Reminder: Louisiana law provides strong right of self-defense against car jackings, other crimes

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

In view of the increasing number of carjackings in Shreveport-Bossier—as well as the uptick in those occurring in Baton Rouge and New Orleans—it is worth revisiting the law that provides for the right of self-defense if citizens of Louisiana are attacked while in our vehicles, businesses, or in our homes.

Louisiana Revised Statute 14:20 provides for the definition and elements of Justifiable Homicide (killing).

This statute states that a “homicide is justifiable” when committed in self-defense by an individual who reasonably believes that they are in imminent danger of losing their life or receiving great bodily harm and that, therefore, … the killing is necessary to save the individual from that danger. (Emphasis added).

The statute also requires that “the circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fear of a reasonable person” such that the individual would face serious danger to their own life or person without the act of self-defense.

However, this deadly force may only be used by someone who is legally inside a given dwelling, place of business or motor vehicle against someone who is making an illegal entry.

That seems simple enough. However, there is another provision in the statute that further strengthens the right of the victims to defend themselves with deadly force.

The statute then states that in a dangerous, violent situation like those occurring frequently across our cities and state “ … there shall be a presumption that a person lawfully inside a dwelling, place of business or motor vehicle held a reasonable belief that the use of deadly force was necessary” to prevent the illegal entry or to compel the criminal intruder to leave. (Emphasis added).

This presumption is very important—as are all legal presumptions—and essential to creating an effective, durable right of self-defense.

Why? Because this presumption makes far easier the victim’s defense against a murder charge by providing the “benefit of the doubt” to the victim that they were justified in using deadly force in one of these dangerous circumstances—when the attack occurs inside a dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle.

The statute also specifically provides that innocent, law-abiding citizens who are in a place that they legally have a right to be, have “no duty to retreat before using deadly force” and may “stand his or her ground” and “meet force with force.”

In summary, the smaller point is that this statute is simply the recognition by our state legislature that violent crimes frequently occur and that the right of the innocent victim to protect and defend themselves is a sacred one.

The larger point is that while our U.S. Constitution does not contain the words “self-defense,” that right is still unquestionably implied by and provided for in the 2nd Amendment—the individual right to keep and bear arms—as well as flowing from the philosophical principle that the right of self-defense is a natural right that derives from the sovereignty and inherent dignity of the individual.

The right of self-defense from crime—as well as from a tyrannical government—is the fundamental purpose of the 2nd Amendment. It is not a right granted by government—only preserved by it—and therefore it is a right that government cannot constitutionally take away.

It follows then that a natural right must flow from natural law—which philosopher John Locke called “laws of nature” — God’s law, and, as such, these natural rights exist outside of, and are clearly distinguishable from positive law, which refers to ordinances, regulations and statutes that have been enacted by a legislature, court, or other human lawmaking entity.

These natural rights are what Thomas Jefferson meant when he stated in the Declaration of Independence that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” – rights to which, according to Jefferson, “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them.”

The Right to Life through self-defense is one of the clearest manifestations of our intrinsic natural rights, and through this statute the Louisiana Legislature has provided its citizens with a powerful method by which to exercise it.


Biden administration sells U.S. emergency oil to China while strangling American domestic energy industry

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

While the Biden Administration has continued to strangle U.S. energy production—creating painfully high gas and diesel prices at the pump—incredibly, the Administration is also now selling America’s emergency oil reserves to the Chinese.

At a time of skyrocketing inflation and record gas prices the Biden Administration won’t allow broad energy production in the U.S., which is punishing Americans at the pump, but in addition to that defect we are now selling our emergency crude oil reserves to our archenemy, China, and other nations.

It has been reported that nearly 1 million barrels of oil released from our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve—for the stated purpose of reducing Americans’ pain at the pump, according to our addled president—has actually been sold to a Chinese state-owned energy conglomerate, Sinopec.

In a plot twist worthy of a Hollywood thriller, this conglomerate has ties to the President’s son, Hunter Biden, through an investment firm the disgraced younger Biden co-founded. The firm held a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing which, of course, raises questions about why oil from our national emergency reserve is being shipped out of the U.S. and sent to China.

