Constitutional Rights

Government can be freedom’s best friend when it protects citizens’ constitutional rights. Here’s how the Goldwater Institute is ensuring your rights are protected.

<p>Government can be freedom’s best friend when it protects citizens’ constitutional rights. Here’s how the Goldwater Institute is ensuring your rights are protected. </p>

An initiative that would have banned racial and ethnic preferences in Arizona governments will not appear on the ballot this year, but evidence of the need for such action continues to grow with the release today of two studies that document massive racial preferences at the state's two public law schools.

Amidst the jubilation among freedom lovers following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to keep and bear arms, many overlooked a possible huge exception: whether the amendment restricts only national laws (including ordinances passed by the District of Columbia), and not state laws. If so, the celebration was premature.

Arizona's housing market is in a down cycle and Proposition 201, the Homeowners' Bill of Rights, would likely worsen the situation.

In a year in which numerous state ballot initiatives have been criticized as deceptive, at least one measure--Proposition 101, the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act--is exactly what it purports to be: a constitutional insurance policy against socialized medicine.

When initiative petitions were circulated last week to repeal the use of speed-enforcement cameras on the state's highways, among the first to sign was Paul Babeu, the newly elected Pinal County Sheriff.

Babeu thinks the cameras dumb-down law-enforcement. "I've never yet seen a photo-radar camera arrest a drunk driver or arrest a person with a warrant, see if somebody has insurance or just simply give directions to somebody," he explains.

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit, recently wrote that the Supreme Court should have deferred to the political process rather than strike down Washington, D.C.'s gun ban under the Second Amendment. He argued that liberty is diminished by "handing our democratic destiny to the courts," calling for judicial disengagement from divisive constitutional disputes.

But an engaged judiciary is crucial to safeguarding our republic. This is because any guarantee of liberty is meaningless unless someone stands up for it.

The Bill of Rights was ratified on Dec. 15, 1791. Whether through luck or fate, this is perfect timing for recognizing that seminal document, which for more than two centuries has been a lynchpin of human freedom and limits on government power.

A year ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a blockbuster opinion that overturned a gun control regulation on Second Amendment grounds for the first time.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will review that historic decision with oral argument in District of Columbia v. Heller. Meanwhile, an avalanche of 67 amicus briefs, posted at www.dcguncase.com, has produced perhaps the nations best repository of Second Amendment legal scholarship. A Goldwater Institute brief is among them.

Traditionally, gun-rights advocates have extolled liberty. But lately in Arizona, the gun lobby has taken a strange and puzzling U-turn.

Two bills in the Legislature would compel owners of commercial establishments to allow people to bring firearms onto their property. H2474 would force businesses to allow employees and others to bring firearms into their parking lots and garages as long as the cars and guns remain locked.

West Valley Justice of the Peace John Keegan, a former state legislator and Peoria mayor, rocked Arizona's legal world with his recent ruling that the statute authorizing highway speed cameras is "unconstitutional and unenforceable within the jurisdiction of this court."

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