[103]

On March 26, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in SpeechNow.org. v. FEC that the contribution limits of 2 U.S.C. §441a were unconstitutional as applied to individuals’ contributions to SpeechNow. The court also ruled that the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. §§432, 433 and 434(a) and the organizational requirements of 2 U.S.C. §431(4) and §431(8) can be constitutionally applied to SpeechNow.[103] A unanimous nine-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals[104] struck down the federal limits on contributions to federal political committees that make only independent expenditures and do not contribute to candidates or political parties. This type of “independent expenditure committee” is inherently non-corruptive, the Court reasoned, and therefore contributions to such a committee can not be limited based on the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.[105] In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting independent expenditures, the appeals court ruled that “contributions to groups that make only independent expenditures cannot corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.” As a result, the court of appeals held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent group such as SpeechNow. Contribution limits as applied to SpeechNow “violate the First Amendment by preventing [individuals] from donating to SpeechNow in excess of the limits and by prohibiting SpeechNow from accepting donations in excess of the limits.” The court noted that its holding does not affect direct contributions to candidates, but rather contributions to a group that makes only independent expenditures.[103] The appeals court held that, while disclosure and reporting requirements do impose a burden on First Amendment interests, they “‘impose no ceiling on campaign related activities'” and “‘do not prevent anyone from speaking.'” Furthermore, the court held that the additional reporting requirements that the Commission would impose on SpeechNow if it were organized as a political committee are minimal, “given the relative simplicity with which SpeechNow intends to operate.” Since SpeechNow already had a number of “planned contributions” from individuals, the court ruled that SpeechNow could not compare itself to “ad hoc groups that want to create themselves on the spur of the moment.” Since the public has an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate and who is funding that speech, the court held that requiring such disclosure and organization as a political committee are sufficiently important governmental interests to justify the additional reporting and registration burdens on SpeechNow.[103]

Public electoral financing

Main article: McComish v. Bennett

On June 27, 2011, ruling in the consolidated cases of Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (No. 10-238) and McComish v. Bennett (No. 10-239), the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional an Arizona law that provided extra taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups. A conservative 5–4 majority of justices said the law violated free speech, concluding the state was impermissibly trying to “level the playing field” through a public finance system. Arizona lawmakers had argued there was a compelling state interest in equalizing resources among competing candidates and interest groups.[106] Opponents said the law violated free-speech rights of the privately financed candidates and their contributors, inhibiting fundraising and spending, discouraging participation in campaigns and limiting what voters hear about politics.[107] Chief Justice John Roberts said in the court’s majority opinion that the law substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified to survive First Amendment scrutiny.[107]

As a consequence of the decision, states and municipalities are blocked from using a method of public financing that is simultaneously likely to attract candidates fearful that they will be vastly outspent and sensitive to avoiding needless government expense. “The government can still use taxpayer funds to subsidize political campaigns, but it can only do that in a manner that provides an alternative to private financing” said William R. Maurer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which represented several challengers of the law. “It cannot create disincentives.”[108] The ruling meant the end of similar matching-fund programs in Connecticut, Maine and a few other places according to David Primo, a political science professor at the University of Rochester who was an expert witness for the law’s challengers.[109]

State campaign-spending limits

Despite the Citizens United ruling, In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court, in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana, upheld that state’s law limiting corporate contributions. Examining the history of corporate interference in Montana government that led to the Corrupt Practices Law, the majority decided that the state still had a compelling reason to maintain the restrictions. It ruled that these restrictions on speech were narrowly tailored and withstood strict scrutiny and thus did not contradict Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

While granting permission to file a Certiorari petition, the US Supreme Court agreed to stay the Montana ruling, although Justices Ginsburg and Breyer wrote a short statement urging the Court “to consider whether, in light of the huge sums of money currently deployed to buy candidate’s allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway”.[110] In June 2012, over the dissent of the same four judges who dissented in Citizens United, the Court simultaneously granted certiorari and summarily reversed the decision in American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, 567, U.S. __ (2012).[111] The Supreme Court majority rejected the Montana Supreme Court arguments in a two paragraph, twenty line per curiam opinion, stating that these arguments “either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.”[112] The ruling makes clear that states cannot bar corporate and union political expenditures in state elections.[113]

McCutcheon v. FEC

Main article: McCutcheon v. FEC

In addition to limiting the size of donations to individual candidates and parties, the Federal Election Campaign Act also includes aggregate caps on the total amount that an individual may give to all candidates and parties. In 2012, Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican Party activist,[114][115] sought to donate more than was allowed by the federal aggregate limit on federal candidates.[116] McCutcheon et al filed suit against theFederal Election Commission (FEC).[117] In 2014, the US Supreme Court reversed a ruling of the DC District Court‘s dismissal of McCutcheon v. FEC and struck down the aggregate limits. The plurality opinion invalidated only the aggregate contribution limits, not limits on giving to any one candidate or party. The decisive fifth vote for McCutcheon came from Justice Thomas, who concurred in the judgment on the grounds that all contribution limits are unconstitutional.[118]

Legislative responses

Legislative impact

The New York Times reported that 24 states with laws prohibiting or limiting independent expenditures by unions and corporations would have to change their campaign finance laws because of the ruling.[119]

After Citizens United and SpeechNow.org numerous state legislatures raised their limits on contributions to candidates and parties.[120] At the federal level, lawmakers substantially increased contribution limits to political parties as part of the 2014 budget bill.[121] Such changes are widely perceived as efforts to place candidates and parties on something closer to equal footing with organizations making independent expenditures.[121]

While many states and the federal government have raised contribution limits in response to Citizens United, proposals aimed at discouraging political spending, or providing for public financing of campaigns, have been less successful.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed that candidates who sign up small donors receive $900,000 in public money, but the proposal has not been acted on by Congress. Others proposed that laws on corporate governance be amended to assure that shareholders vote on political expenditures.[92]

In February 2010, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, immediate past Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, outlined legislation aimed at undoing the decision.[122] In April 2010, they introduced such legislation in the Senate and House, respectively.[123] On June 24, 2010, H.R.5175 (The DISCLOSE Act) passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. It would have required additional disclosure by corporations of their campaign expenditures. The law, if passed, would also have prohibited political spending by U.S. companies with twenty percent or more foreign ownership, and by most government contractors.[124] The DISCLOSE Act included exemptions to its rules given to certainspecial interests such as the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. These gaps within the proposal attracted criticism from lawmakers on both political parties. “They are auctioning off pieces of the First Amendment in this bill… The bigger you are, the stronger you are, the less disclosure you have,” said Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California commented, “I wish there had been no carve-outs”.[125] The bill was criticized as prohibiting much activity that was legal before Citizens United.[126]

The DISCLOSE Act twice failed to pass the U.S. Senate in the 111th Congress, in both instances reaching only 59 of the 60 votes required to overcome a unified Republican filibuster.[127][128] A scaled down version of the DISCLOSE Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate in 2012 but did not pass.[citation needed]

Some have argued for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Although the decision does not address “corporate personhood,” a long-established judicial and constitutional concept,[129] much attention has focused on that issue. Move to Amend, a coalition formed in response to the ruling,[130] seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood, thus stripping corporations of all rights under the Constitution.[131][132] In an online chat with web community Reddit, President Obama endorsed further consideration of a constitutional amendment and stated “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court Doesn’t revisit it)”.[133] He further elaborated that “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”[133]

Legislative reactions by state and local lawmakers

Members of 16 state legislatures have called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s decision: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.[134][135]

Most of these are non-binding resolutions. However, three states – Vermont, California, and Illinois – called for an Article V Convention to draft and propose a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.[136] In Minnesota, the Minnesota Senate passed a similar resolution, “Senate File No. 17,” on May 2, 2013, but the House of Representatives returned the measure to the General Calendar (meaning the measure did not pass) on May 15, 2013.[137] Thirty-four states are needed to call an Article V convention.

On a local level, Washington D.C. and 400 other municipalities passed resolutions requesting a federal constitutional amendment.[138]

Since Citizens United, however, 13 states have actually raised their contribution limits.[120]

Political impact

The Citizens United ruling “opened the door” for unlimited election spending by corporations, but most of this spending has “ended up being funneled through the groups that have become known as super PACs”.[139]While critics predicted that the ruling would “bring about a new era of corporate influence in politics” allowing companies and businesspeople to “buy elections” to promote their financial interests, as of 2016, in fact large corporations still play a “negligible role” in presidential election spending. Instead large expenditures, usually through “Super PACS,” have come from “a small group of billionaires”, based largely on ideology. This has shifted power “away from the political parties and toward the … donors themselves. In part, this explains the large number and variety of candidates fielded by the Republicans in 2016.”[139] The ability of individuals to spend unlimited sums was first affirmed by the Supreme Court, however, not in Citizens United, but in Buckley v. Valeo, decided in 1976.

Super PACs

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has often been credited for the creation of “super PACs“, political action committees which make no financial contributions to candidates or parties, and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. Certainly, the holding in Citizens United helped affirm the legal basis for super PACs by deciding that, for purposes of establishing a “compelling government interest” of corruption sufficient to justify government limitations on political speech, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption”.[140]

However, it took another decision, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. While Citizens United held that corporations and unions could make independent expenditures, a separate provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, at least as long interpreted by the Federal Election Commission, held that individuals could not contribute to a common fund without it becoming a PAC. PACs, in turn, were not allowed to accept corporate or union contributions of any size or to accept individual contributions in excess of $5,000. In Speechnow.org, the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, held 9–0 that in light of Citizens United, such restrictions on the sources and size of contributions could not apply to an organization that made only independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a candidate, but not contributions to a candidate’s campaign.

Citizens United and SpeechNOW left their imprint on the 2012 United States presidential election, in which single individuals contributed large sums to “super PACs” supporting particular candidates. Sheldon Adelson, the gambling entrepreneur, gave approximately fifteen million dollars to support Newt Gingrich. Foster Friess, a Wyoming financier, donated almost two million dollars to Rick Santorum’s super PAC. Karl Rove organized super PACs that spent over $300 million in support of Republicans during the 2012 elections.[141]

In addition to indirectly providing support for the creation of super PACs, Citizens United allowed incorporated 501(c)(4) public advocacy groups (such as the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, and the group Citizens United itself) and trade associations to make expenditures in political races. Such groups may not, under the tax code, have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy. These organizations must disclose their expenditures, but unlike super PACs they do not have to include the names of their donors in their FEC filings. A number of partisan organizations such as Karl Rove‘s influential conservative Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and the liberal 21st Century Colorado have since registered as tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups (defined as groups promoting “social welfare”) and engaged in substantial political spending.[142][143] This has led to claims[144][145][146] of large secret donations, and questions about whether such groups should be required to disclose their donors. Historically, such non-profits have not been required to disclose their donors or names of members. See National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama.

In an August 2015 essay in Der Spiegel, Markus Feldkirchen wrote that the Citizens United decision was “now becoming visible for the first time” in federal elections as the super-rich have “radically” increased donations to support their candidates and positions via super PACs. Feldkirchen also said in the first six months of 2015 the candidates and their super PACs received close to $400 million: “far more than in the entire previous campaign.” He opined that super-rich donating more than ever before to individual campaigns plus the “enormous” chasm in wealth has given the super-rich the power to steer the economic and political direction of the United States and undermine its democracy.[147] In October 2015, the New York Times observed that just 158 super-rich families each contributed $250,000 or more, while an additional 200 families gave more than $100,000 for the 2016 presidential election. Both groups contributed almost half of the “early money” for candidates in the 2016 presidential election as of June 30, 2015 through channels like super PACs legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.[148][149]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC

District of Columbia v. Heller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Dick Heller” redirects here. For the sportswriter, see Dick Heller (sportswriter).
District of Columbia v. Heller
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

Argued March 18, 2008
Decided June 26, 2008
Full case name District of Columbia, et al. v. Dick Anthony Heller
Docket nos. 07-290
Citations 554 U.S. 570 (more)

128 S. Ct. 2783; 171 L. Ed. 2d 637; 2008 U.S. LEXIS 5268; 76 U.S.L.W. 4631; 21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 497
Argument Oral argument
Opinion announcement Opinion announcement
Prior history Provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 infringe an individual’s right to bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment. District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
Procedural history Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Holding
The Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Scalia, joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito
Dissent Stevens, joined by Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
Dissent Breyer, joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. II; D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22–4504, 7–2507.02

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), was a landmarkcase in which the Supreme Court of the United States held in a 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to federal enclaves and protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. The decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond federal enclaves to the states,[1] which was addressed later by McDonald v. Chicago (2010). It was the first Supreme Court case to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.[2]

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Heller v. District of Columbia.[3][4] The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock“. Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975.

Lower court background

In 2002, Robert A. Levy, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, began vetting plaintiffs with Clark M. Neily III for a planned Second Amendment lawsuit that he would personally finance. Although he himself had never owned a gun, as a Constitutional scholar he had an academic interest in the subject and wanted to model his campaign after the legal strategies of Thurgood Marshall, who had successfully led the challenges that overturned school segregation.[5] They aimed for a group that would be diverse in terms of gender, race, economic background, and age, and selected six plaintiffs from their mid-20s to early 60s, three men and three women, four white and two black:[6]

Shelly Parker
A software designer and former nurse who had been active in trying to rid her neighborhood of drugs. Parker is a single woman whose life had been threatened on numerous occasions by drug dealers who had sometimes tried to break into her house.[7][8]
Tom G. Palmer
A colleague of Robert A. Levy at the Cato Institute and the only plaintiff that Levy knew before the case began.[6] Palmer, who is gay, defended himself with a 9mm handgun in 1982. While walking with a friend in San Jose, California, he was accosted by a gang of about 20 young men who used profane language regarding his sexual orientation and threatened his life. When he produced his gun, the men fled. Palmer believes that the handgun saved his life.[9][10]
Gillian St. Lawrence
A mortgage broker who lives in the Georgetown section of D.C. and who owns several legally registered long guns which she uses for recreation in nearby Chantilly, Virginia. It had taken St. Lawrence two years to complete the registration process. She wanted to be able to use these guns to defend herself in her home and to be able to register a handgun.[11][12]
Tracey Ambeau (now Tracey Hanson)
An employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Originally from St. Gabriel, Louisiana, she lives in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C. with her husband, Andrew Hanson, who is from Waterloo, Iowa. They live in a high-crime neighborhood near Union Station in D. C. She grew up around guns and wanted one to defend her home.[13][11]
George Lyon
A communications lawyer who had previously contacted the National Rifle Association about filing a lawsuit to challenge the D.C. gun laws. Lyon held D.C. licenses for a shotgun and a rifle, but wanted to have a handgun in his home.[14]
Dick Anthony Heller
A licensed special police officer for the District of Columbia. For his job, Heller carried a gun in federal office buildings, but was not allowed to have one in his home.[15] Heller had lived in southeast D.C. near the Kentucky Courts public housing complex since 1970 and had seen the neighborhood “transformed from a child-friendly welfare complex to a drug haven”. Heller had also approached the National Rifle Association about a lawsuit to overturn the D.C. gun ban, but the NRA declined.[11]

Previous federal case law pertaining to the question of an individual’s right to bear arms included United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), which supported the right and Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), which opposed the right. The Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939) was interpreted to support both sides of the issue.

District Court

In February 2003, the six residents of Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the constitutionality of provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, a local law (part of the District of Columbia Code) enacted pursuant to District of Columbia home rule. This law restricted residents from owning handguns, excluding those grandfathered in by registration prior to 1975 and those possessed by active and retired law enforcement officers. The law also required that all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.”[16] They filed for an injunction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 2201, 2202, and 42 U.S.C.§ 1983. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina dismissed the lawsuit.

Court of Appeals

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed the dismissal in a 2–1 decision. The Court of Appeals struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act as unconstitutional. JudgesKaren L. Henderson, Thomas B. Griffith and Laurence H. Silberman formed the Court of Appeals panel, with Senior Circuit Judge Silberman writing the court’s opinion and Circuit Judge Henderson dissenting.

The court’s opinion first addressed whether appellants have standing to sue for declaratory and injunctive relief in section II (slip op. at 5–12). The court concluded that of the six plaintiffs, only Heller – who applied for a handgun permit but was denied – had standing.

The court then held that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to keep and bear arms”, saying that the right was “premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad).” They also noted that though the right to bear arms also helped preserve the citizen militia, “the activities [the Amendment] protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.” The court determined that handguns are “Arms” and concluded that thus they may not be banned by the District of Columbia.

The court also struck down the portion of the law that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.” The District argued that there is an implicit self-defense exception to these provisions, but the D.C. Circuit rejected this view, saying that the requirement amounted to a complete ban on functional firearms and prohibition on use for self-defense:[17]

Section 7-2507.02, like the bar on carrying a pistol within the home, amounts to a complete prohibition on the lawful use of handguns for self-defense. As such, we hold it unconstitutional.

Henderson’s dissent

In her dissent, Circuit Judge Henderson stated that Second Amendment rights did not extend to residents of Washington D.C., writing:

To sum up, there is no dispute that the Constitution, case law and applicable statutes all establish that the District is not a State within the meaning of the Second Amendment. Under United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. at 178, the Second Amendment’s declaration and guarantee that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” relates to the Militia of the States only. That the Second Amendment does not apply to the District, then, is, to me, an unavoidable conclusion.[18]

Petition for rehearing

In April 2007, the District and Mayor Adrian Fenty petitioned for rehearing en banc, arguing that the ruling creates inter- and intra-jurisdictional conflict.[19] On May 8, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the request to rehear the case, by a 6–4 vote.

Supreme Court

The defendants petitioned the United States Supreme Court to hear the case. The plaintiffs did not oppose but, in fact, welcomed the petition. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on November 20, 2007.[20]The court rephrased the question to be decided as follows:

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the following provisions, D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22–4504(a), and 7-2507.02, violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?

This represented the first time since the 1939 case United States v. Miller that the Supreme Court had directly addressed the scope of the Second Amendment.[16]

Amicus curiae briefs

Because of the controversial nature of the case, it garnered much attention from many groups on both sides of the gun rights issue. Many of those groups filed amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, about 47 urging the court to affirm the case and about 20 to remand it.[21]

A majority of the members of Congress[22] signed the brief authored by Stephen Halbrook advising that the case be affirmed overturning the ban on handguns not otherwise restricted by Congress.[23]Vice PresidentDick Cheney joined in this brief, acting in his role as President of the United States Senate, and breaking with the George W. Bush administration’s official position.[22] Arizona Senator John McCain, Republican, also signed the brief. Then Illinois Senator Barack Obama, did not.[24]

A majority of the states signed the brief of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, authored by Abbott’s solicitor general, Ted Cruz,[25] advising that the case be affirmed, while at the same time emphasizing that the states have a strong interest in maintaining each of the states’ laws prohibiting and regulating firearms.[26][27][28] Law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police and the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, also filed a brief urging that the case be affirmed.[29]

A number of organizations signed friend of the court briefs advising that the case be remanded, including the United States Department of Justice[30] and Attorneys General of New York, Hawaii, Maryland,Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.[31] Additionally, friend of the court briefs to remand were filed by a spectrum of religious and anti-violence groups,[32] a number of cities and mayors,[33] and many police chiefs and law enforcement organizations.[34]

A collection of organizations and prominent scholars, represented by Attorney Jeffrey Teichert, submitted an “errors brief” arguing that many of the common historical and factual “myths and misrepresentations” generally offered in favor of banning handguns were in error. Teichert’s errors brief argued from a historical perspective that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to keep and bear arms.[dead link][35]

Oral arguments

Robert A. Levy (left) and Alan Gura, counsel for Heller

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on March 18, 2008. Both the transcript[36] and the audio[37] of the argument have been released. Each side was initially allotted 30 minutes to argue its case, with U.S. Solicitor GeneralPaul D. Clement allotted 15 minutes to present the federal government’s views.[38] During the argument, however, extra time was extended to the parties, and the argument ran 23 minutes over the allotted time.[39]

Walter E. Dellinger of the law firm O’Melveny & Myers, also a professor at Duke University Law School and former Acting Solicitor General, argued the District’s side before the Supreme Court. Dellinger was assisted by Thomas Goldstein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Robert Long of Covington & Burling and D.C. Solicitor General Todd Kim. The law firms assisting the District worked pro bono.[40]

Alan Gura, of the D.C.-based law firm Gura & Possessky, was lead counsel for Heller, and argued on his behalf before the Supreme Court.[41] Robert Levy, a senior fellow at theCato Institute, and Clark Neily, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, were his co-counsel.[42][43]

Decision

The Supreme Court held:[44]

(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.
(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.
(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation.United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes.
(2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.
(3) The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition – in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute – would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.

