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A COUPLE of recent rulings out of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are generating national headlines. They should be of particular interest to Montanans because Sidney Thomas, a Billings attorney who was nominated to that court by Sen. Max Baucus, played a role in both of the controversial rulings. And his opinions might surprise many Montanans.
In the first case, a three-judge panel struck down San Diego County's system for issuing concealed carry permits -- a ruling seen as a blow to the national effort at gun control.
As Michael McGough reported in the Los Angeles Times, "San Diego County requires that applicants for a concealed-carry permit demonstrate that they have good cause for carrying a concealed weapon. But a generalized concern for one’s personal safety doesn’t qualify as “good cause.”
The 9th Circuit saw that as a fatal flaw. Writing for the majority, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain said that the policy abridged the right to bear arms in self-defense recognized by the Supreme Court in 2008 in District of Columbia vs. Heller."
In the Heller case, the Supreme Court said the 2nd
Amendment's language about a right to “keep and bear arms” protected people's
Judge Thomas dissented from the two-judge majority, arguing that San Diego could ban the concealed carrying of firearms.
IS University of Montana graduate Jim Messina the Democrats' Karl Rove?
Whether he is or not is really irrelevant, but clearly he made a big name for himself in managing President Obama's successful re-election campaign. And now he's moving aggressively to capitalize on his newfound fame, according to Politico, building his own "political fiefdom" and raking in he cash.
Messina, 44, has won a lot of accolades for his political savvy and work for liberal causes. But he's also stepped on toes, and some of his critics are griping that he's now going too far in recruiting new clients, some of whom have competing interests. Among other things, he's been snagging gigs where he earns as much as $50,000 speaking to big oil groups and foreign governments like the United Arab Emirate of Sharjah. At the same time, his Organizing for Action group is busy battling global warming.
"There's a freneticism" to it, one former Obama aide told Politico. "He doesn't seem to say no to anything."
FEELING fine? If so, you may have good reason to, according to a new Gallup survey on the well-being of Americans.
The survey rated Montana one of the top states for well-being of its residents. North Dakota was No. 1, with a rating of 70.4, while Montana scored the fifth highest state, with a rating of 69. 3. The lowest-rated state was West Virginia at 61.4.
The well-being was measured on six sub-indexes: Life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access. The ratings are based on more than 178,000 interviews with adults from all 50 states.
A FLATHEAD County resident may be reading too many Sherlock Holmes' mysteries. In particular, the mystery in which Holmes solves a crime partly by noting that a dog at the scene didn't bark.
Perhaps Sherlock Holmes was the inspiration for the resident's suspicions that something was afoot when he didn't hear the neighbor's dogs barking, and called the cops. According to the Flathead County sheriff and police blotter, the unnamed resident reported that his neighbor's dogs never barked and he suspected it was because they weren't well taken care of.
However, he couldn't provide any proof. Officers checked the dogs, according to the Flathead Beacon, and found them to be "in good health and well taken care of."
That's just one of several odd items on a recent blotter. In another one, a Kalispell man reported that someone broke into his car and stole a garbage bag full of cigarette butts.
Another person complained that "a woman, or possibly a bearded man, cut him off and made some kind of rude gesture." And here was a report of a "man walking down Highway 2 West."
If they don't watch it, those folks in the Flathead are going to get a reputation for being infested with crime.