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by Peter Moskos

May 9, 2014

Republicans against bulletproof vests for cops

The program to buy vests for cops started in 1999 under Clinton and the very pro-police vice president, Al Gore (not that most police officers every thanks either of them). But apparently, say Republicans, it's against the constitution. From USA Today:
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., objected, blocking action on the program, as he did in 2012. Coburn said the Constitution gives the federal government no role in funding local police departments.
...
The bill's supporters include the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff's Association and the National Association of Police Organizations.
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The bill has 26 co-sponsors, but none are Republican.
Just imagine, if you will, the right-wing / Fox News backlash if Obama came out against this. Though maybe Obama should come out against it, just so Republicans would support it...

Why let saving the lives of police officers get in the way of your kookie right-wing ideology? For shame.

13 comments:

Kyle W said...

Why can't the states buy them? That's all they're saying.

PCM said...

And that's an ideological position. An extreme one, to be honest. And because of that position, cops aren't getting vests.

PCM said...

The other thing is that police officers need to stop supporting and voting for these Republicans who talk about law and order and do nothing to support men and women in blue.

bacchys said...

I think we're militarizing the police enough.

For that matter, too many LEO's and LEO agencies are opposed to anyone else having bulletproof vests.

Finally, I agree with them that the Constitution delegates no authority on the Feds to hand out equipment to the states.

Anonymous said...

I think we're militarizing the police enough

Soldiers wear helmets too. Let's not allow anyone to wear helmets because, you know, militarization.

PCM said...

If you think the feds paying for bullet proof vests is a constitutional issue, then I assume you must be against the government's involvement in all extra-constitutional issues: regulating food and drugs, providing student aid, enforcing the Civil Rights Act, the Federal Reserve, hell, people said the New Deal was unconstitutional.

But the Supreme Court has said all of this is OK (and more). And the idea that the Supreme Court can decide such things? Well that was debatable -- back in 1803. Those who want to reopen such settled debates are indeed right-wing kooks, part of an extreme ideology that makes people like Richard Nixon and Ronald Regan look like socialists.

Kyle W said...

Which of those have to do with funding local police departments, and where is that in the Constitution? Or what Supreme Court cases apply to it?

PCM said...

Article 1, section 8. What is known at the "The Necessary and Proper Clause." Congress has the power: "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers."

That generally covers everything.

And then when you combine that with the Commerce Clause (which gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce ... among the several states.” See Wickard v. Filburn (1942) for one of the more interesting decisions), you get things like kidnapping as a federal crime, price control on agriculture, prohibition regulations, The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and even Obamacare.

Regarding the Necessary and Proper Clause, landmark cases include McCulloch vs Maryland (1819) regarding a national bank. U.S. vs Gettysburg Electric (1896) took private land for national park. And more recently U.S. v Comstock (2010) regarding civil commitment of sex offenders.

Both these clauses are in the constitution, even if their use has been expanded (and abused) for centuries. But they are the long-established law of the land.

Giving money to local police departments is not constitutionally debatable. See, for instance, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration of 1968.

Whether or not you think this is good policy, it is not debatable on a constitutional level, as defined by the Supreme Court. We don't have to like Supreme Court decisions, but we all have to abide by them.

There is no debate; thus any debate is the purvey of ideological kooks trying to dismantle the federal government.

Anonymous said...

Ummm did anybody notice that the picture they used for the article was actually a scene from the movie The Happening where a cop shoots himself in the head. Kind of negates the effect.

PCM said...

Now *that's* funny. I had not noticed (or seen the movie.

Anonymous said...

Just because Supreme Courts have decided to ignore the plain meaning of the Constitution does not mean that they are right...they may be able to enforce such travesties with police powers but they are totally wrong all the same and deserve no respect from the People. The 10th Amendment says that any subject not covered elsewhere in the document is solely the province of the states. The corrupt Supremes, in order to stymie cannabis medical use and further empower the jackbooted DEA thugs caging people for treating themselves with a harmless herb, used the Wickard v. Filburn case..about some farmer in the 30's who grew wheat...to decide Raich v. Ashcroft, which allowed the feds to persecute sick and dying people who grew and used weed totally within their state, with no intention and no proof of diversion or interstate commerce...the bastardization of common sense applications of the Constitution for political reasons and due to the ideology of the right wing nutters dominating the high court should make everyone sick.

No wonder this nation is so despised by more cultured and advanced nations, such as northern European ones...we lock up more people than the most repressive nations on earth, and mostly for drug related " crimes "..remember that the Feds have no real historical authority to do so, other than Supreme court drones denying reality and defiling the Constitution to keep the cradle to prison machine well oiled with the lives of the victims of their morally degenerate crimes. The only thing, I am afraid, that will get the police state off our backs is when conditions get so bad that cops and feds especially are more worried about being taken out by armed citizens fed up than they are who is smoking what..real freedom comes from the people taking a stand and showing who is really in charge in this nation..if it does not happen soon we will reap the rewards of trusting the wolves to guard our henhouse..

PCM said...

"Just because Supreme Courts have decided to ignore the plain meaning of the Constitution does not mean that they are right."

You do realize, even if you are right, that this kind of makes you a kook.

Jim Bailey said...

Amen. The law is what SCOTUS says it is at that point in time. It may not be right but it is the law.