The Opinion of the Court, delivered by Justice Scalia, was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.[45]

Second Amendment findings and reasoning for the decision

The Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Aguilar (2013), summed up the Hellers findings and reasoning:

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Supreme Court undertook its first-ever “in-depth examination” of the second amendment’s meaning Id. at 635. After a lengthy historical discussion, the Court ultimately concluded that the second amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” (id. at 592); that “central to” this right is “the inherent right of self-defense”(id. at 628); that “the home” is “where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute” (id. at 628); and that, “above all other interests,” the second amendment elevates “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home” (id. at 635). Based on this understanding, the Court held that a District of Columbia law banning handgun possession in the home violated the second amendment. Id. at 635.[46]

Issues addressed by the majority

The core holding in D.C. v. Heller is that the Second Amendment is an individual right intimately tied to the natural right of self-defense.

The Scalia majority invokes much historical material to support its finding that the right to keep and bear arms belongs to individuals; more precisely, Scalia asserts in the Court’s opinion that the “people” to whom the Second Amendment right is accorded are the same “people” who enjoy First and Fourth Amendment protection: “‘The Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from technical meaning.’ United States v. Sprague, 282 U. S. 716, 731 (1931); see also Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 188 (1824). Normal meaning may of course include an idiomatic meaning, but it excludes secret or technical meanings….”

With that finding as anchor, the Court ruled a total ban on operative handguns in the home is unconstitutional, as the ban runs afoul of both the self-defense purpose of the Second Amendment – a purpose not previously articulated by the Court – and the “in common use at the time” prong of the Miller decision: since handguns are in common use, their ownership is protected.

The Court applies as remedy that “[a]ssuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.” The Court, additionally, hinted that other remedy might be available in the form of eliminating the license requirement for carry in the home, but that no such relief had been requested: “Respondent conceded at oral argument that he does not ‘have a problem with … licensing’ and that the District’s law is permissible so long as it is ‘not enforced in an arbitrary and capricious manner.’ Tr. of Oral Arg. 74–75. We therefore assume that petitioners’ issuance of a license will satisfy respondent’s prayer for relief and do not address the licensing requirement.”

In regard to the scope of the right, the Court wrote, in an obiter dictum, “Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”[47]

The Court also added dicta regarding the private ownership of machine guns. In doing so, it suggested the elevation of the “in common use at the time” prong of the Miller decision, which by itself protects handguns, over the first prong (protecting arms that “have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”), which may not by itself protect machine guns: “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home.”[48]

The Court did not address which level of judicial review should be used by lower courts in deciding future cases claiming infringement of the right to keep and bear arms: “[S]ince this case represents this Court’s first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment, one should not expect it to clarify the entire field.” The Court states, “If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis, the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect.”[49] Also, regarding Justice Breyer’s proposal of a “judge-empowering ‘interest-balancing inquiry,'” the Court states, “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach.”[50]

Dissenting opinions

In a dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens stated that the court’s judgment was “a strained and unpersuasive reading” which overturned longstanding precedent, and that the court had “bestowed a dramatic upheaval in the law”.[51] Stevens also stated that the amendment was notable for the “omission of any statement of purpose related to the right to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense” which was present in the Declarations of Rights of Pennsylvania and Vermont.[51]

The Stevens dissent seems to rest on four main points of disagreement: that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended; that the “militia” preamble and exact phrase “to keep and bear arms” demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only; that many lower courts’ later “collective-right” reading of the Miller decision constitutes stare decisis, which may only be overturned at great peril; and that the Court has not considered gun-control laws (e.g., the National Firearms Act) unconstitutional. The dissent concludes, “The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons…. I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.”

Justice Stevens’ dissent was joined by Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.

Justice Breyer filed a separate dissenting opinion, joined by the same dissenting Justices, which sought to demonstrate that, starting from the premise of an individual-rights view, the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and trigger lock requirement would nevertheless be permissible limitations on the right.

The Breyer dissent looks to early municipal fire-safety laws that forbade the storage of gunpowder (and in Boston the carrying of loaded arms into certain buildings), and on nuisance laws providing fines or loss of firearm for imprudent usage, as demonstrating the Second Amendment has been understood to have no impact on the regulation of civilian firearms. The dissent argues the public safety necessity of gun-control laws, quoting that “guns were responsible for 69 deaths in this country each day.'”

With these two supports, the Breyer dissent goes on to conclude, “there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.” It proposes that firearms laws be reviewed by balancing the interests (i.e., “‘interest-balancing’ approach”) of Second Amendment protections against the government’s compelling interest of preventing crime.

The Breyer dissent also objected to the “common use” distinction used by the majority to distinguish handguns from machineguns: “But what sense does this approach make? According to the majority’s reasoning, if Congress and the States lift restrictions on the possession and use of machineguns, and people buy machineguns to protect their homes, the Court will have to reverse course and find that the Second Amendment does, in fact, protect the individual self-defense-related right to possess a machine-gun…There is no basis for believing that the Framers intended such circular reasoning.”[52]

Non-party involvement

National Rifle Association

Attorney Alan Gura, in a 2003 filing, used the term “sham litigation” to describe the NRA’s attempts to have Parker (aka Heller) consolidated with its own case challenging the D.C. law. Gura also stated that “the NRA was adamant about not wanting the Supreme Court to hear the case”.[53] These concerns were based on NRA lawyers’ assessment that the justices at the time the case was filed might reach an unfavorable decision.[54]Cato Institute senior fellow Robert Levy, co-counsel to the Parker plaintiffs, has stated that the Parker plaintiffs “faced repeated attempts by the NRA to derail the litigation.”[55] He also stated that “The N.R.A.’s interference in this process set us back and almost killed the case. It was a very acrimonious relationship.”[5]

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive officer, confirmed the NRA’s misgivings. “There was a real dispute on our side among the constitutional scholars about whether there was a majority of justices on the Supreme Court who would support the Constitution as written,” Mr. LaPierre said.[5] Both Levy and LaPierre said the NRA and Mr. Levy’s team were now on good terms.[5]

Elaine McArdle wrote in the Harvard Law Bulletin: “If Parker is the long-awaited “clean” case, one reason may be that proponents of the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment – including the National Rifle Association, which filed an amicus brief in the case – have learned from earlier defeats, and crafted strategies to maximize the chances of Supreme Court review.” The NRA did eventually support the litigation by filing an amicus brief with the Court arguing that the plaintiffs in Parker had standing to sue and that the D.C. ban was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.[56]

Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, had indicated support of federal legislation which would repeal the D.C. gun ban. Opponents of the legislation argued that this would have rendered the Parker case moot, and would have effectively eliminated the possibility that the case would be heard by the Supreme Court.[57]

Immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the NRA filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago over its handgun ban, followed the next day by a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco over its ban of handguns in public housing.[58]

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence opposed the arguments made by the plaintiffs in Parker, and filed amicus curiae against those arguments in both the District and Circuit courts.

Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign, suggested to D.C. before the Court granted certiorari that it modify its gun laws rather than appeal to the Supreme Court.[59] Helmke has written that if the Supreme Court upholds the Circuit court ruling, it “could lead to all current and proposed firearms laws being called into question.”[60]

After the ruling, Paul Helmke stated that, “the classic ‘slippery slope’ argument”, “that even modest gun control would lead down the path to a complete ban on gun ownership”, “is now gone.” Helmke added that, “The Court also rejected the absolutist misreading of the Second Amendment that some use to argue ‘any gun, any time for anyone,’ which many politicians have used as an excuse to do nothing about the scourge of gun violence in our country and to block passage of common sense gun laws.”[61]

Reactions

To the lower court rulings

Various experts expressed opinions on the D.C. Circuit’s decision.

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe contended that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and predicted that if Parker is reviewed by the Supreme Court “there’s a really quite decent chance that it will be affirmed.”[56] However, Professor Tribe has also argued that the District’s ban on one class of weapons does not violate the Second Amendment even under an individual rights view.[62]

Erwin Chemerinsky, then of Duke Law School and now dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, argued that the District of Columbia’s handgun laws, even assuming an “individual rights” interpretation of the Second Amendment, could be justified as reasonable regulations and thus upheld as constitutional. Professor Chemerinsky believes that the regulation of guns should be analyzed in the same way “as other regulation of property under modern constitutional law” and “be allowed so long as it is rationally related to achieving a legitimate government purpose.”[63] However, the dicta in Heller suggests that applying a mere rational basis analysis is an incorrect reading of the Constitution and would, in fact, defeat the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.[49]

To the Supreme Court rulings

Cato Institute senior fellow Robert Levy, co-counsel to the Parker plaintiffs, agreed with the court’s ruling but describes that his interpretation of the Second Amendment would not preclude all governmental regulation of private ownership of weapons:

Even the NRA concedes that you can’t have mad men running around with weapons of mass destruction. So there are some restrictions that are permissible and it will be the task of the legislature and the courts to ferret all of that out and draw the lines. I am sure, though, that outright bans on handguns like they have in D.C. won’t be permitted. That is not a reasonable restriction under anybody’s characterization. It is not a restriction, it’s a prohibition.[64]

Clark Neily, an attorney for Dick Heller in this case, has said regarding Heller:

America went over 200 years without knowing whether a key provision of the Bill of Rights actually meant anything. We came within one vote of being told that it did not, notwithstanding what amounts to a national consensus that the Second Amendment means what it says: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Taking rights seriously, including rights we might not favor personally, is good medicine for the body politic, and Heller was an excellent dose.[65]

Richard Posner, judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, compares Heller to Roe v. Wade, stating that it created a federal constitutional right that did not previously exist, and he asserts that the originalist method – to which Justice Antonin Scalia claimed to adhere – would have yielded the opposite result of the majority opinion.

The text of the amendment, whether viewed alone or in light of the concerns that actuated its adoption, creates no right to the private possession of guns for hunting or other sport, or for the defense of person or property. It is doubtful that the amendment could even be thought to require that members of state militias be allowed to keep weapons in their homes, since that would reduce the militias’ effectiveness. Suppose part of a state’s militia was engaged in combat and needed additional weaponry. Would the militia’s commander have to collect the weapons from the homes of militiamen who had not been mobilized, as opposed to obtaining them from a storage facility? Since the purpose of the Second Amendment, judging from its language and background, was to assure the effectiveness of state militias, an interpretation that undermined their effectiveness by preventing states from making efficient arrangements for the storage and distribution of military weapons would not make sense.[66]

J. Harvie Wilkinson III, chief judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, consents to Posner’s analysis, stating that Heller “encourages Americans to do what conservative jurists warned for years they should not do: bypass the ballot and seek to press their political agenda in the courts.”[67]

Heller thus represents the worst of missed opportunities—the chance to ground conservative jurisprudence in enduring and consistent principles of restraint. The Constitution expresses the need for judicial restraint in many different ways—separation of powers, federalism, and the grant of life tenure to unelected judges among them. It is an irony that Heller would in the name of originalism abandon insights so central to the Framers’ designs.[67]

Alan Gura, Lead Counsel for Respondent in Heller rejects Wilkinson’s criticism, stating that “Rather, the Court affirmed the Second Amendment’s original public meaning, as confirmed by its plain text. Having determined the Amendment’s meaning, the Court showed the proper level of deference to the D.C. City Council’s outright repudiation of the constitutional text: none.”[68]

Post ruling impacts

Since the June 2008 ruling, over 80 different cases have been heard in lower federal courts on the constitutionality of a wide variety of gun control laws.[69][70] These courts have heard lawsuits in regard to bans of firearm possession by felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens, and individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.[69][70] Also, cases have been heard on the constitutionality of laws prohibiting certain types of weapons, such as machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and/or specific types of weapons attachments. In addition, courts have heard challenges to laws barring guns in post offices and near schools and laws outlawing “straw” purchases, carrying of concealed weapons, types of ammunition and possession of unregistered firearms.[69][70]

The courts have upheld most of these laws as being constitutional.[70] The basis for the lower court rulings is the paragraph near the end of the Heller ruling that states:

Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions on the commercial sale of arms.[71]

Consistently since the Heller ruling, the lower federal courts have ruled that almost all gun control measures as presently legislated are lawful and that according to UCLA professor of constitutional law Adam Winkler: “What gun rights advocates are discovering is that the vast majority of gun control laws fit within these categories.”[69]

Robert Levy, the executive director of the Cato Institute who funded the Heller litigation has commented on this passage describing constitutionally acceptable forms of prohibitions of firearms: “I would have preferred that that not have been there,” and that this paragraph in Scalia’s opinion “created more confusion than light.”[69]

Similar to the lifting of gun bans mentioned previously in the settlements of lawsuits filed post-Heller, in US v. Arzberger, also decided post-Heller, it was noted:

To the extent, then, that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess a firearm unrelated to any military purpose, it also establishes a protectible liberty interest. And, although the Supreme Court has indicated that this privilege may be withdrawn from some groups of persons such as convicted felons, there is no basis for categorically depriving persons who are merely accused of certain crimes of the right to legal possession of a firearm.[72]

District of Columbia

The D.C. government indicated it would continue to use zoning ordinances to prevent firearms dealers from operating and selling to citizens residing in the District, meaning it would continue to be difficult for residents to legally purchase guns in the District.[73] Additionally, the District enacted new firearms restrictions in an effort to cure the constitutional defects in the ordinance that the Supreme Court had identified in Heller. The new provisions were: (1) the firearms registration procedures; (2) the prohibition on assault weapons; and (3) the prohibition on large capacity ammunition feeding devices. In response, Dick Heller challenged these new restrictions filing a civil suit named Heller v. District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 08-1289 (RMU), No. 23., 25) where he requested a summary judgment to vacate the new prohibitions. On March 26, 2010, the D.C. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina denied Dick Heller’s request and granted the cross motion, stating that the court “concludes that the regulatory provisions that the plaintiffs challenge permissibly regulate the exercise of the core Second Amendment right to use arms for the purpose of self-defense in the home. “[74]

Dick Heller’s application to register his semi-automatic pistol was rejected because the gun was a bottom-loading weapon, and according to the District’s interpretation, all bottom-loading guns, including magazine-fed non-assault-style rifles, are outlawed because they are grouped with machine guns.[75]Revolvers will likely not fall under such a ban.[76]

On December 16, 2008 the D.C. Council unanimously passed the Firearms Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2008[77] which addresses the issues raised in the Heller Supreme Court decision, and also puts in place a number of registration requirements to update and strengthen the District’s gun laws.[78]

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the majority provided Second Amendment protection for commonly used and popular handguns but not for atypical arms or arms used for unlawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns. Scalia stated: “Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.” “We think that Miller’s “ordinary military equipment” language must be read in tandem with what comes after: “[O]rdinarily when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179.” “We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.” “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M-16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty.”[79]

On July 24, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled, in Palmer v. District of Columbia, that the District’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns is unconstitutional.[80][81] In its decision, the Court stated: “[ . . . ] the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.”[82]

New York

Mayor of New York CityMichael Bloomberg said that “all of the laws on the books in New York State and New York City” would be allowed by the ruling as “reasonable regulation.”[83] Robert Levy has stated that the current New York City gun laws are “not much different” from the D.C. ban that has been overturned.[84] The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates have not ruled out suing New York City, especially over the definition of “reasonable regulation”.[85]

Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge James Francis has said that, prior to Heller, it would not have been considered unreasonable to require a defendant to surrender a firearm as a condition of pretrial release. Specifically, according to Judge Francis:[86]

This all changed, with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller; 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008), where the court changed the course of Second Amendment jurisprudence by creating what he said was a “protectible liberty interest” in the possession of firearms. Thus, in the absence of an individualized determination at a bail hearing, requiring the defendant to give up any firearms violates due process.

Maloney v. Rice (a.k.a. Maloney v. Cuomo and Maloney v. Spitzer), 554 F.3d 56 (2d. Cir. 2009) originally held that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to the states in the Second Circuit. The case involved a state ban on Nunchaku sticks (a martial arts weapon) in New York. In a memorandum opinion dated June 29, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated the Second Circuit decision in Maloney and remanded for further consideration in light of the holding in McDonald v. Chicago that the Second Amendment does apply to the states. The Second Circuit has remanded the case to the trial court.

Illinois

The NRA has filed five related lawsuits since the Heller decision.[87] In four Illinois lawsuits, the NRA sought to have the Second Amendment incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, causing the Second Amendment to apply to state and local jurisdictions and not just to the federal government.[88] Three Illinois lawsuits have been negotiated and settled out of court involving agreements that repeal gun ban ordinances and did not result in incorporation of the Second Amendment to state and local jurisdictions. The fourth NRA lawsuit against Chicago was rejected.[89] The NRA appealed the case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 2, 2009, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision, based on the theory that Heller applied only to the Federal Government (including the District of Columbia), and not to states or their subordinate jurisdictions.[citation needed] This opinion directly conflicts with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’s earlier decision, holding that Heller applies to states as well.[citation needed]

On June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit‘s decision in McDonald v. Chicago and remanded it back to Seventh Circuit to resolve conflicts between certain Chicagogun restrictions and the Second Amendment. Chicago’s handgun law was likened to the D.C. handgun ban by Justice Breyer.[90]

Similarly, three Illinois municipalities with gun control measures on the books that previously had banned all handguns have rescinded their handgun bans.[91][92][93][94] These cities were Morton Grove, Illinois,[95]Wilmette, another Illinois village,[96] and Evanston, Illinois which enacted a partial repeal of its handgun ban.

In Ezell v. Chicago, decided July 6, 2011, the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court decision that the post-McDonald measures adopted by the City of Chicago were constitutional. The Chicago law required firearms training in a shooting range in order to obtain a gun permit, but also banned shooting ranges within the City of Chicago. The City had argued that applicants could obtain their training at gun ranges in the suburbs. The opinion noted that Chicago could not infringe Second Amendment rights on the grounds that they could be exercised elsewhere, any more than it could infringe the right to freedom of speech on the grounds that citizens could speak elsewhere.

California

On January 14, 2009, in Guy Montag Doe v. San Francisco Housing Authority, the San Francisco Housing Authority reached a settlement out of court with the NRA, which allows residents to possess legal firearms within a SFHA apartment building. The San Francisco lawsuit resulted in the elimination of the gun ban from the SF Housing Authority residential lease terms. Tim Larsen speaking for the Housing Authority said that they never intended to enforce its 2005 housing lease gun ban against law-abiding gun owners and have never done so.[97]

On February 13, 2014, in Peruta v. San Diego, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided that the San Diego policy to disallow both concealed carry, and the State of California law that disallowsopen carry anywhere in the state, were not acceptable under Supreme Court precedent in Heller and McDonald. A “responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.” More specifically, “the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”(italics in original) … and “carrying weapons in public for the lawful purpose of self defense is a central component of the right to bear arms.”[98] The case was remanded to the district court because “San Diego County’s ‘good cause’ permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”[98]

Idaho

On January 10, 2014, in Morris v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the District Court struck down a Corps of Engineers regulation barring possession of loaded guns in recreation areas surrounding Corps dams. The court held that tents are akin to homes, and under Heller, Second Amendment rights are protected.[99]

Legacy

Initial reaction has deemed the Heller ruling to be of great significance, though it remains too soon to tell what the long-term effects may be.[100]Sanford Levinson has written that he is inclined to believe that the Hellerdecision will be relatively insignificant to the practice of law in the long run but that it will have significance to other groups interested in cultural literacy and constitutional designers.[100]

In 2009, both Levinson and Mark Tushnet speculated that it is quite unlikely that the case would be studied as part of casebooks of future law schools.[100] As was predicted,[101] a large surge of court cases was seen in lower federal courts in the aftermath of the 2008 ruling. As of March 2009, over 80 cases had been filed seeking to overturn existing gun laws.[102][needs update]

The decision in McDonald v. Chicago, which was brought in response to Heller and decided in 2010, did invalidate much of Chicago’s gun purchase and registration laws, and has called into question many other state and local laws restricting purchase, possession and carry of firearms.

