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Member Questions of the Week of August 9, 2010

Thomas Stown of Kingman, AZ asks: “Why don’t you investigate and explore the nationwide rampant voter fraud and how to prevent it? Like in ACORN … ”
OUR ANSWER: You’re right that voter fraud remains a cause for concern. That’s why we invited David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief to present this week at The Heritage Foundation Bloggers Briefing. ACU recently launched a new projectACU ACORN Action — to track and expose former ACORN leaders and current ACORN spin-offs. “It is clear that ACORN is not dead; it is merely playing dead,” Keene said. “ACORN’s leaders will claim that they are being maligned, but where there is smoke there is fire. ACORN has been accused of voter fraud, misusing taxpayer funds and other illegal activities. We will seek to hold those accountable who might engage in these activities.” Visit http://thebloggersbriefing.com at noon today to listen live to Keene and MonCrief. Their presentation will be archived on The Bloggers Briefing website for future reference, as well.

Philip Hosey of Dickinson, TX asks: “How will the appointment of Ms. Kagan affect our rights under the Second Amendment?”
OUR ANSWER: Supreme Court appointment Elena Kagan has said that her entire life provides an indication of what kind of a justice she will be. If that’s the case, citizens have a right to worry about whether she will uphold their Second Amendment rights. According to this commentary by Heritage experts Robert Alt and Deborah O’Malley, Kagan’s record on gun rights is not exactly reassuring.  As a Supreme Court law clerk, she recommended that her boss, Justice Thurgood Marshall, reject a litigant’s claim that the District of Columbia’s ban on firearms violated his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Her justification for that recommendation? She was “not sympathetic.” Her terse dismissal of the litigant’s claim offered no legal argument. When she worked in the Clinton White House, she was intimately involved in the development of gun-control policies. Specifically, she worked to reclassify certain hunting rifles as “assault weapons” and to ban their importation. During her hearing, Kagan declined to further articulate her views on the Second Amendment. As Alt and O’Malley write, “Given that the court will likely review gun regulations in the future – regulations that may place serious undue burdens on this right – her previous actions and reticence during the hearing are troubling.” To learn more, listen to Heritage expert Hans Von Spakovsky speak to your question in this video or to researcher Dave Kopel in this video.

Thomas Alling of Bulverde, TX asks: “What are the ramifications of the gay marriage decision in California and does it confer any rights not already available through civil unions?”
OUR ANSWER: As Heritage expert Chuck Donovan writes in this blog post, Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to strike down state constitutional protections for marriage and to invent a spurious federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage is an example of extreme judicial activism. It absolutely does something that civil unions do not: It overrides the will of the people. Judge Walker’s decision is truly an affront to the millions of California voters who approved Proposition 8 in 2008 after months of vigorous public debate. But Walker did even more than ignore millions of California voters. He also ignored the states — 45 in all — that have reaffirmed the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In other words, this decision has implications for more than just the marriage debate. It also says something about this administration’s respect for the federalist system and the opinions of the American people.

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