Obama’s modern McCarthyism

F. Paul Valone

President, Grass Roots North Carolina

Executive Director, Rights Watch International


-      Trump bites on Obama scheme

-      NC’s law enforcement chief calls for denying due process to citizens


In his speech last night, Barack Hussein Obama continued Democrats’ full-court press in exploiting the San Bernardino slaughter to pass a pre-ordained gun control agenda. Amid Obama’s claims he will “destroy” ISIS, few were surprised to hear him call yet again for banning misnamed “assault weapons” and barring “terrorists” from being able to purchase guns.


But in what is presumably intended as a more attractive pitch for gun control to an American people who have largely rejected it, Obama’s speech was notable for what it lacked: First, unlike other recent statements, he made no mention of “universal background checks” (gun control jargon for universal gun registration, which failed yet again in a Senate vote just last week). Nor did he demand banning guns for those on the Terrorist Watch List, as he and others recently have.


Instead, Obama called for barring gun purchases to the No Fly List, a much smaller subset of the Terrorist Watch List, with the former containing 47,000 names in 2013, and the latter containing 1,000,000 names as far back as 2009. (Doubtless both are much larger now.)


Despite affecting a smaller number of people, however, Obama’s most recent proposal rests on a principle which should be equally unacceptable not only to gun owners but to civil libertarians of any stripe: Namely, restricting gun ownership and individual, enumerated rights under the Second Amendment to people on a secret government list, denied denying them due process of law guaranteed them under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.


Never mind that tens of thousands of people have complained of being incorrectly denied airline transportation due to misidentification (including Senator Ted Kennedy and civil rights attorney David Cole); the fact is that getting onto an airplane isn’t a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. As affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in DC v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, however, gun ownership is. Oh, and lest you think you couldn’t possibly end up on the list, or that such things only apply to other people, I suggest you read “7 Ways You (Yes, You) Could End Up On A Terrorist Watch List.”


America has been down this road before, and it was not a pretty chapter in our history. The widespread violations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties in the late 50s of “subversives” on secret blacklists compiled by the FBI were so shockingly unconstitutional and un-American, the episode earned its own moniker: McCarthyism. Where will the modern McCarthyism Obama proposes stop? Once the government is free to deny one fundamental, enumerated Constitutional right for merely being included on a secret list, are our other cherished freedoms far behind? Free speech? Freedom of religion? History teaches us repeatedly that when governments are free to use of the full powers of the state against those on secret lists, liberty is always a casualty. Due process – notice, an opportunity to be heard, the right to face one’s accuser – has been America’s bulwark against tyranny since the Founders penned the Constitution.


Attractive though some, including Donald Trump, might find it, once we begin down the slippery slope of denying citizens’ civil rights without due process of law, rest assured it will go much further than barring “terrorists” from getting guns.


Trump bites on Obama scheme


Popular with Second Amendment conservatives despite having previously supported semi-auto bans and waiting periods, Donald Trump has repeatedly avowed support for gun rights, calling himself “Second Amendment 100 percent.” In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” however, he expressed support for Obama’s No Fly List proposal, saying: “Well, I'd certainly take a look at it. I would. I'm very strong into the whole thing with Second Amendment -- but if you can't fly, and if you've [sic] got some really bad -- I would certainly look at that very hard.” 


If Trump could support denial of gun rights without due process of law, what other gun controls might he “look at very hard”? In contrast to his fiery rhetoric, are we now finally seeing “The Inner Trump?”


Cooper channels Obama, calls for denying guns to ‘Terrorist Watch List’


Parroting Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and others, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper today issued a press release calling for the General Assembly to pass legislation denying gun purchases for anyone on the Terrorist Watch List, saying: “Stopping terror suspects from getting weapons that could harm our state and its people makes common sense. Even if Washington won't act, we can.” In fact, by barring gun purchases to the 1,000,000+ people on the Terrorist Watch List, Cooper surpasses even Obama’s most recent proposal for denying gun purchases to the much smaller No Fly List.


Given that two Supreme Court cases have affirmed the Second Amendment reinforces an individual right to keep and bear arms, Cooper’s proposal would deny fundamental civil liberties to tens of thousands of North Carolinians who have been convicted of nothing, potentially placed on the list for arbitrary and unfair reasons, and who lack any means of due process or judicial review of their placement on the list. It is likely unconstitutional under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.


To summarize, chief law enforcement official Roy Cooper, who wants to be your governor, would be happy to unconstitutionally deny you your rights under the Second Amendment even if you have been convicted of nothing and given no opportunity for judicial review.

Every Blade of Grass