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller

Story 2: Hillary Clinton Is Nurse Ratched! — Videos

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Miloš Forman
Produced by Saul Zaentz
Michael Douglas
Screenplay by Lawrence Hauben
Bo Goldman
Based on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey
Starring Jack Nicholson
Louise Fletcher
William Redfield
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography Haskell Wexler
Bill Butler[1]
Edited by Richard Chew[2]
Sheldon Kahn
Lynzee Klingman
Production
company
Fantasy Films
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • November 19, 1975
Running time
133 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million[3]
Box office $109 million[3]

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a 1975 American comedy-drama film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. The film stars Jack Nicholson and features a supporting cast of Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Will Sampson, and Brad Dourif.

Considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is No. 33 on the American Film Institute‘s 100 Years… 100 Movies list. The film was the second to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay) following It Happened One Nightin 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991 by The Silence of the Lambs. It also won numerous Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards.

In 1993, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Plot

In 1963, Oregon, recidivist criminal Randle McMurphy is moved to a mental institution after serving a short sentence on a prison farm after raping a teenager. Though not actually mentally ill, McMurphy hopes to avoid hard labour and serve the rest of his sentence in a relaxed environment. Upon arriving at the hospital, he finds the ward run by the steely, strict Nurse Ratched, who subtly suppresses the actions of her patients through a passive-aggressive routine, intimidating the patients.

The other patients include anxious, stuttering Billy Bibbit; Charlie Cheswick, who is prone to childish tantrums; delusional Martini; the well-educated, paranoid Dale Harding; belligerent Max Taber; epileptic Jim Sefelt; and “Chief” Bromden, a tall Native American believed to be deaf and mute. Ratched soon sees McMurphy’s lively, rebellious presence to be a threat to her authority, confiscating the patients’ cigarettes and rationing them. During his time in the ward, McMurphy gets into a battle of wits with Ratched. He steals a hospital bus, escaping with several patients to go on a fishing trip, encouraging his friends to become more self-confident.

McMurphy learns his sentence may become indefinite, and he makes plans to escape, exhorting Chief to throw a hydrotherapy cart through a window. He, Chief, and Cheswick get into a fight with the orderlies after the latter becomes agitated over his stolen cigarettes. Ratched sends them to the “shock shop”, and McMurphy discovers Chief can actually speak, feigning illness to avoid engaging with anyone. After being subjected to electroconvulsive therapy, McMurphy returns to the ward pretending to have brain damage, but reveals the treatment has charged him up even more. McMurphy and Chief make plans to escape, but decide to throw a secret Christmas party for their friends after Ratched leaves for the night.

McMurphy sneaks two women, Candy and Rose, into the ward and bribes the night guard. After a night of partying, McMurphy and Chief prepare to escape, inviting Billy to come with them. He refuses, not ready to leave the hospital. McMurphy instead convinces him to have sex with Candy. Ratched arrives in the morning to find the ward in disarray and most of the patients unconscious. She discovers Billy and Candy together, the former now free of his stutter, until Ratched threatens to inform his mother about his escapade. Billy is overwhelmed with fear and locks himself in the doctor’s office and commits suicide. The enraged McMurphy strangles Ratched, before being knocked out by an orderly.

Ratched comes back with a neck brace and a scratchy voice. Rumours spread that McMurphy escaped rather than be taken “upstairs”. Later that night, Chief sees McMurphy being returned to his bed. He discovers McMurphy has lobotomy scars on his forehead, and smothers his friend with a pillow. Chief finally throws the hydrotherapy cart through the window and escapes into the night, cheered on by the men.

Cast

Production

Filming began in January 1975 and concluded approximately three months later,[4] and was shot on location in Salem, Oregon and the surrounding area, as well as on the Oregon coast.[5][6] It was also shot at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, which was also the setting of the novel.[7]

Haskell Wexler was fired as cinematographer and replaced by Bill Butler. Wexler believed his dismissal was due to his concurrent work on the documentary Underground, in which the radical terrorist group The Weather Underground were being interviewed while hiding from the law. However, Miloš Forman said he had terminated Wexler over mere artistic differences. Both Wexler and Butler received Academy Awardnominations for Best Cinematography for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, though Wexler said there was “only about a minute or two minutes in that film I didn’t shoot.”[8]

According to Butler, Jack Nicholson refused to speak to Forman: “…[Jack] never talked to Milos at all, he only talked to me.”[1]

Reception

The film was met with overwhelming critical acclaim; Roger Ebert said “Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a film so good in so many of its parts that there’s a temptation to forgive it when it goes wrong. But it does go wrong, insisting on making larger points than its story really should carry, so that at the end, the human qualities of the characters get lost in the significance of it all. And yet there are those moments of brilliance.”[9] Ebert would later put the film on his “Great Movies” list.[10] A.D. Murphy of Variety wrote a mixed review as well,[11] as did Vincent Canby: writing in The New York Times, Canby called the film “a comedy that can’t quite support its tragic conclusion, which is too schematic to be honestly moving, but it is acted with such a sense of life that one responds to its demonstration of humanity if not to its programmed metaphors.”[12]

The film opens with original music by composer Jack Nitzsche, featuring an eerie bowed saw (performed by Robert Armstrong) and wine glasses. Commenting on the score, reviewer Steven McDonald has said, “The edgy nature of the film extends into the score, giving it a profoundly disturbing feel at times — even when it appears to be relatively normal. The music has a tendency to always be a little off-kilter, and from time to time it tilts completely over into a strange little world of its own …”[13]

The film went on to win the “Big Five” Academy Awards at the 48th Oscar ceremony. These include the Best Actor for Jack Nicholson, Best Actress for Louise Fletcher, Best Direction for Forman, Best Picture, andBest Adapted Screenplay for Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman. The film currently has a 95% “Certified Fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 8.9/10.[14] Its consensus states “The onscreen battle between Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher serves as a personal microcosm of the culture wars of the 1970s — and testament to the director’s vision that the film retains its power more than three decades later.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is considered to be one of the greatest American films. Ken Kesey participated in the early stages of script development, but withdrew after creative differences with the producers over casting and narrative point of view; ultimately he filed suit against the production and won a settlement.[15] Kesey himself claimed never to have seen the movie, but said he disliked what he knew of it,[16] a fact confirmed by Chuck Palahniuk who wrote, “The first time I heard this story, it was through the movie starring Jack Nicholson. A movie that Kesey once told me he disliked.”[17]

In 1993, this film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.[18]

Awards and honors

Award Category Nominee Result
Academy Award Academy Award for Best Picture Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
Academy Award for Best Director Miloš Forman Won
Academy Award for Best Actor Jack Nicholson Won
Academy Award for Best Actress Louise Fletcher Won
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Won
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Brad Dourif Nominated
Academy Award for Best Cinematography Haskell Wexler and Bill Butler Nominated
Academy Award for Film Editing Richard Chew, Lyzee Klingman and Sheldon Kahn Nominated
Academy Award for Original Music Score Jack Nitzsche Nominated
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture Miloš Forman Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Jack Nicholson Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Louise Fletcher Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Won
Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor Brad Dourif Won
BAFTA Award BAFTA Award for Best Film Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
BAFTA Award for Best Direction Miloš Forman Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Jack Nicholson Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Louise Fletcher Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Brad Dourif Won
BAFTA Award for Best Editing Richard Chew, Lynzee Klingman and Sheldon Kahn Won
BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography Haskell Wexler and Bill Butler Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Nominated

Others

American Film Institute

See also

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Townsend, Sylvia (19 December 2014). “Haskell Wexler and the Making of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest'”. Retrieved 13 April2015.
  2. Jump up^ Chew was listed as “supervising editor” in the film’s credits, but was included in the nomination for an editing Academy Award.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Box Office Information”.Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  4. Jump up^ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the American Film Institute
  5. Jump up^ Story Notes for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  6. Jump up^ “Hollywood’s Love Affair with Oregon Coast Continues”. Retrieved15 June 2015.
  7. Jump up^ Oregon State Hospital – A documentary film (Mental Health Association of Portland)
  8. Jump up^ Anderson, John. “Haskell Wexler, Oscar-Winning Cinematographer, Dies at 93.” The New York Times, December 27, 2015.
  9. Jump up^ Suntimes.com – Roger Ebert review, Chicago Sun-Times, January 1, 1975
  10. Jump up^ Suntimes.com – Roger Ebert review, Chicago Sun-Times, February 2, 2003.
  11. Jump up^ Variety.com – A.D. Murphy, Variety, November 7, 1975
  12. Jump up^ Canby, Vincent (November 28, 1975). “Critic’s Pick: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. The New York Times.
  13. Jump up^ AllMusic: Review by Steven McDonald
  14. Jump up^ “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes”. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  15. Jump up^ Carnes, Mark Christopher, Paul R. Betz, et al. (1999). American National Biography, Volume 26. New York: Oxford University Press USA. ISBN 0-19-522202-4. p. 312,
  16. Jump up^ Carnes, p. 312
  17. Jump up^ Foreword of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Copyright 2007 by Chuck Palahniuk. Available in the 2007 Edition published by Penguin Books
  18. Jump up^ “U.S. National Film Registry — Titles”. Retrieved September 2,2016.
  19. Jump up^ AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains Nominees

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Flew_Over_the_Cuckoo%27s_Nest_(film)

Could Hillary’s smile cost her the election? Twitter mocks Clinton’s ‘creepy grandma’ grin as she smirks her way through presidential debate

With her opponent dogged by accusations of sexual assault, Hillary Clinton had strong odds as she entered the third presidential debate on Wednesday.

Only one thing seemed to threaten her chances of victory: her smile.

The Democratic candidate faced a flood of insults as she took to the stage at the University of Las Vegas, with many viewers confessing they were ‘creeped out’ by her stubborn grin.

Hundreds took to Twitter to describe her smile as ‘scary’ and ‘creepy’.

Hillary Clinton's unrelenting smile at Wednesday's presidential debate made for uncomfortable viewing for some voters 

Hillary Clinton’s unrelenting smile at Wednesday’s presidential debate made for uncomfortable viewing for some voters

Social media mocks Hillary Clinton’s ‘creepy grandma’ grin

Others questioned why, when being slammed with insults from her opponent, her expression did not drop.

‘Hillary Clinton’s smile is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,’ said one observer.

‘When Hillary smiles she looks like an evil snake,’ another commented.

‘What to do when you don’t have a response? Smile like a chipmunk,’ remarked another.

‘Whoever told Hillary Clinton to smile less since the first debate gave great advice,’ mused a different viewer.

Others, ever-so-slightly more charmed by her cheerful demeanor, likened her to a happy grandmother.

The Democratic candidate beamed as she listened to Donald Trump slam her political record and campaign policies 

Her glee remained written all over her face as Trump continued to slate her, much to viewers' confusion 

Her glee remained written all over her face as Trump continued to slate her, much to viewers’ confusion

Twitter users were quick to mock her expression as they watched the debate on Wednesday 

Twitter users were quick to mock her expression as they watched the debate on Wednesday

Clinton's happy expression became a talking point at earlier debates. It continued to peak viewers' interests at her final showdown with Trump on Wednesday (above) e

Clinton’s happy expression became a talking point at earlier debates. It continued to peak viewers’ interests at her final showdown with Trump on Wednesday (above)

‘Hillary Clinton is so cute it’s something about her I just want her to tuck me in and give me a kiss with her coffee breath,’ one commented.

It was not the first time her facial expression sparked interest among voters.

After the first presidential debate on September 26, political commentators shared some free advice with the candidate online.

‘Who told Hillary Clinton to keep smiling like she’s at her granddaughter’s birthday party?’ said David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, at the time.

The discussion had the same hallmarks of bizarre criticisms made earlier this month about Donald Trump’s incessant sniffing.

Viewers were distracted throughout the second presidential debate by the Republican candidate’s runny nose, complaining in their droves about it online. 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3854016/Could-Hillary-s-smile-cost-election-Twitter-mocks-Clinton-s-creepy-grandma-grin-smirks-way-presidential-debate.html#ixzz4Nf3WfCyu

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The Pronk Pop Show 703, June 21, 2016, June 21, 2016, Story 1: Timeline of Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadist Shootings at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida –The Missing 911 Transcripts Pages, Audio and Videos Not Released — For Three Hours Victims Were Bleeding Out From Wounds — Do Not Depend On Government To Protect You; Story 2: It is Jobs, The Economy and National Security — Stopping and Reversing The 30-50 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of The United States — Hillary Reads Prepared Speech On Economy and Attacks Trump To Small Ohio Audience — Indict Hillary and Vote Trump — Videos

Posted on June 21, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Timeline of  Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadist Shootings at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida –The Missing 911 Transcript Pages, Audio and Videos Not Released — For Three Hours Victims Were Bleeding Out From Wounds — Do Not Depend On Government To Protect You!

“I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may Allah (God) protect him [Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.”

~Omar Marteen, Islamic Soldier

Judge Nap Blasts DOJ for ‘Trying to Rewrite History’ With Orlando Transcripts

Orlando nightclub shooting: Shooter used SIG Sauer MCX to kill 49 people and not a AR-15 – TomoNews

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AR-15 – The Beginner’s Guide – What to Know About the AR-15

ULTIMATE AR-15 MELTDOWN!

In this video we attempt to burn out an AR-15 upper on an M16 lower. We are testing the durability of not only the upper receiver assemby but few specific products as well including the SRC Relia-Bolt BCG, Geissele Super Gas Block, and one of the most affordable AR barrels on the market from Faxon Firearms.

The results may surprise you.

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Transcript of Orlando Police Department 911 Calls, June 12, 2016

Transcript of Orlando Police Department 911 Calls, June 12, 2016

2:35 a.m.: Shooter contacted a 911 operator from inside Pulse. The call lasted approximately 50 seconds, the details of which are set out below:

(OD) Orlando Police Dispatcher

(OM) Omar Mateen

OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.

OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficent [Arabic]

OD: What?

OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [Arabic]. I wanna let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.

OD: What’s your name?

OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.

OD: Ok, What’s your name?

OM: I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.

OD: Alright, where are you at?

OM: In Orlando.

OD: Where in Orlando?

[End of call.]

Patrial 911 transcript released by the FBI (including redacted material):

The following is based on Orlando Police Department (OPD) radio communication (times are approximate): 2:02 a.m.: OPD call transmitted multiple shots fired at Pulse nightclub. 2:04 a.m.: Additional OPD officers arrived on scene. 2:08 a.m.: Officers from various law enforcement agencies made entrance to Pulse and engaged the shooter. 2:18 a.m.: OPD S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons & Tactics) initiated a full call-out. 2:35 a.m.: Shooter contacted a 911 operator from inside Pulse. The call lasted approximately 50 seconds, the details of which are set out below:

Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD)
Shooter (OM)

OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]
OD: What?
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted].
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]

(Shortly thereafter, the shooter engaged in three conversations with OPD’s Crisis Negotiation Team.) 2:48 a.m.: First crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately nine minutes. 3:03 a.m.: Second crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately 16 minutes. 3:24 a.m.: Third crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately three minutes.

In these calls, the shooter, who identified himself as an Islamic soldier, told the crisis negotiator that he was the person who pledged his allegiance to [omitted], and told the negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that is why he was “out here right now.” When the crisis negotiator asked the shooter what he had done, the shooter stated, “No, you already know what I did.” The shooter continued, stating, “There is some vehicle outside that has some bombs, just to let you know. You people are gonna get it, and I’m gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.” Later in the call with the crisis negotiator, the shooter stated that he had a vest, and further described it as the kind they “used in France.” The shooter later stated, “In the next few days, you’re going to see more of this type of action going on.” The shooter hung up and multiple attempts to get in touch with him were unsuccessful. 4:21 a.m.: OPD pulled an air conditioning unit out of a Pulse dressing room window for victims to evacuate.

(While the FBI will not be releasing transcripts of OPD communication with victims, significant information obtained from those victims allowed OPD to gain knowledge of the situation inside Pulse.) 4:29 a.m.: As victims were being rescued, they told OPD the shooter said he was going to put four vests with bombs on victims within 15 minutes.

(An immediate search of the shooter’s vehicle on scene and inside Pulse ultimately revealed no vest or improvised explosive device.) 5:02 a.m.: OPD SWAT and OCSO Hazardous Device Team began to breach wall with explosive charge and armored vehicle to make entry. 5:14 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that shots were fired. 5:15 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that OPD engaged the suspect and the suspect was reported down.

American ISIS Video Praises Orlando & Threatens Euro 2016

Published on Jun 20, 2016

ISIS has released a new video in the wake of the mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 people dead. The video shows a man named Abu Isma’il Al-Amriki, who claims to be an American ISIS fighter, along with other alleged fighters identified as American, French, Russian and Uzbek. In the video, the fighters praise Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and urge other Muslims to follow his example by carrying out more “lone wolf” attacks on the US. One fighter also mentions a “surprise” operation at the Euro 2016 soccer tournament in France. We take a look at the video on the Lip News with Jo Ankier, Mark Sovel and Elliot Hill.

Orlando Shooting Video Inside Nightclub Bathroom

Orlando Shooting 911 Transcripts Reveal Timeline

Government Censors, Then Restores Terror Details of Orlando Shooting

How the Pulse nightclub shooting unfolded

Orlando nightclub survivor: He wanted to kill us all

From nightclub to room full of bodies: The Orlando shooting timeline

Orlando: New footage and survivor accounts

‘He was right next to me’: Orlando shooting survivor – BBC Newsnight

Extended cut: Orlando shooting survivor describes horror of attack

RAW VIDEO: Patience Carter recalls Orlando shooting massacre

Orlando Nightclub Massacre: A Timeline of What Happened

Orlando Shooting Latest: Unredacted Transcript of Gunman’s 911 Call Released [UPDATE]

The FBI has released transcripts of Omar Mateen’s conversation with a 911 operator the night of the Pulse Orlando massacre.

By June 21, 2016

Just more than a week after Omar Mateen walked into a crowded Orlando nightclub and opened fire on those gathered there, the FBI has shed more light on just what happened during the early morning hours of June 12.

Ron Hooper, the FBI’s special agent in charge, on Monday spoke of Mateen’s 911 calls to Orlando dispatchers the night of the worst mass shooting in American history. Mateen, Hooper said, was “chilling, calm and deliberate” during those calls.

The FBI released transcripts of Mateen’s calls on Monday. The agency also provided a timeline of events that unfolded at the Pulse Orlando Night Club & Ultra Bar, a popular gay club. Audio of Mateen’s 911 calls and those placed by victims are not being released.

Initially, authorities released only a partial transcript of calls, redacting Mateen’s pledges of allegiance to the Islamic State. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in interviews on various news channels on Sunday that the purpose of redacting the transcripts was to not re-victimize those that lived through the attack.

Shortly after the transcripts were released, the government came under criticism for redacting the transcripts, prompting the FBI and the Department of Justice to release a joint statement with the full transcript from the 911 call.

The president should reverse his administration’s decision to censor the shooter’s 911 transcript ⇩

“The purpose of releasing the partial transcript of the shooter’s interaction with 911 operators was to provide transparency, while remaining sensitive to the interests of the surviving victims, their families, and the integrity of the ongoing investigation. We also did not want to provide the killer or terrorist organizations with a publicity platform for hateful propaganda,” the joint FBI and DOJ statement said. “Unfortunately, the unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime. As much of this information had been previously reported, we have re-issued the complete transcript to include these references in order to provide the highest level of transparency possible under the circumstances.”

The FBI’s investigation into Mateen’s past remains very much active, Hooper said. So does its probe into what motivated Mateen to kill 49 people and wound 53 others before he was shot and killed by authorities.

Hooper on Monday said the FBI has found no evidence that Mateen was connected to an Islamic terrorist group. Instead, he said, the 29-year-old was “radicalized domestically.”

Lynch is expected to visit Orlando on Tuesday. Lynch will be updated on the investigation and is expected to speak to survivors of the attack, authorities said Monday.

