Dianne Feinstein — more than a sixth grader, less than a Senator doing her duty

As a pensioner, when I’m not blogging, I spend much of my time reading and watching sports on television. But nothing I do these days is more amusing than watching Ted Cruz annoy the legacy Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and cause some of them to betray their foolishness.

The latest victims were Dianne Feinstein and Chairman Patrick Leahy. Feinstein has proposed a ban on 157 different models of assault weapons. Many of them are commonly used, which means that, under the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller, banning them is problematic in terms of the Second Amendment.

Accordingly, Cruz challenged Feinstein as to whether her proposal is consistent with the Second Amendment or would be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The impudence!

Feinstein testily responded:

I am not a sixth grader…Congress is in the business of making the law. The Supreme Court interprets the law. If they strike down the law, they strike down the law.

But if the oath of office Feinstein took has any meaning, she is in the business of supporting and defending the Constitution. And Congress is in the business of making only laws that don’t violate said Constitution. Thus, by refusing to consider the constitutionality of her legislation, Feinstein ignores her sworn duty.

A sixth grader wouldn’t realize this, but an intelligent ninth grader taking a decent course in “Civics” very well might.

In his closing remarks, without mentioning Feinstein, Cruz pointed out that, contrary to what some Senators have suggested, “every member of this body” has “a fundamental obligation” to consider whether legislation before the Senate is constitutional. As he was speaking the cameras caught various Democrats with annoyed or bemused expression.

In addition, the microphones picked up murmurs of discontent. “Thanks for the lecture,” said one Senator. The same member (I think) later muttered, “I’m tired of these condescending [inaudible].”

Eventually, Chairman Leahy attempted to cut Cruz off. With the sarcasm and self-congratulation that, for the crusty old windbag, long ago replaced intelligent argumentation, Leahy thanked Cruz for reminding him of his constiutional duty. He added that he has been meeting that duty for decades, whereas Cruz has been in the Senate somewhat less long.

But Cruz did not make his comment gratuitously; he made it in response to views expressed during the proceeding. Leahy need not have taken Cruz’s reminder personally. But it is probably no coincidence that he did.

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