The timeline and transcripts of the calls are as follows, quoted directly from the FBI’s release of information. The transcript of the 911 call is not redacted, however the transcripts of the calls with hostage negotiators remain redacted:

2:35 a.m.: Shooter contacted a 911 operator from inside Pulse. The call lasted approximately 50 seconds, the details of which are set out below:
(OD) Orlando Police Dispatcher
(OM) Omar Mateen
OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficent [Arabic]
OD: What?
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [Arabic]. I wanna let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]

(Shortly thereafter, the shooter engaged in three conversations with OPD’s Crisis Negotiation Team.)

2:48 a.m.: First crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately nine minutes.

3:03 a.m.: Second crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately 16 minutes.

3:24 a.m.: Third crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately three minutes.

In these calls, the shooter, who identified himself as an Islamic soldier, told the crisis negotiator that he was the person who pledged his allegiance to [omitted], and told the negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that is why he was “out here right now.” When the crisis negotiator asked the shooter what he had done, the shooter stated, “No, you already know what I did.” The shooter continued, stating, “There is some vehicle outside that has some bombs, just to let you know. You people are gonna get it, and I’m gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.” Later in the call with the crisis negotiator, the shooter stated that he had a vest, and further described it as the kind they “used in France.” The shooter later stated, “In the next few days, you’re going to see more of this type of action going on.” The shooter hung up and multiple attempts to get in touch with him were unsuccessful.

4:21 a.m.: OPD pulled an air conditioning unit out of a Pulse dressing room window for victims to evacuate.

(While the FBI will not be releasing transcripts of OPD communication with victims, significant information obtained from those victims allowed OPD to gain knowledge of the situation inside Pulse.)

4:29 a.m.: As victims were being rescued, they told OPD the shooter said he was going to put four vests with bombs on victims within 15 minutes.

(An immediate search of the shooter’s vehicle on scene and inside Pulse ultimately revealed no vest or improvised explosive device.)

5:02 a.m.: OPD SWAT and OCSO Hazardous Device Team began to breach wall with explosive charge and armored vehicle to make entry.

5:14 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that shots were fired.

5:15 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that OPD engaged the suspect and the suspect was reported down.

In a media release, the FBI noted that there were no reports of shots fired inside the Pulse nightclub between the initial exchange of gunfire with Mateen and the time of the final breach.

The FBI is still asking for anyone with information about Mateen to contact it by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or by going to tips.fbi.gov.

http://patch.com/florida/southtampa/orlando-shooting-latest-timeline-transcripts-released

 

SIG MCX

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sig Sauer MCX
Type Semi-automatic rifle
Place of origin U.S. design
Production history
Manufacturer SIG Sauer
Produced 2015
Variants MCX SBR
MCX Pistol
MCX Carbine
Specifications
Weight 2.61 kg (5.75 lbs)
Length 730 mm (28.75 in) SBG
610 mm (24.0 in) stock extended
 length 165 mm (6.5 in)

The SIG Sauer MCX is a gas-operated NATO STANAG compatible semi-automatic rifle that is convertible to fire several ammunition sizes. Manufactured by SIG Sauer, it was designed for U.S. Special Forces and released to the general public in 2015. It features a SIG Sauer short stroke push-rod gas system to reduce recoil and improve the reliability of the weapon. The weapon features a system that allows for conversion between 300 AAC Blackout (7.62×35mm), 7.62×39mm or 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition, all using AR-15 compatible magazines with 30-round capacity.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIG_MCX

AR-15

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
AR-15
Stag2wi .jpg

The AR-15 comes in many sizes and has many options, depending on the manufacturer. The part shown bottom center is the lower receiver with pistol grip and trigger assembly.
Type Semi-automatic rifle
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1958–present
Production history
Designer Eugene Stoner, Jim Sullivan, Bob Fremont
Designed 1957
Manufacturer ArmaLite, Colt, Bushmaster,Rock River Arms, Stag Arms,DPMS Panther Arms, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Anderson,Daniel Defense, CMMG,Olympic Arms and others.
Specifications
Weight 2.27 kg–3.9 kg (5.5–8.5 lb)
Barrel length
  • 24 inches (610 mm)
  • 20 inches (510 mm) (standard)
  • 18 inches (460 mm)
  • 16 inches (410 mm) (civilian standard)[1]
  • 14.5 inches (370 mm) M4 Military Standard
  • 11.5 inches (290 mm)
  • 10 inches (250 mm)
  • 7 inches (180 mm)
  • 6.5 inches (170 mm)

Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO and others; see list of AR platform calibers
Action Direct impingement or Gas Piston[2] / Via a Rotating bolt
Muzzle velocity 975 m/s (3,200 ft/s)[3]
Effective firing range 400–600 m (avg 547 yd)[4][5]
Feed system Various STANAG magazines. 5–100-round capacity[6][7]
Sights Adjustable front and rear iron sights

Modified AR-15

The prototype AR-15 rifle was designed by ArmaLite as a selective fire weapon for military purposes. Armalite sold the design to Colt due to financial difficulties. After some modifications, the rifle eventually became the US Army’s M16 rifle.

The term “AR-15” signifies “Armalite rifle, design 15”.[8] Today, Colt uses “AR-15” for its semi-automatic civilian rifles, and thus many use the term only for Colt AR-15s and clones made by other manufacturers. This article discusses the original design intended for military users and its major variants.

AR-15 rifles are lightweight, gas-operated, magazine-fed, and air-cooled. They fire an intermediate cartridge, and are manufactured with extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials. The design splits the rifle into two major components: the lower half, containing the trigger and buttstock, and the upper half, which contains the bolt and barrel. This approach allows modular replacement of components.

The name AR-15 remains a Colt registered trademark, but variants of the firearm are made, modified, and sold under various names by multiple manufacturers.

History

The AR-15 is based on the 7.62 mm AR-10 designed by Eugene Stoner, Robert Fremont, and L. James Sullivan of the Fairchild Armalite corporation.[9] The AR-15 was developed as a lighter, 5.56 mm version of the AR-10. The “AR” in all ArmaLite pattern firearms simply stands for “ArmaLite Rifle”,[10] and can be found on most of the company’s firearms: AR-5, a .22 caliber rifle; the AR-7, another .22 caliber; the AR-17shotgun; the AR-10 rifle; and the AR-24 pistol.[11][12]

1973 Colt AR-15 SP1 rifle with ‘slab side’ lower receiver (lacking raised boss around magazine release button) and original Colt 20-round box magazine

In 1959, ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt. After a tour by Colt of the Far East, the first sale of AR-15s was made to Malaya on September 30, 1959, and Colt manufactured their first 300 AR-15s in December 1959.[13] Colt marketed the AR-15 rifle to various military services around the world. After modifications (most notably the relocation of the charging handle from under the carrying handle to the rear of the receiver), the redesigned rifle was adopted by the United States military as the M16 rifle.[14]

In 1963, Colt started selling the semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle as the Colt AR-15 for civilian use and the term has been used to refer to semiautomatic-only versions of the rifle since then.[15] Colt continued to use the AR-15 trademark for its semi-automatic variants (AR-15, AR-15A2) which were marketed to civilian and law-enforcement customers. The original AR-15 was a very lightweight weapon, weighing less than 6 pounds with empty magazine. Later heavy-barrel versions of the civilian AR-15 can weigh upwards of 8.5 lb.[16]

Today, the AR-15 and its variations are manufactured by many companies and are popular among civilian shooters and law enforcement forces around the world due to their accuracy and modularity.[citation needed] (For more history on the development and evolution of the AR-15 and derivatives, see M16 rifle.)

The trademark “AR15” or “AR-15” is registered to Colt Industries, which maintains that the term should only be used to refer to their products. Other AR-15 manufacturers make AR-15 clones marketed under separate designations, although colloquially these are sometimes referred to by the term AR-15.

Some notable features of the AR-15 include:

  • Aircraft-grade forged 7075-T6 aluminum receiver that is lightweight, highly corrosion-resistant, and machinable.
  • Modular design that allows the use of numerous accessories such as after market sights, vertical forward grips, lighting systems, night vision devices, laser targeting devices, muzzle brakes/flash hiders, sound suppressors,bipods, etc., and makes repair easier.
  • Straight-line stock design that eliminates the fulcrum created by traditional bent stocks, reducing muzzle climb.
  • Small caliber, accurate, lightweight, high-velocity round (.223/5.56×45mm)
  • Support for numerous other rounds with easy conversions
  • Front sight adjustable for elevation
  • Rear sight that is adjustable for windage (most models) and elevation (some models)
  • Wide array of optical aiming devices available in addition to or as replacements of iron sights
  • Stoner gas system (as designed), with short or long stroke gas piston, or direct blowback operating systems available
  • Synthetic pistol grip and butt stock that do not swell or splinter (regulated in some states)
  • Various magazine capacities, ranging from 10 to 30-round or more
  • Ergonomic design that makes the charging handle, selector switch (which also engages the safety), magazine release, and bolt catch assembly easy to access.
  • 4 MOA accuracy

AR-15 sight picture

Semi-automatic AR-15s for sale to civilians are internally different from the full automatic M16, although nearly identical in external appearance. The hammer and trigger mechanisms are of a different design. The bolt carrier and internal lower receiver of semi-automatic versions are milled differently, so that the firing mechanisms are not interchangeable. The design changes were done to satisfy United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requirements that civilian weapons may not be easily convertible to full-automatic. Even so, the full automatic M16 bolt carrier is now the most popular type, and is approved by ATF.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, items such as the “Drop In Auto Sear” or “lightning link,” made conversion to full automatic straightforward. In some cases such conversion did require machining the lower receiver with use of a mill, as well as the substitution of a M16 bolt carrier group.[17][18] Such modifications, unless made using registered and transferable parts prior to May 19, 1986, are illegal. The Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986 has redefined a machine gun to include individual components with which a semi-automatic firearm can be converted to full-automatic, based on a 1981 ATF ruling on machine gun parts. Since 1993, the bolt carrier groups used in AR-15 type rifles for civilians have employed additional measures to prevent modification to full auto. Colt AR-15’s use a metal alloy wall separating the fire control group from the sear, preventing use of full automatic parts.

Automatic variants have a three-position rotating selective fire switch, allowing the operator to select between three modes: safe, semi-automatic, and either automatic or three-round burst, depending on model. Civilian Colt AR-15 models do not have three-round burst or automatic settings; they can only be fired as a semi-automatic, and are therefore not selective fire weapons. In semi-automatic-only variants, the switch only selects between safe and fire modes. Some other manufacturers may mark their rifles with three-positions for collectors and re-enactors, though the guns will not fire in those modes. Weapons modified to full automatic using a lightning-link are capable only of full automatic fire unless a special full automatic fire select mechanism and a modified selector-switch are substituted.[17] Many AR-15’s made before 1986 were converted to be M16’s by gunsmiths who legally turned them into Form One rifles in the U.S.[19] A converted AR will have an auto sear in a lower receiver marked as an AR-15.[19]

Today, while the civilian manufacture, sale, and possession of post-1986 select-fire AR-15 variants is prohibited, it is still legal to sell templates, tooling, and manuals to complete such conversion. These items are typically marketed as being “post-sample” materials for Federal Firearm Licensees, and are used in the manufacturing of select-fire variants of the AR-15 for law enforcement, military and overseas customers.[20]

Operating mechanism

Diagram of an M16 rifle, firing

U.S. Patent 2,951,424 describes the cycling mechanism used in the AR-15. The bolt carrier acts as a movable cylinder, and the bolt itself acts as a stationary piston. This mechanism is often called “direct gas impingement“, but it differs from prior gas systems.

direct impingement

Gas is tapped from the barrel as the bullet moves past a gas port located above the rifle’s front sight base. The gas rushes into the port and down a gas tube, located above the barrel, which runs from the front sight base into the AR-15’s upper receiver. Here, the gas tube protrudes into a “gas key” (bolt carrier key), which accepts the gas and funnels it into the bolt carrier.

At this point, the bolt is locked into the barrel extension by locking lugs, so the expanding gas forces the bolt carrier straight backward a short distance. As the bolt carrier moves toward the butt of the gun, the bolt cam pin, riding in a slot on the bolt carrier, forces the bolt to rotate and thus unlocks it from the barrel extension. Once the bolt is fully unlocked it begins its rearward movement along with the bolt carrier. The bolt’s rearward motion extracts the empty cartridge case from the chamber. As soon as the neck of the case clears the barrel extension, the bolt’s spring-loaded ejector forces it out the ejection port in the side of the upper receiver.

Behind the bolt carrier is a plastic or metal buffer, which rests in line with a return spring. The buffer spring begins to push the bolt carrier and bolt back toward the chamber once it is compressed sufficiently. A groove machined into the upper receiver guides the bolt cam pin and prevents it and the bolt from rotating into a closed position. The bolt’s locking lugs push a fresh round from the magazine as the bolt moves forward. The round is guided by feed ramps into the chamber. As the bolt’s locking lugs move past the barrel extension, the cam pin twists into a pocket milled into the upper receiver. This twisting action follows the groove cut into the carrier and forces the bolt to twist and “lock” into the barrel extension.

Variants

See also: AR-15 variants

Colt AR-15 Carbine

The AR-15 rifle is available in a wide range of configurations from a large number of manufacturers. These configurations range from short carbine-length models with features such as adjustable length stocks and optical sights, to heavy barrel models.

Due to the rifle’s modular design, one upper receiver can quickly and easily be substituted for another. There are many aftermarket upper receivers that incorporate barrels of different weights, lengths and calibers.[21] Some available calibers for the AR-15 are the .223 Remington/5.56×45mm, .300 Blackout, 7.62×39mm, 5.45×39mm, .45 ACP, 5.7×28mm, 6.5mm Grendel, 6.8mm Remington SPC,[22] .50 Beowulf, and .458 SOCOM.[23]

Colt AR-15 A3 Tactical Carbine. Rifle is shown with a CQB Tactical Sling and a Colt 4×20 scope.

When installing a new complete upper receiver, particularly one designed to handle a different caliber of ammunition (i.e., other than .223 Remington or 5.56×45mm NATO), some modification to the lower receiver may be required, depending on the particular conversion. For example, a conversion to 9 mm typically would involve the installation of a magazine well block (to accommodate a typical 9 mm magazine, such as Uzi or Colt SMG), replacing the .223 hammer with one designed for 9 mm ammunition, and depending on the original stock, replacing the buffer, action spring and stock spacer with those designed for the new 9 mm AR-15 configuration. The 9mm cartridge fires from an unlocked breech, or straight blow-back—rather than a locked breech, because the spring and bolt provide enough weight to allow this type of functioning. These guns do not utilize the direct gas impingement method of operation like the original.

5.56×45mm NATO compared to .50 Beowulf cartridges.

Some AR-15s like the POF, LWRCI, H&K, Sturm Ruger, SIG Sauer, United Defense Manufacturing Corporation, CMMG, and Adams Arms offerings replace the DGI (direct gas impingement) operating system with a short stroke/long stroke gas piston system. These guns usually have modified bolt carriers, gas keys, and gas blocks. When fired, DGI systems dump high pressure hot gas through the gas tube to the bolt carrier key and into the bolt carrier group. This can rapidly heat up the bolt carrier group and cause excessive fouling, one of the main complaints about the design. Gas piston operating systems alleviate these problems, but can cause other issues, such as carrier tilt, which can lead to increased bolt fractures.

Some manufacturers offer upper and lower receivers machined from a solid billet (block) of aluminum as opposed to an aluminum forging. Forgings typically have a comparatively higher strength to weight ratio than billet-based receivers.

Upper receivers that combine a railed hand guard and upper receiver into one unit are made by companies like Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Lewis Machine and Tool (LMT MRP), POF-USA, and VLTOR. This is done to provide a continuous rail section that runs along the top of the gun from the weapon’s charging handle to the front sight/gas block. This rail section is used for the mounting of sights, laser aiming devices, night vision devices, and lighting systems.

A side charging upper receiver has been developed by LAR Grizzly. Blackwood Arms has also developed a side charging upper receiver.[24] The charging handle can be had in a left side, right side, or ambidextrous configuration. The side charging handle is attached to the bolt carrier, making it a reciprocating design. The handle thus can be used as a forward assist device.

Early models had a 1:14 rate of twist for the original 55 grain (3.6 g) bullets. This was changed to 1:12 when it was found that 1:14 was insufficient to stabilize a bullet when fired in cold weather. Most recent rifles have a 1:9 or 1:7 twist rate. There is much controversy and speculation as to how differing twist rates affect ballistics and terminal performance with varying loads, but heavier, longer projectiles tend to perform better with faster rifling rates.[25] Additionally, the various non .223 / 5.56 calibers have their own particular twist rate, such as 1:10, 1:11 and 1:12 for 6.8×43mm SPC, 1:10 for 7.62×39mm, 1:9 for the 6.5 Grendel, and 1:8 for .300 Blackout.

A Colt AR-15 on display at the National Firearms Museum. This example is fitted with an early waffle-patterned 20-round magazine.

Standard issue magazines are 20- or 30-round staggered-column magazines and traditional box magazines exist in 40- and 45-round capacities. Drum magazines with 90- and 100-round capacities, such as Beta C-Mags are available, as well. Low-capacity magazines, usually of a 5- or 10-round capacity, are available to comply with some areas’ legal restrictions, for hunting, and for benchrest shooting, where a larger magazine can be inconvenient. Surefire is now offering extended capacity magazines in 60- and 100-round capacity configurations. These are of a staggered column design, dubbed casket magazines due to their shape. Usable magazines have been constructed from a variety of materials including steel, aluminum, and high-impact plastics.

Muzzle devices

Most AR-15 rifles have a barrel threaded in 1⁄2″-28 threads to incorporate the use of a muzzle device such as a flash suppressor, sound suppressor or muzzle brake.[26] The initial design had three tines or prongs and was prone to breakage and getting entangled in vegetation. The design was later changed to close the end to avoid this problem. Eventually, on the A2 version of the rifle, the bottom port was closed to reduce muzzle climb and prevent dust from rising when the rifle was fired in the prone position.[27] For these reasons, the US military declared this muzzle device a compensator, but it is more commonly known as the “GI” or “A2” flash suppressor.[28]

Flash suppressors are designed to reduce the muzzle flash from the weapon to preserve the shooter’s night vision. A flash suppressor does not improve the ballistic performance of a rifle or make it more lethal, but some jurisdictions have banned or severely restrict usage of flash suppressors. In most of these areas, AR-15 shooters have installed muzzle brakes or compensators on their rifles.

The threaded barrel allows sound suppressors with the same thread pattern to be installed directly to the barrel, however this can result in complications such as being unable to remove the suppressor from the barrel.[29] A number of suppressor manufacturers have turned to designing “direct-connect” sound suppressors which can be installed over an existing flash suppressor as opposed to using the barrel’s threads.[29]

Legal status of civilian ownership

Australia

AR-15 rifles, like all semi-automatic rifles, are subject to strong restrictions on ownership in all states and territories in Australia. The only means of legally owning a functional AR-15-type rifle in Australia today (other than law enforcement uses) is to have a Category D Firearms License (e.g. a professional animal culler). Individuals with a Firearms Collector’s License may own a deactivated firearm (with the barrel plugged up and the action welded shut), and members of a military re-enactment organization may own rifles converted to firing only blanks.[citation needed]

Restrictions on semi-automatic rifles were introduced in 1996 in response to the Port Arthur massacre – one of the firearms used was an AR-15. Previously, AR-15 rifles were legal to own in Queensland and Tasmania.[citation needed]

Imported AR-15 rifles are too expensive for television and film production because the company must destroy or export semi-automatic rifles after use. Warwick Firearms & Militaria, a Melbourne prop maker, manufactures AR-15-type “WFM4” rifles locally,[30][31] with approximately three dozen having been sold.[32] They are fully functional, but may be purchased only with government permission.[citation needed]

Austria

In Austria, semi-automatic centerfire rifles have to be classified as sporting or hunting firearms in order to obtain civilian-legal status. After this classification, they are considered “category B” firearms, which means that holders of gun licenses may own them. These licenses are may-issue items if the applicant specifies a valid reason (self-defense at home for example is considered valid by law in any case), passes a psychological test and attends a gun-basics course.[citation needed]

Three AR-15 manufacturers (“Hera Arms”, “Schmeisser” and “Oberlandarms”), all producing in Germany have had versions of their AR-15 models successfully classified as class B weapons. These Austrian versions differ slightly from the original design in order to ensure that no military full-auto trigger, bolt and barrel may be installed. Additionally, bayonet lugs, flash hiders and weapon lights are prohibited on semi-automatic rifles while muzzle brakes and compensators are legal. There is no minimum length for barrels, therefore even barrel lengths as short as 7.5″ are possible, and there are no magazine capacity limits.[citation needed]

Belgium

Semi-automatic firearms and thus AR-15 type rifles are legal to own, if in possession of the correct license.[citation needed]

Canada

The Government of Canada classifies the AR-15 (and its variants) as a restricted firearm. For anyone wanting to lawfully own an AR-15, they must obtain a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) valid for restricted firearms (RPAL) and then each acquisition of a restricted class firearm is subject to approval by the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of the would-be buyer’s province of residence.[33][34] With the introduction of strict gun control measures by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien (Bill C-68), the AR-15 had been intended to be classified as a prohibited firearm, making it impossible to privately own one. However, due to the presence of nationwide Service Rifle target shooting competitions, the AR-15 was granted a sporting exception.[citation needed]

As with all Restricted firearms (including most pistols, some shotguns, and some rifles) AR-15s are allowed to be fired only at certified firing ranges since the CFOs of all provinces and territories have agreed to issue ATTs (Authority To Transport) for these guns only to certified ranges. Since owners cannot legally take these guns anywhere else that shooting is allowed, they can in effect only shoot them on certain ranges. In order to legally own and transport a Restricted firearm, the firearm must be registered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Firearms Program and must apply for an Authorization to Transport (or ATT) from the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) for their province or territory. Additionally, the firearm must be unloaded, deactivated by a trigger or action lock, and be in a locked, opaque “hard to break into” container during transport.[35] (“Hard to break into” is not legally defined within the Canadian firearms act or the CCC.)

The issuance of ATTs varies considerably from province to province, and is generally reflective of a particular province’s political and social levels of acceptance of gun ownership. In Ontario the “policy” of the CFO (currently Chris Wyatt) for obtaining an ATT for restricted firearms is to become a member of a range. However policy is not law and when challenged they have no choice but to either issue the ATT requested or do a formal refusal which can be challenged (for free) in court since they must abide by the law. It is not legal for them to refuse on the phone since the only acceptable method for that is in writing as per FA s.72(1).[36]

Czech Republic

The Czech Firearms Act categorizes semi-automatic rifles as “Class B” firearm. Class B firearms are available to anyone with a firearm license, which is shall issue (i.e. cannot be denied) subject to fulfillment of the act’s conditions (e.g. clean criminal record, no history of mental illness, no DUI in past three years, passing gun license exam). Prior to purchase, a licensed civilian needs to fill a permit to “buy, possess and carry”, which is also shall issue and takes about 15 minutes to process, with the local police station. The purchase permit is valid for one year. Any firearm must be registered with the police within ten days of purchase.[citation needed]

There is no magazine capacity limitation for sport or self-defense use. On the other hand, only magazines with maximum capacity of two rounds may be used for hunting. AR-15 as well as any other semi-automatic rifle may be carried loaded for self-defense only inconcealed manner. Hunters may carry the firearm openly to and from the area of a hunt in way preventing its immediate use (i.e. unloaded, with empty magazines). There are no limitations on flash suppressors and bayonets, while lasers and silencers fall into “Class A” category requiring a may-issue permit (usually difficult to obtain). Night vision falls also into “Class A” category; however, the permit process for it has been simplified since 2014 for hunters. Moreover, in 2015 the Ministry of Agriculture started subsidizing up to 80% of purchase price of night vision equipment to hunters who shoot more than 20 wild boar a year in order to cull boar infestation.[citation needed]

AR-15s are quite popular in the Czech Republic. As of 2015, there are three manufacturers of AR-15 in the Czech Republic: V-AR, Proarms Armory and LUVO.[citation needed]

Finland

In Finland, possession of semi-automatic rifles, including the AR-15, is legal, provided that the rifle’s owner acquires a permit for owning one. A license is required for each individual firearm and there needs to be a specific reason for ownership such as participation in the shooting sports and hunting. In Finland maximum magazine capacity in hunting is 3 rounds. But in addition a hunter can have 1 round chambered which brings their direct ammo capacity up to 4 rounds. There is no magazine capacity limit on guns for target or other sporting shooting.[citation needed]

Germany

The AR-15, like other semi-automatic rifles, is categorized as a “Class B” firearm. Possession of semi-automatic rifles, including the AR-15, is legal with a gun license (Waffenbesitzkarte). These licenses are shall-issue, if all criteria defined by the law are met. The applicant must specify a valid reason (collecting, hunting or sports shooting), have no criminal background and attend a gun-basics course.[citation needed]

While hunting in Germany, if a semi-automatic firearm is used, the magazine must be blocked to accept no more than two rounds of ammunition, meaning that when hunting game animals only three shots in total can be fired (as one additional round is loaded in the chamber) without reloading. This rule is stated in German hunting law and not in German gun law, and does not apply to handguns. Also, it is not allowed to use a magazine that is capable of accepting more than 10 rounds of ammunition while sports shooting in Germany; however, ownership of a magazine that can accept more than two rounds (for hunters) or ten rounds (for sports shooters) is legal in Germany without a license.[citation needed]

The acquisition and possession of ammunition requires a license in Germany, which is usually given with the gun license itself. When purchasing ammunition at a shooting range for immediate use, no license is required.[citation needed]

France

In France, any semi-automatic firearms using military calibers (9mm, 5.56 NATO, 7.62×39, 7.62 NATO, .45 ACP, .50 BMG, .50 AE.) are authorized as ‘B category’ weapons. While fully automatic ‘A category’ weapons are highly restricted, semi-automatic ones are legal for civilian possession. A hunting or sports shooting license is required to possess and purchase any firearm, as well as ammunition, in France.[citation needed]

Ireland

In Ireland, legal possession of a semi-automatic AR-15 requires a restricted firearms licence from the applicant’s local Garda chief superintendent, who has wide discretion to approve or deny the license. Semi-automatic centrefire rifles are generally may-issue items and the requirements to own one can vary greatly from province to province. Upgraded security measures may be a pre-condition of granting this licence.[37]

Italy

In Italy, the AR-15 rifle belongs to B7 class and can be owned by civilians, provided it is incapable of fully automatic fire. Like every other gun, it must be registered and to purchase it citizens must have a valid license, which is granted to every person who qualifies.[citation needed]

The rifles are chambered in .223 or 5.56×45 (M193 ball). NATO ammo in 5.56 mm is illegal for civilian use. Due to the Italian legal catalog of rifles, an AR-15 can be considered for hunting use or sports use. If the rifle is classified for hunting use, it is legal to own any number of AR-15s. If the rifle is classified for sporting use, it is possible to own only 6 guns with the same “sporting” classification.[citation needed]

New Zealand

The AR-15 rifle is treated like any other semi-automatic rifle. They are legal to own by individuals holding a firearms license; however, specific features (folding stock, pistol grip, magazines holding more than 7 rounds, etc.) will require it to be registered as a Military-Style Semi-Automatic (MSSA) requiring an ‘E Category’ endorsement on their license.[citation needed]

Poland

According to Polish laws on firearms, AR-15s and clones do not have any special status. Any civilian holder of firearm licence can purchase and use one without any restrictions, excluding full auto versions. Stock types, magazine capacity, and barrel length are not regulated, although hunting is allowed only with magazines holding six or fewer rounds.[citation needed]

Russia

Russian laws on weapons treat AR-15 rifles as any other rifle. In general, semi-auto only versions with magazine capacity not exceeding 10 rounds are legal for civilians to own, provided that a special “rifled firearm license” is acquired by that individual.[citation needed]

Sweden

The AR-15, like all other semi-automatic rifles, is legal for individuals who need one for competitive use (IPSC rifle or 3-gun matches). A valid competition license is required, and all weapons are registered with the police. The AR-15 is not allowed for hunting use.[citation needed]

South Africa

The AR-15 like any other semi-automatic long arm in South Africa, is legal for anyone who holds any of the following licenses:

  • Licence to possess firearm for dedicated hunting and dedicated sports-shooting
  • Licence to possess firearm for business purposes
  • Licence to possess restricted firearm for self-defence

While not prohibited, common citizens can only own semi-automatic AR-15s if they are members of a hunting or target club, and possess dedicated sport person or dedicated hunter status granted by organisations accredited by the South African Police Service(SAPS).[38][39] Other licenses allowing the possession of semi-automatic rifles are only available to people who require their use in the conduct of their business (e.g. security personnel), and citizens who can convincingly prove to the Registrar that non-restricted firearms are not sufficient to provide protection. The latter requires a specific motivation for the need of a restricted firearm for self-defence[38] and have been granted to rhino farmers.[40][41][42]

United Kingdom

As with all semi-automatic, centerfire rifles, AR-15s are classed as a Section 5 weapon (Prohibited), i.e., a person must provide an exceptional reason and gain permission from the Home Secretary, making ownership all but impossible for a private citizen. However, centerfire AR-15s in a manually operated straight pull configuration or semi-automatic AR-15s that are chambered to fire a .22 rimfire cartridge are legal and can be held on a standard Section 1 Firearms Certificate. There are no restrictions on assault weaponfeatures in the UK, and no restrictions on magazine capacity. There are a number of UK manufacturers of “straight-pull” AR-15 variants. Southern Gun Company has tried to introduce a 9mm “self-ejecting” variant for gallery rifle shooting nicknamed the “Unicorn” but, despite numerous units being sold on the understanding that the rifle was a compliant Section 1 firearm, the rifles were seized and subjected to stringent testing by the UK Forensic Science Service (FSS). A small number of pre-production models were found to be non-compliant with section 1 status. However, later models were deemed Section 1 compliant and were returned to their owners.[citation needed]

United States

At the federal level, AR-15s are legal and considered the same as any other rifle.

During the period 1994–2004, variants with certain features such as collapsible stocks, flash suppressors, and bayonet lugs were prohibited for sales to civilians by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, with the included Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Included in this was a restriction on the pistol grip that protrudes beneath the stock, which was considered an accessory feature under the ban and was also subject to restrictions. Some rifles were manufactured with a grip not described under the Ban installed in its place. Those AR-15s that were manufactured with the restricted features, as well as the accompanying full capacity magazines, were stamped “Restricted Military/Government/Law Enforcement/Export Only”. The restrictions only applied to guns manufactured after the ban took effect. It was legal to own, sell, or buy any gun built before 1994. Hundreds of thousands of pre-ban ARs were sold during the ban as well as new guns redesigned to be legal.

Since the expiration of the Federal AWB in September 2004,[43] these features became legal in most states.[44] Also, the manufacture and sale of formerly-restricted rifles has resumed.

Six states, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland, and Connecticut, heavily regulate possession of AR-15 type rifles either by the restriction of certain features or outright bans of certain manufacturers’ models. California residents may own certain AR-15 type rifles, but they are required to have a fixed magazine not exceeding 10 rounds. Massachusetts and New Jersey have essentially continued following the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban criteria on numerous semiautomatic rifles. New York, Maryland, and Connecticut enacted a ban on sales of AR-15 (and other types of firearms) in response to the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting Massacre. These various state laws have been heavily criticized by many pro-gun organizations.

Under U.S. firearms laws, the lower receiver of the AR-15 is considered a firearm and is subject to purchasing restrictions. The AR-15 upper receiver assembly is considered a part, and may be purchased and mail-ordered in most locations. This is a desirable feature for enthusiasts, who can purchase a number of upper receivers (often in different calibers and barrel lengths) and interchange them with the same lower receiver.

Adding a shoulder stock to an AR-15 with a barrel shorter than 16″ would constitute constructing a Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR) under NFA rules, and thus is subject to a $200 tax stamp. The receiver, or serial-numbered part, is still considered a firearm, but a receiver has unique status assigned by the Gun Control Act of 1968 as amended, and by ATF regulations or rulings. ATF ruling July 7, 2009 illustrates a receiver’s unique legal status even if the receiver can only be made into a rifle.[45] Under the United States v. Thompson-Center Arms Company Supreme Court ruling, an individual can possess parts for both the rifle and pistol so long as they are not assembled improperly.[46] This ruling has been further clarified by the ATF Director in a ruling (ATF Ruling 2011-4[47]) dated July 25, 2011 which restates most of the findings in the Thompson case.

Following the 1992 ruling, the ATF claimed that the finding in United States v. Thompson-Center Arms Company only applies to products of Thompson Contender, and not to any other companies’ products.[48] This has changed under ATF ruling 2011–4, which states

A firearm, as defined by the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3), is made when unassembled parts are placed in close proximity in such a way that they: (a) serve no useful purpose other than to make a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; or (b) convert a complete weapon into such an NFA firearm.[49] A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3) and (a)(4), is not made when parts within a kit that were originally designed to be configured as both a pistol and a rifle are assembled or re-assembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., as a pistol, or a rifle with a barrel or barrels of 16 inches or more in length).[49] A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3) and (a)(4), is not made when a pistol is attached to a part or parts designed to convert the pistol into a rifle with a barrel or barrels of 16 inches or more in length, and the parts are later unassembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., as a pistol).[49] A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4), is made when a handgun or other weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length, is assembled or produced from a weapon originally assembled or produced only as a rifle.[49] Such a weapon would not be a “pistol” because the weapon was not originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile by one hand.

Furthermore, adding a forward pistol grip to an AR-15 designated as a pistol constitutes manufacture of an AOW (any other weapon).[50] Both of these actions require an approved “Form 1” and payment of a $200 tax prior to the actual construction of the item. Current wait times for approval average 5–8 months, during which time no modifications or construction may be done.

As of 2012, there are an estimated 2.5-3.7 million rifles from the AR-15 family in civilian use in the United States.[51][unreliable source?] They are favored for target shooting, hunting, and personal protection, and have become the most popular rifle in the U.S.[52]

Individual states

California
Main article: AR-15s in California

The Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 banned Colt AR-15 rifles by name in the State of California. California’s assault weapons ban following the Supreme Court of California‘s 2000 decision in Kasler v. Lockyer went further and banned AR-15s made by other manufacturers by name.[53] AR-15-style rifles that are not named specifically by the Roberti-Roos or other restricted lists can be purchased in the state with some major modifications. Since these are not on the various lists of prohibited firearms, their lower receivers (the part that is legally the firearm) are referred to as “Off List Lowers” (OLL). These OLLs are very common in California, and at least several hundred thousand of them have been sold in the state since the ban went into effect.[citation needed]

Reliability

Early versions of the AR-15 were often considered unreliable due to problems encountered by American soldiers in Vietnam. At least part of the problems were due to the ammunition.[54] The choice of propellant (powder) went through a number of alternatives, starting with IMR 4475 for the Army, and WC 846 for the Air Force. Continued testing of WC 846 (a ball powder) showed problems with fouling and issues with the cyclic rate being too high.[55] Other powders showed problems, as well. The rifles were also issued without any cleaning kits, and many soldiers were not trained to use the M16s when they were first issued.[56]

Malfunctions

With the plethora of manufacturers of complete weapons and aftermarket barrels, there is a potential hazard associated with chamber specifications. Both civilian (SAAMI) specification .223 Remington and 5.56mm NATO are available. Though the external dimensions of the two cases are the same and both chambers typically accept both types of ammunition, the firing of military specification ammunition in civilian specification chambers can produce chamber pressures greater than the barrel is designed to handle. Internally the 5.56×45mm case wall is identical to the .223, though the NATO round is typically loaded to produce higher pressure than the .223. The most common malfunction resulting from firing military 5.56×45mm ammunition in a .223 Remington chamber is that the primer can be forced out of the case by chamber pressure, often resulting in the primer becoming lodged somewhere in the action of the rifle. Disassembly of the rifle is often necessary to remove the jammed primer.[57]

A few AR-15 manufacturers incorporate the use of a hybrid chamber specification known as the Wylde chamber. Designed by and named after Bill Wylde of Greenup, Illinois, this chambering was designed to accurately shoot the military ball ammo of the day while still feeding reliably. Coincidentally, it shoots the longer 80 gr bullets commonly used in the sport of Highpower Rifle Competition very well and is one of the preferred chambers for that use. While the Wylde chamber allows for optimal seating depth of 80 grain bullets over .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO, it is capable of accepting both ammunition types. The Wylde chamber is used by many manufacturers who sell “National Match” configuration AR-15 rifle, barrels, and upper receivers. The type of chamber, manufacturer, and rifling twist in inches is typically found stamped into the barrel in front of the front sight assembly.

An additional point of concern in the design is the inertial firing pin. A lightweight firing pin rides in a channel inside the bolt unrestrained. When the bolt locks forward during loading, the firing pin typically rides forward and impacts the primer of the chambered round. In military specification ammunition and quality civilian ammunition, this is not normally enough to fire the round and only leaves a small “ding” on the primer. With more sensitive primers or improperly seated primers, this can cause a slamfire during loading.[58]Another type of malfunction, hammer follow, is also a potential problem for AR type rifles.

AR-15 and variant manufacturers

Calibers

Pistol cartridges

Metric
Imperial

Rifle cartridges

Metric
Imperial

Shotgun shells

In addition, the AR-15 lower receiver can be used as a trigger mechanism for single shot or side-fed upper receivers for a variety of larger calibers, including .50 BMG[59] and crossbow[60] bolts.

See also

References

 

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The wisdom of Ronald Reagan and the real reason the world didn’t end

I’m not retreating an inch from where I was. But I also recognize this: There are some people who would have you so stand on principle that if you don’t get all that you’ve asked for from the legislature, why, you jump off the cliff with the flag flying.

I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want. So, I think what they’ve misread is times in which I have compromised — for example, our entire economic program.

I proposed three 10-percent-a-year cuts in the income tax, retroactive to January 1st, 1981. There was no way I could get that with the House of Representatives dominated by the other party. So, I settled for a 5-percent cut the first year, not retroactive but on October 30 — or on October 1st, the beginning of the fiscal year; then two following 10-percent cuts. Well, I think 25 percent, a little delayed in starting, was better than going down fighting and not getting anything at all.

And I wish that I could get more people to realize, no, I have not retreated from what was our original purpose. I am very stubborn in that regard. And I’m just going to have to try and communicate better, and make people realize that, you know, I come back and I ask for more the next time around.

~ President Ronald Reagan

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Who would Trump choose as his running mate?

Cruz-Trump-2016 (1)cruz trumptrump and cruztrump_cruz_2016_modern_wall_clocktrump_cruz_2016_trucker_hattrump-cruztrumpcruztrump and cruz talk

Copyright www.flags.net/UNST.htm Republican Convention
Presidential Nominating Process
Debate –  Fox – Cleveland, Ohio: Thursday 6 August 2015
Debate – CNN – Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California: Wednesday 16 September 2015
Debate – CNBC – Boulder, Colorado: Wednesday 28 October 2015
Debate – Fox Business News – Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Tuesday 10 November 2015
Debate – CNN – Las Vegas, Nevada: Tuesday 15 December 2015
Debate – Fox Business Channel, Charleston, South Carolina: Thursday 14 January 2016
Debate – Fox – Iowa: Thursday 28 January 2016
Debate – CBS – South Carolina: February 2016 (presumably)
Debate – NBC/Telemundo – Texas: Friday 26 February 2016
Debate – CNN – TBD: March 2016 (presumably)
Debate – Salt Lake City, Utah (announced 20 February 2016): Monday 21 March 2016
41st Republican National Convention: Monday 18 July – Thursday 21 July 2016
Republicans
Candidate Popular
Vote
Delegate Votes
Soft
Pledged
Soft
Unpledged
Soft
Total
Hard Total
Trump, Donald John, Sr. 7,826,108  37.10% 755  31.91%   755  30.54% 752  30.42%
Cruz, Rafael Edward “Ted” 5,740,650  27.22% 465  19.65% 1   0.94% 466  18.85% 463  18.73%
Rubio, Marco A. 3,466,883  16.44% 169   7.14%   169   6.84% 174   7.04%
Kasich, John Richard 2,808,675  13.32% 144   6.09%   144   5.83% 144   5.83%
Carson, Benjamin Solomon “Ben”, Sr. 691,858   3.28% 8   0.34%   8   0.32% 8   0.32%
Bush, John Ellis “Jeb” 254,022   1.20% 4   0.17%   4   0.16% 4   0.16%
Uncommitted 66,044   0.31% 10   0.42% 8   7.55% 18   0.73% 31   1.25%
Paul, Randal H. “Rand” 56,238   0.27% 1   0.04%   1   0.04% 1   0.04%
Christie, Christopher James “Chris” 52,609   0.25%        
Huckabee, Michael Dale “Mike” 47,154   0.22% 1   0.04%   1   0.04% 1   0.04%
Fiorina, Carleton Sneed “Carly” 35,204   0.17% 1   0.04%   1   0.04% 1   0.04%
Santorum, Richard John “Rick” 15,720   0.07%        
No Preference 9,249   0.04%        
Graham, Lindsey Olin 5,639   0.03%        
Gray, Elizabeth 5,455   0.03%        
(others) 3,116   0.01%        
Gilmore, James Stuart “Jim”, III 2,671   0.01%        
Pataki, George E. 1,967   0.01%        
Others 1,586   0.01%        
Cook, Timothy “Tim” 485   0.00%        
Jindal, Piyush “Bobby” 221   0.00%        
Martin, Andy 202   0.00%        
Witz, Richard P.H. 109   0.00%        
Lynch, James P. “Jim”, Sr. 100   0.00%        
Messina, Peter 77   0.00%        
Cullison, Brooks Andrews 56   0.00%        
Lynch, Frank 47   0.00%        
Robinson, Joe 44   0.00%        
Comley, Stephen Bradley, Sr. 32   0.00%        
Prag, Chomi 16   0.00%        
Dyas, Jacob Daniel “Daniel”, Sr. 15   0.00%        
McCarthy, Stephen John 12   0.00%        
Iwachiw, Walter N. 9   0.00%        
Huey, Kevin Glenn 8   0.00%        
Drozd, Matt 6   0.00%        
Mann, Robert Lawrence 5   0.00%        
Hall, David Eames          
(available)   808  34.15% 97  91.51% 905  36.61% 893  36.12%
Total 21,092,292 100.00% 2,366 100.00% 106 100.00% 2,472 100.00% 2,472 100.00%

http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/R

Copyright www.flags.net/UNST.htm Arizona Republican
Presidential Nominating Process
Primary: Tuesday 22 March 2016
County and Legislative District Meetings: Saturday 26 March – Saturday 9 April 2016
State Convention and Congressional District Caucus: Saturday 30 April 2016
Republicans
Candidate Popular
Vote
Delegate Votes
Soft
Pledged
Soft
Unpledged
Soft
Total
Hard Total
Trump, Donald John, Sr. 249,913  47.09% 58 100.00%   58 100.00% 58 100.00%
Cruz, Rafael Edward “Ted” 132,143  24.90%        
Rubio, Marco A. 70,555  13.29%        
Kasich, John Richard 53,046   9.99%        
Carson, Benjamin Solomon “Ben”, Sr. 14,317   2.70%        
Bush, John Ellis “Jeb” 4,073   0.77%        
Paul, Randal H. “Rand” 2,036   0.38%        
Huckabee, Michael Dale “Mike” 1,177   0.22%        
Fiorina, Carleton Sneed “Carly” 1,170   0.22%        
Christie, Christopher James “Chris” 915   0.17%        
Santorum, Richard John “Rick” 461   0.09%        
Graham, Lindsey Olin 441   0.08%        
Pataki, George E. 266   0.05%        
Cook, Timothy “Tim” 213   0.04%        
Total 530,726 100.00% 58 100.00%   58 100.00% 58 100.00%

http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/AZ-R

Copyright www.flags.net/UNST.htm Utah Republican
Presidential Nominating Process
Precinct Caucuses: Tuesday 22 March 2016
State Convention: Saturday 23 April 2016
Republicans
Candidate Popular
Vote
Delegate Votes
Soft
Pledged
Soft
Unpledged
Soft
Total
Hard Total
Cruz, Rafael Edward “Ted” 122,431  69.16% 40 100.00%   40 100.00% 40 100.00%
Kasich, John Richard 29,759  16.81%        
Trump, Donald John, Sr. 24,825  14.02%        
Carson, Benjamin Solomon “Ben”, Sr.          
Rubio, Marco A.          
Total 177,015 100.00% 40 100.00%   40 100.00% 40 100.00%

http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/UT-R

Delegates Remaining: 944

Delegates

Trump D. Trump
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
7 11 50 14 36 14 16 42 22 8 13 33 48 8 17 9 17 18 9 0 11 12 25 24 0 0 1 99 53 25 29 9 0 0 1 58 0
739
Cruz T. Cruz
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
8 3 0 6 13 14 15 18 4 13 15 16 104 0 8 24 15 18 12 0 7 20 17 13 0 1 9 0 9 15 27 0 0 0 1 0 40
465
Rubio M. Rubio
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
7 2 0 7 1 0 9 16 8 17 12 9 3 0 16 6 7 5 0 23 1 0 0 0 10 0 1 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0
166
Kasich J. Kasich
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
1 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 0 8 5 1 7 0 2 0 0 0 17 0 9 0 0 0 5 0 9 0 66 0 0 0 0
143
Uncommitted Uncommitted
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9
Carson B. Carson
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
3 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8
Bush J. Bush
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4
Fiorina C. Fiorina
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1
Huckabee M. Huckabee
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1
Paul R. Paul
Details

IA NH SC NV AL AK AR GA MA MN OK TN TX VT VA KS KY LA ME PR HI ID MI MS DC GU WY FL IL MO NC MP OH VI AS AZ UT ND WI CO NY CT DE MD PA RI IN NE WV OR WA CA MT NJ NM SD
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1
Christie C. Christie
Details
0
Gilmore J. Gilmore
Details
0
Santorum R. Santorum
Details
0

http://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/delegate-count-tracker

Read more: http://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/delegate-count-tracker#ixzz43lfLO4BK
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Exclusive: Marco Rubio rejected ‘unity ticket’ with Ted Cruz

Utah Sen. Mike Lee sought to arrange a shotgun wedding of his two Senate colleagues, but Rubio wasn’t interested.

Ted Cruz’s campaign has been exploring the possibility of forming a unity ticket with ex-rival Marco Rubio — going so far as to conduct polling looking into how the two would perform in upcoming primary states.
The motivation, hashed out in conversations among Cruz’s top aides and donors: to find a way to halt Donald Trump’s march to the Republican nomination.
Story Continued Below

It’s unclear whether Cruz’s campaign brass views a partnership with Rubio as realistic or quixotic. In Rubio’s orbit, according to three sources, it’s seen as an outright nonstarter — with Rubio telling his team he isn’t interested.
Yet in recent weeks, within Cruz’s camp, talk of a joint ticket has run rampant. Utah Republican Mike Lee, one of two senators to endorse Cruz, has emerged as an outspoken supporter of a unity ticket — and as a potential broker. The freshman, according to several sources briefed on the talks, has reached out repeatedly to Rubio to gauge his interest, but has been rebuffed.
Shortly before Lee endorsed Cruz on March 10, Lee and his advisers discussed the possibility of organizing a meeting between the Utah senator and Rubio in Florida, just days before the state’s primary, according to two sources. The meeting, though, never happened.
A Lee spokesman, Conn Carroll, declined to comment for this story. So, too, did spokespersons for Cruz and Rubio.
But the Cruz camp’s apparent fascination with the idea of joining forces with Rubio didn’t end with Lee’s efforts.
20160321_donald_trump_1_AP_1160.jpg
Trump names foreign policy team members
By NICK GASS
In recent days, Cruz’s team has begun to investigate how the two would fare on a prospective ticket. Over the past week, according to a person familiar with the Cruz team’s internal deliberations, the campaign has conducted polling in forthcoming contests — including the one on Tuesday in Utah — in which questions are posed about the two running side-by-side.
The deliberations come at a time of rising anxiety among Republican leaders and donors about Trump, who many fear is becoming unstoppable. The real estate mogul holds a 256-delegate lead and is seen as the favorite in a number of upcoming primary states, including New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — contests that could push Trump toward the 1,237 delegate number he needs to secure the Republican nomination.
At the very least, Cruz’s team is hoping for a Rubio endorsement. The two have been in touch since Rubio dropped out last week, and those close to he Florida senator say he’s open to endorsing his Texas colleague — especially if he believes there’s a pathway for Cruz to defeat Trump.
Yet some have pushed for more. Among the Cruz supporters who have been vocal about forging an alliance has been Doug Deason, son of billionaire megadonor Darwin Deason, who has deep connections in the Charles and David Koch fundraising network.
On March 2, the day after Super Tuesday, the younger Deason reached out to Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe. Rubio had suffered a rash of defeats the night before, and Deason told Roe that it would make sense to reach out to the Florida senator’s team. By that time, Deason had been talking to a number of major Rubio donors, but now wanted to go to the official campaign to pitch the unity-ticket idea.
In an interview, Deason recalled telling Roe he wanted to call Marc Short, a senior Rubio adviser and former operative for the Koch-founded Freedom Partners political operation. After Roe didn’t object, Deason connected with Short and gave him his pitch.
160204_donald_trump_AP_1160.jpg
Poll: More than half of Americans view Trump, Clinton unfavorably
By ELIZA COLLINS
Short’s response, Deason said, was unequivocal: Rubio wasn’t interested. (Short didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
“Rubio was too pompous to act on it. He believed his own internal polls and there was no swaying him away from staying in the race through the Florida primary,” Deason said. “If he had signed on before the first Super Tuesday, Cruz would have won all of the Texas votes and a lot more delegates. They may have very well won Florida.”
Appearing on Fox News after this story was published on Monday evening, Cruz was pressed on his campaign’s decision to look into a unity ticket and to poll its prospects. He said that he and Rubio haven’t spoken about it, nor had their respective staffs.
Cruz declined, however, to rule out a unity ticket.
“I think any Republican would naturally have Marco on their short list and you would look seriously to him as a vice presidential choice,” he said.
Erick Erickson, a vocal Trump critic who has floated the idea of a Cruz-Rubio alliance and last week organized a call by prominent conservative activists for a Republican “unity ticket,” said he thought it would be “very effective in stopping Trump.”
“I wish they would do it because it would provide counterprogramming to the Donald Trump show,” he said in an interview.
But Rubio’s camp is uniformly dismissive of the idea. “Different combinations have been floating out there for a little while — who could partner up with whom,” said Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Rubio endorser. “But I didn’t take it too seriously.”

ted-cruz-221066#ixzz43kwTydZk

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 604, January 14, 2016, Story 1: The Really Stupid Republican Party Throws It Voter Base Under The Bus and Guarantees Trump/Cruz Ticket and Win In November — South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Dumps On Trump, Bush and Rubio — Tone Deaf Republician Establishment — Republican Voters Are Angry With The Party Leadership — Videos

Posted on January 15, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Donald Trump, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Government, Government, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Jeb Bush, Law, Legal Immigration, Marco Rubio, Media, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Senate, Social Science, Taxation, Taxes, United States of America, Videos, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show 570, November 6, 2015, Story 1: Mainstream Media Mob Electronic Lynching of Dr. Ben Carson — Attempted Assassination Fails — Limbaugh Unmasked The Perpetrators — The Conservative Right Strikes Back — Videos

Posted on November 6, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Communications, Constitutional Law, Culture, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Language, Law, Media, News, Photos, Politics, Polls, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Social Security, Taxation, Taxes, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Mainstream Media Mob Electronic Lynching of Dr. Ben Carson — Attempted Assassination Fails — Limbaugh Unmasked The Perpetrators — The Conservative Right Strikes Back — Videos

a lie

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Friday, November 6
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LIMBAUGH: CARSON IS VICTIM OF ‘ELECTRONIC LYNCHING’

Media ‘telling an outright lie’ in ‘an assassination attempt’

Talk-radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh shredded Politico and accused the news site and mainstream media of coordinating an “assassination attempt” against Dr. Ben Carson on Friday.

In fact, Limbaugh went even further, calling the onslaught of attacks an “electronic lynching being conducted against the Republican African-American candidate by a majority-white mainstream American liberal media.”

In a damning accusation Friday, Politico claimed Carson’s campaign “admitted he did not tell the truth” about having been accepted into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

A Carson spokesperson made a response to an inquiry by Politico into the veracity of a story in the surgeon’s autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” that the then-17-year-old was offered a full scholarship after a meeting in 1969 with Gen. William Westmoreland in 1969.

Dr. Ben Carson’s inspiring manifesto, “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great” – $4.95 today only at the WND Superstore!

Politico reported West Point had no record of either Carson’s application or admission.

However, a Carson spokesman told the Daily Caller on Friday, “The Politico story is an outright lie.”

Doug Watts said, “The campaign never admitted to anything,” and Carson “[N]ever said he was admitted or even applied” to West Point.

“I want to show you how this works. I want to share with you some headlines that have run during the course of this program,” Limbaugh said, blasting Politico as a “liar,” and listing the following media reports Friday:

Several of the news outlets – including Politico – amended their original headlines with the Carson campaign called the Politico story “an outright lie.”

In a press conference late Friday, Carson ripped into combative reporters:

If you look at one of the websites that West Point has today, it says government offer for full scholarship to West Point. So they use that very language themselves. So almost 50 years ago, they may have been using that language as well.

They were very impressed with what I had done. I had become the city executive officer in less time than anybody else had ever done that. They were saying, “You would be a tremendous addition to the military, and we can get you into West Point with a full scholarship. I simply said, “I want to be a doctor. I really appreciate it. I’m very flattered.” And I moved on. So it didn’t go on any further than that. …

I think what it shows, and what these kinds of things show, is that there is a desperation on behalf of some to try to find a way to tarnish me because they have been looking through everything. They have been talking to everybody I’ve ever known, everybody I’ve ever seen, [saying], “There’s got to be a scandal. There’s got to be something. He’s having an affair, there’s gotta be something.” They are getting desperate. So next week it’ll be my kindergarten teacher who says that I peed in my pants. I mean, this is just ridiculous. But it’s OK because I totally expect it.

Dr. Carson explained that, as the top ROTC student in Detroit 50 years ago, he was invited to “a number of events because of my position.” In that role, he was invited to meet Gen. Westmoreland.

“That was also a time, as I recall, that several of the high brass told me that I would be somebody that they would be interested in in the military. It was an offer to me. I interpreted it as an offer. … They told me this was available to me because of my accomplishments and that they would be delighted for me to do it. And I told them immediately that my intention was to become a physician. It always has been, and I was very honored but I would not be pursuing that.”

Carson said he “made it clear” in his book that he, in fact, only applied to one college because he had just enough money for one application fee.

When relentlessly pressed about his childhood years, Carson told reporters, “My prediction is that all of you guys trying to pile on is actually going to help me, because, when I go out to these book signings and I see these thousands of people, they say, ‘Don’t let the media get you down. Don’t let them disturb you. Please continue to fight for us.’ They understand that this is a witch hunt. …

“Let me just say one thing. I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running. In fact, I remember just the opposite. I remember people just [saying], ‘Oh well, we won’t really talk about that. We won’t talk about that relationship. Well, Frank Marshall Davis, we don’t want to talk about that. Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, we don’t really know him. You know, all the things that Jeremiah Wright was saying, oh, not a big problem.’

“[Obama] goes to Occidental College, doesn’t do all that well, and somehow ends up at Columbia University. His records are sealed. Why are his records sealed? Why are you guys not interested in why his records are sealed? Why are you not interested in that? Let me ask you that. Can somebody tell me why? … Now you’re saying that something that happened with the words ‘a scholarship was offered’ was the big deal, but the president of the United States, his academic records being sealed is not? Tell me how there’s equivalence there.”

Carson told reporters he wouldn’t “sit back and let you be completely unfair without letting the American people know what’s going on.”

He added, “And the American people are waking up to your games.”
 http://www.wnd.com/2015/11/limbaugh-carson-is-victim-of-electronic-lynching/#sXtuGSojLqHGJlxX.99

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/11/limbaugh-carson-is-victim-of-electronic-lynching/#sXtuGSojLqHGJlxX.99

New front-runner Ben Carson faces closer scrutiny of his life story

By David Weigel and David A. Fahrenthold

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson — now making the transition from living legend to scrutinized candidate — faced new questions Friday about the way he tells his powerful life story.

For years, Carson has said he was offered a “full scholarship” to the U.S. Military Academy when he was a high-achieving high school Army ROTC cadet in the late 1960s. But Carson never applied to West Point, was never accepted and never received a formal scholarship offer. In fact, West Point does not offer scholarships; all cadets attend free.

The story was first reported Friday by Politico. Carson responded to the resulting controversy by saying that when he spoke of an “offer,” he referred to informal, verbal statements of encouragement from military leaders he met through the ROTC, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps .

“I was told that because of my accomplishments, they would be able to manage to get me into West Point and that I wouldn’t have to pay anything,” Carson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network. He said he decided not to apply and went to Yale University instead to pursue medicine. “There was no application process [at West Point]. I never even started down that path,” Carson said.

Carson’s campaign cast the episode as new evidence of persecution of the candidate by the news media. Tension between Carson and the media came to a boil Friday night in Florida, where at a combative news conference the candidate asked why President Obama had not been subjected to such scrutiny.

 “The words ‘a scholarship was offered’ were a big deal, but the president of the United States’ academic records being sealed is not?” he said.

The original Politico report declared that Carson had “fabricated” a story about “his application and acceptance” at West Point. It also claimed that the candidate had “admitted” the fabrication.

Carson’s campaign vehemently denied those statements.

The Politico story seemed to mischaracterize a small but key detail in the way Carson has told the story. In many cases, Carson implied only that he received a formal offer from West Point. He never said explicitly that he had been accepted or even that he had applied.

“It gives journalism a bad name,” said Armstrong Williams, Carson’s close friend and business manager. “It only fits into Dr. Carson’s narrative of a witch hunt” by the media.

By mid-afternoon, Politico posted a new version of its story that no longer included the wording that Carson had “fabricated” a part of his biography. Later in the day, the news site posted an editor’s note stating that the story should have made clear that Carson never claimed to have applied for admission to West Point.

“We continue to stand by the story,” Politico spokeswoman Lauren Edmonds said in a statement. “We updated it to reflect Ben Carson’s on the record response to the New York Times and other new details, which underscore the validity of our original reporting.”

As the day went on, conservative media voices chimed in to agree with Carson. “It’s almost like the Politico is the official leak machine for the Republican establishment,” Rush Limbaugh said on his syndicated radio show. Radio host and blogger Erick Erickson replaced an entire post about “the beginning of Ben Carson’s end” with one about a “demonstrably false” Politico report.

Carson, 64, achieved worldwide fame for his daring surgeries at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and for his story of rising out of poverty in southwest Detroit. This week, as Carson has challenged Donald Trump for the lead in the Republican presidential primary contest, there has been a new focus on Carson’s personal beliefs and on the way he tells his life story.

First, the Web site BuzzFeed posted a 17-year-old video of a commencement speech in which Carson offers an alternative theory about why the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids. In Carson’s telling, they were not built to be tombs, as historians and archeologists say. Instead, they were built for grain storage, in keeping with the biblical story of Joseph, in which the patriarch counseled the pharaoh to store up grain for years of famine.

Carson told CBS News this week that he still believes that the pyramids were granaries, saying the proof was in sealed chambers inside the structures. “You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time,” he said.

Then, CNN sought to verify a key part of Carson’s life story: that, as a young man in Detroit, he had committed acts of violence, including smashing a boy’s nose with a thrown rock, attempting to stab a friend in the abdomen and threatening his own mother with a hammer during an argument.

CNN interviewed nine people who knew Carson during his childhood and who said that the violent incidents did not fit their recollections of him.

Carson said CNN did not speak with the right people. “I was generally a nice person,” he told the network. “It’s just that I had a very bad temper. So unless you were the victim of that temper, why would you know?”

It was an unusually odd situation: a presidential candidate insisting, in the face of skepticism, that he really did have a history of violence.

The part of Carson’s life at issue Friday — the “offer” he got, or did not get, from West Point — is a story that Carson has told repeatedly in books, interviews and speeches.

He tells it in the context of his rapid rise through high school Army ROTC, which ended with him as the top-ranking cadet in Detroit.

“I was offered a full scholarship to West Point,” Carson wrote in his 1990 memoir, “Gifted Hands.” “I didn’t refuse the scholarship outright, but I let them know that a military career wasn’t where I saw myself going. As overjoyed as I felt to be offered such a scholarship, I wasn’t really tempted. The scholarship would have obligated me to spend four years in military service after I finished college, precluding my chances to go on to medical school.”

In that account and others, Carson seems to rely on loose, broad definitions for the words “offer” and “scholarship.”

In fact, applicants to West Point must be sponsored by a member of Congress or the secretary of the Army. If accepted, they attend tuition-free: There are no “scholarships” at West Point beyond the benefits that all cadets get.

Doug Watts, a spokesman for Carson’s campaign, said Carson never completed the process for acceptance by West Point and never had an official sponsor. Indeed, in “Gifted Hands,” Carson makes clear that he actually applied only to one school: Yale.

“Each college required a ten-dollar non-returnable entrance fee sent with the application,” Carson wrote. “I had exactly ten dollars, so I could apply only to one.”

Still, his campaign spokesman said, it was proper to say Carson had an “offer” of a scholarship because military leaders had told him that his acceptance would be a sure thing.

“He was told by the ROTC commander that he could have an appointment,” Watts said. “Dr. Carson rejected the offer, did not apply or pursue admission. Had he done so, and been accepted, that would have been tantamount to a scholarship, the same that all cadets receive.”

In one of his books, Carson also made a similar claim about a scholarship offer from another school.

“The University of Michigan had offered me a scholarship, but I wanted to go farther from home,” he wrote in his 1999 book, “The Big Picture.”

A spokesman for the University of Michigan, Rick Fitzgerald, said he could not confirm that account. The university no longer has records from that time. Carson’s camp said the scenario was similar to that involving West Point: He had decided to apply elsewhere and never submitted an application.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/newly-minted-frontrunner-ben-carson-faces-new-scrutiny-of-his-life-story/2015/11/06/8877e032-84b8-11e5-8ba6-cec48b74b2a7_story.html

Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied

Republican hits POLITICO story, later admits to The New York Times he wasn’t offered aid.

11/06/15 11:29 AM EST

Updated 11/06/15 03:42 PM EST

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Friday conceded that he never applied nor was granted admission to West Point and attempted to recast his previous claims of a full scholarship to the military academy — despite numerous public and written statements to the contrary over the last few decades.

West Point has occupied a central place in Carson’s personal story for years. According to a tale told in his book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by the offer of a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

Story Continued Below

West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.

“In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” said Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy. She said West Point has no records that indicate Carson even began the application process. “If he chose to pursue (the application process), then we would have records indicating such,” she said.

When presented by POLITICO with these facts, Carson’s campaign conceded he never applied.

“Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit,” campaign manager Barry Bennett wrote in an email to POLITICO. “In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.”

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Bennett added. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.”

In an interview with The New York Times following the POLITICO story, Mr. Carson said: “I don’t remember all the specific details. Because I had done so extraordinarily well you know I was told that someone like me – they could get a scholarship to West Point. But I made it clear I was going to pursue a career in medicine.”

“It was, you know, an informal ‘with a record like yours we could easily get you a scholarship to West Point.’”

Carson would have needed to seek admission in order to receive an offer of free education from West Point. Also, according to West Point, there is no such thing as a “full scholarship” to the military academy, as Carson represented in his book.

An application to West Point begins with a nomination by a member of Congress or another prominent government or military official. After that, a rigorous vetting process begins. If offered admission, all costs are covered for all students; indeed there are no “full scholarships,” per se.

The statement from Carson’s campaign manager on Friday went on to say: “There are ‘Service Connected’ nominations for stellar High School ROTC appointments. Again he was the top ROTC student in Detroit. I would argue strongly that an Appointment is indeed an amazing full scholarship. Having ran several Congressional Offices I am very familiar with the Nomination process.

“Again though his Senior Commander was in touch with West Point and told Dr. Carson he could get in, Dr. Carson did not seek admission.”

Ben Carson has repeatedly claimed he was offered a full scholarship from West Point. He conveys the story in at least two other books, “You Have a Brain” and “Take the Risk.” Carson repeated his West Point claim as recently as Aug. 13, when he fielded questions from supporters on Facebook.

And in October, Carson shared the story with Charlie Rose: “I had a goal of achieving the office of city executive officer [in JROTC]. Well, no one had ever done that in that amount of time … Long story short, it worked, I did it. I was offered full scholarship to West Point, got to meet General Westmoreland, go to Congressional Medal dinners, but decided really my pathway would be medicine.”

The Carson campaign pushed back against POLTICO’s story after its publication, with Carson himself telling Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The Brody File” that the media “will go through all lengths trying to discredit me.” According to a tweet from the show, Carson said, of the mainstream media, “they’ll ask my kindergarten teacher, ‘did I ever wet my pants.’”

The concession from Carson’s campaign comes as serious questions about other points of fact in Carson’s personal narrative are questioned, including the seminal episode in which he claimed to have attempted to stab a close friend. Similarly, details have emerged that cast doubt on the nature of Carson’s encounter with one of the most prominent military men of that era.

The West Point spokeswoman said it certainly is possible Carson talked with Westmoreland, and perhaps the general even encouraged him to apply to West Point. However, she said, the general would have explained the benefits of a West Point education without guaranteeing him entry.

In “Gifted Hands,” Carson says he excelled in his ROTC program at Detroit’s Southwestern High School, earning the respect of his superiors — just a couple years after anger problems led him to try to murder a friend. He attained the rank of second lieutenant by his senior year of high school and became the student leader of the city’s ROTC programs.

In May of his senior year, he was chosen to march in the city’s Memorial Day parade.

“I felt so proud, my chest bursting with ribbons and braids of every kind. To make it more wonderful, we had important visitors that day. Two soldiers who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Viet Nam were present,” he wrote. “More exciting to me, General William Westmoreland (very prominent in the Viet Nam war) attended with an impressive entourage. Afterward, Sgt. Hunt” — his high school ROTC director — “introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”

But, according to records of Westmoreland’s schedule that were provided by the U.S. Army, the general did not visit Detroit around Memorial Day in 1969 or have dinner with Carson. In fact, the general’s records suggest he was in Washington that day and played tennis at 6:45 p.m.

There are, however, several reports of an event in February of that year, similar to the one Carson described. Then, Westmoreland was the featured guest at a 1,500-person banquet to celebrate Medal of Honor recipient Dwight Johnson. The event drew prominent guests, including the governor at the time, the mayor of Detroit, the president of Ford Motor Company and nine previous Medal of Honor awardees, according to an Associated Press account of the event.

Carson, a leader of the city’s ROTC program at the time, may have been among the invited guests at the $10-a-plate event.

Carson’s later retelling of the events in this period of his life downplays his meeting with Westmoreland and that event’s link to a West Point acceptance. In his January 2015 book, “You Have a Brain,” — a book geared toward teenagers — Carson again recalls his rapid rise through his high school ROTC program to become the top student officer in the city.

“That position allowed me the chance to meet four-star general William Westmoreland, who had commanded all American forces in Vietnam before being promoted to Army Chief of Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.,” he wrote. “I also represented the Junior ROTC at a dinner for Congressional Medal of Honor winners, marched at the front of Detroit’s Memorial Day parade as head of an ROTC contingent, and was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”

Carson has said he turned down the supposed offer of admission because he knew he wanted to be a doctor and attending West Point would have required four years of military service after graduation.

Cecil Murphey, who ghostwrote “Gifted Hands,” told POLITICO that his memory of Carson’s exchange with Westmoreland was hazy.

“My gut response is that it was not a private meeting, but there were others there,” he said in an email. “The general took a liking to Ben and opened doors.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/ben-carson-west-point-215598#ixzz3qkUVQcJd

Ben Carson admits he lied about West Point scholarship, insists stories about troubled childhood are true

BY MEG WAGNER

Ben Carson admitted Friday that he lied about earning a prestigious scholarship to West Point while controversy over the validity of his troubled kid-to-renowned doctor narrative reached a crescendo.

The 2016 GOP candidate said he fabricated a part of his 1996 autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” in which he claimed he was given a “full scholarship” to the U.S. Military Academy just hours after he rebuked accusations that he lied about his violent outbursts as a child and teenager.

In the nearly 20-year-old book, Carson boasted about his transformation from rage-filled boy to refined neurosurgeon, describing how he once tried to hit his mother with a hammer and attempted to stab one of his friends to death.

His former classmates, however, said they don’t remember the Republican as a rough kid.

BEN CARSON STILL THINKS JOSEPH BUILT PYRAMIDS TO STORE GRAIN 

“I don’t know nothing about that,” Gerald Ware, Carson’s classmate at Detroit’s Southwestern High School, told CNN. “It would have been all over the whole school.”

PHOTO TAKEN OCT. 28, 2015BRENNAN LINSLEY/AP

Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson claimed in his 1996 book that he had a violent childhood full of moments of ‘pathological anger.’

CNN spoke with nine people Carson grew up with. Not one remembered the Republican’s self-proclaimed violent outbursts.

While Carson slammed the CNN report, calling it a “bunch of lies” and “pathetic,” he did admit that there is at least one falsehood in the book: A story about how Gen. William Westmoreland offered the then-17-year-old a full-ride to West Point.

Carson said that as the leader of his high school’s Junior ROTC program, he attended a 1969 Memorial Day dinner for Congressional Medal of Honor winners. There, he met with General Westmoreland.

“Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point,” he wrote.

BEN CARSON OVERTAKES TRUMP IN NATIONAL POLLING AVERAGE 

Carson may have met Westmoreland at the 1969 banquet — which was held in February, not May — but the general would not have promised the student a scholarship, West Point told POLITICO. All costs are covered for admitted West Point students, so “full ride” scholarships don’t exist.

Carson was “introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors” at a banquet, Carson’s campaign manager Barry Bennett said. While they may have discussed application process, Carson never applied or received a scholarship.

Instead, he attended Yale University before going on to the University of Michigan’s medical school.

West Point said it has no records of Carson applying to or enrolling in the academy.

Carson admitted he “doesn’t remember all the specific details” of meeting Westmoreland.

Ben Carson’s Violent Childhood Called Into Question as Classmates Don’t Remember
NY Daily News

“Because I had done so extraordinarily well you know I was told someone like me – they could get a scholarship to West Point,” Carson told the New York Times.

Despite the scholarship lie, Carson defended the rest of the book Friday, saying all the stories about his violent childhood are true.

In the 19-year-old book, Carson claimed he once tried to strike his mother with a hammer as they argued over clothing. His brother Curtis stepped in and disarmed the boy before he could physically harm their mother.

Carson also said he physically attacked at least two of his school friends.

In the seventh grade he hit a boy named Jerry with a lock after he teased Carson for saying something “stupid” in English class.

Carson wrote that he was given a MIKE GROLL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Carson wrote that he was given a “full scholarship” to West Point.

“I swung at him, lock in hand. The blow slammed into his forehead, and he groaned, staggering backward, blood seeping from a three-inch gash,” Carson wrote.

Two years later, in the ninth grade, he tried to stab a friend who he identified in the book only as “Bob.” The blade stuck Bob’s belt buckle, breaking the blade and leaving the teen unharmed.

“I was trying to kill somebody,” Carson wrote of the knife attack, calling it a moment of “pathological anger.”

The teenage Carson ran to the bathroom after the failed stabbing and prayed. Since then, he has never had a problem with his temper, he claimed in the book.

Carson’s classmates remembered him as introverted and studious — someone who was more likely to be found in the library than in the middle of a schoolyard fight.

Carson's classmates have described him as a quiet, shy student, not an angry young man.

Carson’s classmates have described him as a quiet, shy student, not an angry young man.

“He was a quiet, shy kid, not too outgoing,” said his junior high and high school classmate Jerry Dixon. “Bennie stayed home a lot or went to the library to work.”

Dixon said he is not the Jerry the doctor-turned-politician beat with a lock — and said he had never even heard of such an incident.

Carson refused to reveal the names of his victims in a Friday interview on CNN, saying to name them would be “victimizing.”

He admitted that he changed the names in his autobiography, but maintained both “Bob” and “Jerry” are real people who will only be identified if they chose to come forward on their own.

“Tell me what makes you think you’re going to find those specific people?” Carson asked CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “What is your methodology? Because I don’t understand it.”

Carson’s campaign adviser Armstrong Williams also refused to identify the candidate’s alleged victims or provide any kind of documentation showing disciplinary actions for his claimed school fights.

“Why would anyone cooperate with your obvious witch hunt?” Armstrong Williams wrote to CNN in an email last week, the day before Halloween. “No comment and moving on…… Happy Halloween!!!!!”

Donald Trump quickly weighed in on his rival’s controversy.

“The Carson story is either a total fabrication or, if true, even worse-trying to hit mother over the head with a hammer or stabbing friend!” he tweeted Thursday.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ben-carson-violent-childhood-called-question-article-1.2425591

Ben Carson Says He Was Never Accepted to West Point

Photo
Ben Carson prepared to board his campaign bus after appearing at a book signing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday.

Ben Carson prepared to board his campaign bus after appearing at a book signing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday.Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A report on Friday said Ben Carson had acknowledged never having applied to West Point, raising questions about his repeated assertions that he had turned down a scholarship to attend the military academy.

According to the report, in Politico, West Point had no record that Mr. Carson, who has been leading in some national polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, had applied. When Politico approached Mr. Carson’s campaign with the information, his campaign manager, Barry Bennett, in a statement, explained that Mr. Carson had considered an offer to receive help getting an appointment to the academy, but he did not apply.

In repeated references to West Point over the years, Mr. Carson has strongly implied that he had a standing offer to attend.

In his statement, Mr. Bennett said, “Dr. Carson was the top R.O.T.C. student in the City of Detroit.”

Referring to Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the Army chief of staff at the time, Mr. Bennett added: “In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as R.O.T.C. city executive officer.”

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his R.O.T.C. supervisors,” Mr. Bennett said. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in R.O.T.C. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.”

In an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Mr. Carson said: “I don’t remember all the specific details. Because I had done so extraordinarily well you know I was told that someone like me – they could get a scholarship to West Point. But I made it clear I was going to pursue a career in medicine.”

“It was, you know, an informal ‘with a record like yours we could easily get you a scholarship to West Point.’”

Mr. Carson has recounted the episode of being offered a scholarship at various points in telling his triumphant personal story. (Technically, West Point does not offer scholarships; it is free to attend.)

In his recent book, “You Have a Brain,” Mr. Carson described how he decided which college to attend: “I still had the scholarship offer from West Point as a result of my R.O.T.C. achievements.”

More recently, in a Facebook post in August responding to a question, he wrote that he had been “thrilled to get an offer from West Point.”

“But I knew medicine is what I wanted to do. So I applied to only one school. (it was all the money I had). I applied to Yale and thank God they accepted me. I often wonder what might have happened had they said no.”

The revelation came just a couple of days after a CNN report questioned the accuracy of Mr. Carson’s accounts of violent episodes in his youth, which are central to his often-told story of personal redemption through faith and hard work, one that has made him a favorite of evangelical Christian voters. On Friday, shortly before the Politico report was published, Mr. Carson attacked the CNN report as a “bunch of lies.”

http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/11/06/ben-carson-west-point/

Ben Carson defends his telling of an informal offer from West Point

By David Weigel

Ben Carson defended his long-told story of a “scholarship” to West Point today, responding to scrutiny by saying that he merely had received an “informal” offer of a free ride to the military academy.

“Because I had done so extraordinarily well you know I was told that someone like me [could] get a scholarship to West Point,” Carson told the New York Times. “It was, you know, an informal ‘with a record like yours we could easily get you a scholarship to West Point.'”

Allies of the former neurosurgeon, who has slowly risen to the top of 2016 Republican primary polls, had been making a similar case all day. The argument — which depends on a careful parsing of verbs — is that he never applied, even after being told he’d be a sure-thing candidate. The point, which found many takers in conservative media, was that the controversy could be dismissed as a witch hunt.

That reasoning came together Friday morning, after Politico published a story titled “Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.” After confirming that Carson had never applied to West Point, and that a meeting Carson described with Gen. William Westmoreland apparently did not happen when the candidate had claimed, the story quoted Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett’s new explanation.

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Bennett said. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.”

[The Fix: Ben Carson didn’t get a ‘full scholarship’ from West Point. That’s a big problem for his campaign.]

West Point cadets must be sponsored by a member of Congress or the Secretary of the Army. But Doug Watts, a spokesman for the campaign, said that Carson never completed — nor claimed to have completed — the process for acceptance into West Point, and those never had an official sponsor.

“He was told by the ROTC Commander that he could have an appointment,” explained Watts. “Dr. Carson rejected the offer, did not apply or pursue admission. Had he done so, and been accepted, that would have been tantamount to a scholarship, the same that all cadets receive.”

In an interview, Carson’s close friend Armstrong Williams argued that Politico had written a false headline off of Bennett’s accurate quote.

“In the story itself, the campaign does not say Dr. Carson applied to West Point,” Williams said of Politico. “Dr. Carson boasts about his scores in ROTC. Westmoreland encourages him to apply. As Dr. Carson says, they were impressed by his scores, but he never applied. They said to him, we could get you in. This guy got into Yale — obviously he could have got in. The headline was a fabrication.”

Carson, whose steady rise to the top of presidential primary polls has started to draw media scrutiny his way, is depending on a loose interpretation of the word “scholarship.” There is no tuition at West Point; there is no equivalent of a “scholarship” as generally understood at most universities. In his memoir “Gifted Hands” and in anecdotes about the offer, Carson never says that he “applied,” only that some “scholarship” came his way after a meeting with Westmoreland and “congressional medal winners.”

“I was offered a full scholarship to West Point,” Carson wrote. “I didn’t refuse the scholarship outright, but I let them know that a military career wasn’t where I saw myself going. As overjoyed as I felt to be offered such a scholarship, I wasn’t really tempted. The scholarship would have obligated me to spend four years in military service after I finished college, precluding my chances to go on to medical school.”

That description of the offer came with its own problems — it is not, for example, impossible for a West Point graduate to complete his service, then become a doctor. But Carson’s allies insist that the gap between “applying” and being offered a “scholarship” debunks the Politico story. Indeed, in “Gifted Hands,” Carson repeatedly described how he had only $10 to submit with a college application, limiting his choices.

“Each college required a ten-dollar non-returnable entrance fee sent with the application,” Carson wrote. “I had exactly ten dollars, so I could apply only to one.”

In an August 2015 Facebook post, Carson described that situation again, to tell a questioner that he applied only to Yale.

“I was the highest student ROTC member in Detroit and was thrilled to get an offer from West Point,” wrote Carson. “But I knew medicine is what I wanted to do. So I applied to only one school. (It was all the money I had). I applied to Yale and thank God they accepted me.”

Williams, who had not spoken to Carson since Politico’s story went online, insisted that it was “shoddy journalism” and oversold what Carson himself had claimed.

“It gives journalism a bad name,” said Williams. “It only fits into Dr. Carson’s narrative of a witch hunt.”

On Friday afternoon, conservative talkers like Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, and Sean Hannity criticized the coverage that had made Carson out as a dissembler. But at least one of his rivals sense a political opportunity in the scrum.

“Well, I think it’s really the beginning of the end,” said Donald Trump in an interview.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/11/06/ben-carsons-allies-defend-west-point-story-he-got-an-offer-did-not-apply/

Ben Carson’s ‘West Point’ story isn’t totally accurate. Here’s why that could be a problem.

By Chris Cillizza

Ben Carson’s admission Friday to Politico that he had not been offered and accepted a full scholarship to West Point could be a major problem for a presidential candidate whose appeal is almost entirely built on his remarkable personal story.

In two of his books — the popular “Gifted Hands” as well as a newer book entitled “You Have a Brain” — Carson tells the West Point story as part of his aspirational life that began in poverty in Detroit and continued through a decorated career as a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon.

Now we know that story is, at best, somewhat misleading. It is of course possible that Carson was either led to believe he might have been given a scholarship to the military academy if he had applied or simply misunderstood a conversation he participated in. That is the direction the Carson team appears to be headed, saying in a statement of his meeting with then-Gen. William Westmoreland: “He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.”

Regardless of whether the West Point story is a simple misunderstanding or something more nefarious, what it will do is raise this simple question: What else in Ben Carson’s remarkable biography might not be totally, 100 percent accurate?

Even before the West Point story broke, Carson was dealing with suggestions that his recounting of his tough childhood highlighted by a terrible temper and a series of altercations with his mother — among other people — might not be true.

CNN report, which was based on interviews with nine people who knew Carson as a young man, argues that the violent portrait he paints of himself doesn’t jibe with the person they knew. “All of the people interviewed expressed surprise about the incidents Carson has described,” reads the CNN story. “No one challenged the stories directly. Some of those interviewed expressed skepticism, but noted that they could not know what had happened behind closed doors.”

Carson spent Thursday insisting that the people who were directly involved in these purported attacks weren’t the people that CNN had spoken to and, therefore, the report had no merit.

Now, with the West Point story raging, Carson will come under even more pressure to explain some of the fuzzier parts of his personal biography. And if any other inconsistencies or outright falsehoods come out amid that heightened scrutiny, it could spell curtains for a Carson campaign that has just moved into the pole position in the Republican primary race.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/11/06/ben-carson-didnt-get-a-full-scholarship-west-point-thats-a-big-problem-for-his-campaign/

With question over West Point offer, Ben Carson feels the glare of the front-runner’s spotlight

Timothy M. Phelps

retired Baltimore neurosurgeon Ben Carson has reached the top in several recent national polls, he is also experiencing new scrutiny as a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

On Friday, his name dominated political news with a Politico report that his campaign “admits fabricating a West Point scholarship” in his autobiography, though that reference was later taken out of the story. The story also quoted a West Point spokeswoman as saying the famous military academy had no record of an application from Carson.

Barry Bennett, Carson’s campaign manager, said in an interview that Carson’s book,“Gifted Hands,” was accurate when Carson wrote, “I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”

“I would not have used the word ‘full scholarship.’ I would have said ‘nomination,’ but it’s not a fabrication, it’s not a lie,” Bennett said in an interview. At West Point, tuition and other expenses are paid by the government.

Bennett said that Carson, who he said was the top high school Junior ROTC officer in Detroit, was offered a nomination to West Point by ROTC officials in the city. He said he did not have names, but that the campaign and others are trying to locate them to corroborate Carson’s story.

Later, Carson told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that his account of the West Point episode “could have been more clarified. I told it as I understood it.”

Also, Theresa Brinkerhoff, the chief of media relations at West Point, said that a comment she made to Politico was “misconstrued.”

Politico wrote that West Point had no record of Carson applying to the academy, but Brinkerhoff said in an interview that the academy does not keep records beyond three years if a candidate does not attend the school. The academy has no way of knowing whether Carson applied, Brinkerhoff said.

In the end, Bennett confirmed that Carson had not applied. In his book, Carson wrote that he never had any interest in any career other than medicine. “I remembered the scholarship offer from West Point. A teaching career? Business? None of these areas held any real interest,” he said.

Clearly, however, Carson has left an impression that the offer to go to the academy came from West Point itself. On Facebook in August, Carson took a question from someone named Bill, who “wanted to know if it was true that I was offered a slot at West Point after high school. Bill, that is true. I was the highest student ROTC member in Detroit and was thrilled to get an offer from West Point. But I knew medicine is what I wanted to do. So I applied to only one school.”

Carson went to Yale.

Carson was also involved in a contentious interview Friday morning on CNN. Anchor Alisyn Camerota badgered him about reports by the network that it had been unable to locate some childhood friends or family members Carson mentions having assaulted in his autobiography.

In his book, Carson says he once tried to stab a person he refers to as Bob. On Friday, Carson told CNN that person was really a family member by another name who did not want to be identified. Other childhood friends mentioned in the book could decide for themselves whether to come forward, he said.

Bennett said the political attacks were a function of national polls over the past week showing him ahead of Donald Trump and all other Republicans for the nomination.

“Somewhere, there is a panicked candidate running for the Republican presidential nomination who is spreading a lot of dirt,” Bennett said.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-ben-carson-20151106-story.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 561, October 26, 2015, Story 1: Part 2: The Decline and Fall Of The Democratic Party Under Liar In Chief Obama — Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in 2016 Presidential Election — Two Party Tyranny — What Difference Does It Make? — Donor Class Wins No Matter Who Wins — Make America Great Again! –Videos

Posted on October 26, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Banking System, Ben Carson, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Computers, Crime, Culture, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Eugenics, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Legal Immigration, Media, News, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Private Sector Unions, Progressives, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Social Networking, Social Security, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Part 2: The Decline and Fall Of The Democratic Party Under Liar In Chief Obama — Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in 2016 Presidential Election — Two Party Tyranny — What Difference Does It Make? — Donor Class Wins No Matter Who Wins — Make America Great Again! –Videos

Obama-is-pathological-liar  liars four americans diedBenghaziDied

epa03398098 US President Barack Obama (2-L) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (3-R) take part in the Transfer of Remains Ceremony marking the return to the United States of the remains of the four Americans killed this week in Benghazi, Libya, at Joint Base Andrews in Washington DC, USA, 14 September 2012. Gunmen attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, killing of US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three embassy staffs. EPA/MOLLY RILEY / POOL

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The Center for Immigration Studies hosted a discussion at the National Press Club focusing on two reports on immigration and welfare. The Center’s first report focuses on welfare use by immigrant and native-born housholds, the second report separates welfare use by legal and illegal households. Two nationally recognized policy experts, along with the Center’s director of research and author of the report, discussed immigrant welfare use at the panel.

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Obama Job Approval Steady in 27th Quarter at 45.9%

Obama Job Approval Steady in 27th Quarter at 45.9%
by Jeffrey M. Jones

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Average 45.9% approval similar to 46.1% in prior quarter
  • Obama has been under 50% approval for most of his presidency
  • Approval midrange compared with other presidents’ 27th quarters

PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in his 27th quarter in office, from July 20 to Oct. 19, averaged 45.9%, essentially unchanged from his 46.1% average for the prior quarter.

President Barack Obama's Quarterly Job Approval Averages

Obama’s daily approval ratings also varied little within his most recent quarter, averaging 46% nearly every week during the quarter. There were just two modest but notable exceptions. In late August, as U.S. stocks fell in response to concerns about problems in the Chinese economy, his weekly approval rating dipped to 44%. And in late September it rose to 48% during the week of Pope Francis’ U.S. trip, which included a widely covered visit with Obama at the White House.

Since he became president nearly seven years ago, Obama has averaged 47% job approval. There have been only five quarters when he had majority approval, with four of those occurring during the first year of his presidency, the so-called “honeymoon phase” when new presidents tend to be rated positively. The only other time Obama’s quarterly approval exceeded 50% was perhaps the most consequential one — the 16th quarter, in which he was re-elected.

Obama’s 27th Quarter Midrange Compared With Other Presidents

Obama is the sixth post-World War II president to serve a 27th quarter in office. Two of these — Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton — were rated quite positively at this stage in their presidencies, with average approval ratings of 65.3% and 59.7%, respectively.

In contrast, Harry Truman (23.0%) and George W. Bush (33.2%) were decidedly unpopular at the same point of their presidencies. Truman’s 27th quarter average is the worst quarterly average for any president in Gallup’s polling history.

Obama’s 27th quarter average, along with Ronald Reagan’s, is between these two extremes. Reagan averaged 47.0% approval, slightly better than Obama’s 45.9%.

Job Approval Averages for Presidents During Their 27th Quarter in Office

After presidents have served nearly seven years in office, Americans’ opinions of them are pretty well-established and unlikely to change unless a major international or domestic crisis occurs. Clinton’s and Bush’s approval ratings did not change between their 27th and 28thquarters. Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan saw modest improvements of a few percentage points.

Implications

Americans’ opinions of Obama have been steady this year, holding near 46%. If his approval ratings do not improve dramatically during the remainder of his presidency, his full-term approval rating average, currently 47%, will rank among the lowest for post-World War II presidents, tied with Gerald Ford’s and better than only Truman’s (45.4%) and Jimmy Carter’s (45.5%).

Obama’s relatively low approval ratings may be as much a function of the era in which he is governing as it is a reflection on his leadership, management and decision-making. There have been relatively few international crises that helped to boost his public support, as the 9/11 attacks and Iraq War did for Bush, and as similar crises have done for other presidents. Arguably the only “rally event” in Obama’s presidency was the capture of Osama bin Laden. Obama also took office during the Great Recession, and the economic recovery since it ended has been slow and uneven.

But Obama is also governing in a time of extreme partisan polarization. In Congress, that has meant political gridlock since Democrats lost control of the U.S. House in the 2010 midterm elections. In the American public, it is evident in his historically low support from the opposition party. Obama’s average 13% approval rating among Republicans is on pace to be the lowest job approval rating from the opposition party by a full 10 percentage points, behind Bush’s average 23% approval rating among Democrats. By comparison, Clinton averaged 27% approval among Republicans, and presidents before Clinton averaged 40% approval from the opposition.

These data are available inGallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 20-Oct. 19, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 45,663 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/186335/obama-job-approval-steady-27th-quarter.aspx?g_source=Politics&g_medium=newsfeed&g_campaign=tiles

In U.S., New Record 43% Are Political Independents

by Jeffrey M. Jones

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Record 43% of Americans are political independents
  • Democrats maintain edge among those with a party preference
  • Democratic advantage smaller in 2014 than in 2013

PRINCETON, N.J. — An average 43% of Americans identified politically as independents in 2014, establishing a new high in Gallup telephone poll trends back to 1988. In terms of national identification with the two major parties, Democrats continued to hold a modest edge over Republicans, 30% to 26%.

U.S. Party Identification, Yearly Averages, 1988-2014

Since 2008, the percentage of political independents — those who identify as such before their leanings to the two major parties are taken into account — has steadily climbed from 35% to the current 43%, exceeding 40% each of the last four years. Prior to 2011, the high in independent identification was 39% in 1995 and 1999.

The recent rise in political independence has come at the expense of both parties, but more among Democrats than among Republicans. Over the last six years, Democratic identification has fallen from 36% — the highest in the last 25 years — to 30%. Meanwhile, Republican identification is down from 28% in 2008 to 26% last year.

The latest results are based on aggregated data from 15 separate Gallup telephone polls conducted throughout 2014.

These changes have left both parties at or near low points in the percentage who identify themselves as core supporters of the party. Although the party identification data compiled in telephone polls since 1988 are not directly comparable to the in-person polling Gallup collected before then, the percentages identifying as Democrats prior to 1988 were so high that it is safe to say the average 30% identifying as Democrats last year is the lowest since at least the 1950s.

Republican identification, at 26%, is a shade higher than the 25% in 2013. Not since 1983, the year before Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election victory, have fewer Americans identified as Republicans.

The decline in identification with both parties in recent years comes as dissatisfaction with government has emerged as one of the most important problems facing the country, according to Americans. This is likely due to the partisan gridlock that has come from divided party control of the federal government. Trust in the government to handle problems more generally is the lowest Gallup has measured to date, and Americans’ favorable ratings of both parties are at or near historical lows. Thus, the rise in U.S. political independence likely flows from the high level of frustration with the government and the political parties that control it.

Democrats’ Edge in Party Identification and Leaning Shrinks

Although independents claim no outright allegiance to either major party, it is well-known that they are not necessarily neutral when it comes to politics. When pressed, most independents will say they lean to one of the two major parties. For example, last year an average of 17% of Americans who initially identified as independents subsequently said they “leaned” Republican, 15% were independents who leaned Democratic, with the remaining 11% not expressing a leaning to either party.

Since partisan leaners often share similar attitudes to those who identify with a party outright, the relative proportions of identifiers plus leaners gives a sense of the relative electoral strength of the two political parties, since voting decisions almost always come down to a choice of the two major-party candidates. In 2014, an average 45% of Americans identified as Democrats or said they were Democratic-leaning independents, while 42% identified as Republicans or were Republican-leaning independents.

That the three-point Democratic edge was down from six points in 2013, and among Democrats’ smaller advantages the past 25 years. Democrats usually hold an advantage in this combined measure of party affiliation. In fact, the only year Republicans held a notable edge since Gallup began tracking independents’ political leanings was in 1991, the year Republican President George H.W. Bush’s approval ratings soared after the United States’ victory in the Persian Gulf War. Democrats’ high point came in 2008, in the final year of George W. Bush’s administration and the year Barack Obama was first elected president.

U.S. Party Identification (Including Independent Leanings), Annual Averages, Gallup Polls, 1991-2014

However, the three-point Democratic advantage for all of 2014 obscures the change that occurred during the year. On a quarterly basis, Democrats started out 2014 with a five-point edge, similar to their advantage in 2013. That dipped to two points by the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, likely in response to Republicans’ success in the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans held a slight advantage of one point.

Party Identification (Including Independent Leanings), Quarterly Averages, 2014

Implications

Since 2008, Americans have been increasingly reluctant to identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party, and now a record 43% claimed political independence in 2014. Given historical trends, 2015 could bring a new record, as the percentage identifying as independents typically increases in the year before a presidential election, averaging a 2.5-point increase in the last six such years.

Although Democrats typically have an advantage in partisanship, that edge shrunk in 2014 and in the last months of the year the parties were essentially on equal footing. With each party controlling part of the federal government — Democrats the presidency and Republicans the Congress — they each will have a say in how the nation addresses its major challenges in the coming year. However, in recent years divided control of government has more often than not resulted in partisan gridlock, and Americans’ frustration with the frequent political stalemate is evident. Continued frustration with the government would likely encourage more Americans to identify as independents this year.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted January-December 2014, with a combined random sample of 16,479 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Poll Social Series works.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/180440/new-record-political-independents.aspx

New Emails Reveal Obama White House Worked on Concocting Benghazi Lie DURING the Attacks

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said on Thursday that the Obama White House was contacting YouTube owner Google during the Benghazi terrorist attacks, working on the false narrative even before Americans were out of harm’s way and before the intelligence community examined available evidence.

The still classified Obama State Department email, according to Issa, shows that the Obama White House rushed to settle on the false narrative of the anti-Islamic YouTube video instigating the attacks, which was completely at odds with the conclusions reached by reports from the ground.

This new evidence destroys the Obama White House claims, communicated by Obama spokesman Jay Carney, that the White House obtained the false narrative from CIA talking points, since, according to Congressman Issa, the communication with YouTube was conducted by the Obama White House before  any CIA talking points were concocted.

The subject line of the email, ironically sent at 9:11 p.m. (the attacks took place on 9/11/12) on the night of the attack, was “Update on Response to actions – Libya,” hours before  the attack had ended.

“The e-mail shows the White House had hurried to settle on a false narrative — one at odds with the conclusions reached by those on the ground — before Americans were even out of harm’s way or the intelligence community had made an impartial examination of available evidence,” Issa said.

Issa has called for the Obama White House to declassify the email.

According to Issa, one of the items noted in the email stated, “White House is reaching out to U-Tube [sic] to advise ramifications of the posting of the Pastor Jon video.”

Issa scolded current Secretary of State, Democrat John Kerry, for just now turning over a classified version of the email, some 20 months after the attack, while calling on the regime to release a unclassified copy.

“Unfortunately, Secretary Kerry and the State Department continue to try to keep this information from the public, only turning this document over to Congress last month. While the information I have cited from this email is clearly unclassified, the State Department has attempted to obstruct its disclosure by not providing Congress with an unclassified copy of this document that redacted only classified portions outlining what the Department of Defense and the Secretary of State were doing in response to the attack in Benghazi that night.”

“This tactic prevents the release of the email itself,” said Issa.

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/05/23/new-emails-reveal-obama-white-house-worked-on-concocting-benghazi-lie-during-the-attacks/#ixzz3pQkPlr1D

Paul Ryan officially declares candidacy for House speaker

The Most Likely Next President Is Hillary Clinton

And Republicans are in denial about it.

A virulent strain of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which scientists and Republicans thought had been wiped out at the end of the last century, is now afflicting millions of conservative Americans. Some Republicans so detest Hillary Clinton they are badly underestimating how likely she is, at this point in the campaign, to be America’s 45thpresident. Their denial is just as strong now as it was a month ago, before Clinton began a run of political victories that have enhanced her prospects, all while the roller derby/demolition derby that is the Republican nomination contest has continued to harm the GOP’s chances of winning back the White House.

To be sure, nothing ever happens in a linear or tidy fashion with the Clintons; she is certain to add more chapters to the Perils of Hillary saga before Election Day 2016. Bernie Sanders could still upend her in Iowa, New Hampshire, or both, which could throw the nomination battle into unadulterated bedlam. Even if Clinton is nominated, a strong Republican candidate could absolutely defeat her next November, with victory as simple as the party putting forth a nominee who is more likeable to voters and better on television. Indeed, many elite and grassroots Republicans believe Clinton’s personality, which they can’t stand, will keep her out of the Oval Office no matter what.

But October has been good to Clinton: a glittering debate performance, the decision of potential rival Joe Biden not to run (greatly simplifying her path to the nomination), the vanquishing of Republicans during her daylong Benghazi hearing, and a solid turn at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday night. All have improved Clinton’s odds of cruising into the White House twelve months hence, and have thrown into sharper relief some of the advantages she has had all along.

To state the obvious, Clinton faces two tasks to become commander-in-chief: get enough delegates to beat Sanders and then sew up 270 electoral votes. The more easily she can complete her first mission (especially compared to the wooly nomination battle of her eventual Republican opponent), the more easily achievable will be her second goal.

Here, then, are some of the advantages the Democratic frontrunner has now, many of which have been ignored or discounted by the people who want to beat her so badly they can’t think straight:

Hillary has shown she can handle Bernie Sanders, despite his plucky persona, raw grassroots appeal, and authentic authenticity. The Vegas debate and Clinton’s improved poll standing has given her and her team a revived notion that Sanders will end up a nuisance rather than a real threat. She has confidence she can face him down in the three debates remaining before Iowa. Without Biden in the race, Clinton is not going to have to play three-dimensional chess and can focus her energies on Sanders alone.

Bernie has shown he doesn’t quite understand how to play big moments in the big leagues. First the debate and now the Jefferson-Jackson dinner—Sanders prepared more for both evenings than the organic Vermonter normally would for any political event, but even his advisers concede that neither occasion represented the kind of performance that Sanders will eventually have to present if he is going to stop the prohibitive front-runner. He was very strong Saturday night but aides say they are still having trouble fully convincing him that not all campaign events are created equal.

Hillary Clinton speaks at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. 
Hillary Clinton speaks at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Hillary is getting better at managing (and shaking off) the personal pang of her likability deficit.  At the J-J dinner, in her recent television interviews, and in her Benghazi testimony, she is showing more of her real self (even the all-too-human tetchy, the airily dismissive, the lordly—without knee-jerk defensiveness or wide-eyed guile), and not getting tied in knots over how she is coming off.  While this version of Hillary is still nails-on-a-chalkboard to her conservative critics, it is a huge improvement over the recent past and probably enough to win under the right circumstances.

Biden’s withdrawal means Clinton will lock up even more commitments from the Democratic establishment, giving her even more super delegates and making it easier to bounce back if Sanders wins Iowa, New Hampshire, or both.  I reported in August that Clinton’s camp already had in hand private commitments from enough of the elected and party officials who are automatic delegates to the national convention next summer (so-called super delegates) that she was one fifth of her way to the nomination. That number has increased significantly in recent weeks and will go up now that Biden has passed on the race. This allows Team Clinton to make a robust argument about her inevitability and gives it a squadron of surrogates from the left, center, and right of the Democratic Party to wound Sanders, buck her up if she stumbles, and, eventually, argue that the senator should get out of the competition if she wins early.

Hillary has massive support from labor unions. The party’s most important constituency group in terms of ground troops and campaign resources is now moving decisively towards Clinton, also giving her more working-class cred and undermining one of Sanders’ strongest rhetorical plays—that she is out of tou