But it also raises the question: Who besides China is benefiting from these sales?

“Follow the money” instructed Deep Throat of Watergate fame. (I’ll address the Hunter Biden connection on another day).

On first review, it seems confusing and ambiguous.

But then, when the contents of the Hunter Biden ‘laptop from Hell’ are considered—and that the Biden Crime Family, including ‘the Big Guy,’ benefitted to the tune of millions of dollars from the Chinese government—the picture becomes clear and logical. (Miranda Devine; NY Post).

Talk about indefensible.

Let’s really understand what is happening here.

On the one hand, due to the green energy delusions of the climate change religionists, the Biden Administration has largely shut down American energy production, beginning on the first day of this Administration. This has resulted in our domestic production and refining capacity being reduced by more than a million barrels of oil per day. On the other hand, we are also now selling our emergency capacity to other nations including China.

This all means we have gone from being a net exporter of energy under President Trump to a country reduced to begging our enemy, Venezuela, and the nation Biden called a pariah state, Saudi Arabia—to drill more and sell us their excess production. Also, the disastrous pending nuclear deal with Iran is sought in part in order to bring millions of barrels of Iranian oil into the international market.

Obviously, the point of having a national energy reserve is to support our country if an energy shortfall arises. That’s why we must protect our national stockpile and not sell our strategic crude reserves to the Chinese Communist Party, especially when our government tells us that our emergency oil reserves are being depleted for the benefit of Americans. Otherwise, the reserve will be depleted when America is faced with an energy emergency.

As U.S. Senator John Kennedy has stated “America’s strategic petroleum reserve protects our country during national emergencies. Selling off American oil to countries that hate us undermines the security that the oil reserve is supposed to deliver …”

The very best solution to all of this—and one that would cause the U.S. economy to explode with growth—would be for the Biden Administration to quickly take steps to turn on American energy production.

This would include enacting the American Energy Independence Act which would reverse the war on U.S. domestic energy production by permitting widespread drilling on federal lands and waters while also approving the Keystone XL pipeline, freeing up U.S. LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports and generally fast-tracking energy and mineral development.

In short, the fastest and easiest way to provide hope to millions of struggling Americans and drive the domestic energy market up is for President Biden to announce tomorrow that we are going to reopen and re-invigorate the U.S. oil and gas industry. This includes repealing all so-called “green” regulations prohibiting the production and development of, and investment in, American energy.

This must happen soon. In what sane world does a nation kill its own energy industry while at the same time sell its emergency reserves to our enemies? It’s clear that Pres. Biden is mentally and morally unfit to hold the most powerful office in the world.


U.S. Supreme Court attempts to re-establish our constitutional republic

Opinion/By ROYAL ALEXANDER, Contributing Writer

Recall that at the time of drafting our Constitution, our nation had just come out of a brutal war for its independence and our leaders sought to establish a fundamentally different kind of government, one based upon self-government.

Our Framers sought to balance individual liberty, which they had foremost in mind, and social order as they drafted the document grounded in this principle of self-government.

So, the Founders devised a system in which the states and the federal government were joint sovereigns sharing power. However, in this arrangement they demanded that the new constitution limit the national government to specific, express, enumerated powers which they listed with great specificity, with all other power reserved to the states and the people. Said another way, the states—as the legitimate repositors of power—agreed to a voluntary transfer of enumerated powers from the states to the federal government.

Secondly, they created a three-part federal government, Legislative, Executive and Judicial, that would remain that way based upon a delicate system of checks and balances. This is our Separation of Powers which simply means that our three branches of government would be required to “stay in their own lanes” such that one branch could no more make itself more powerful at the expense of another branch than they could give their constitutional authority away to another branch.

And, equally importantly, the federal government was required to stay out of the lanes of the states.

With this in mind let’s review some recent Supreme Court decisions.

Roe v. Wade was a violation of both states’ rights and separation of powers. It was reversed because the 1973 Roe Court illegitimately decided to “federalize” the abortion issue and take that profound moral policy decision away from the 50 states in whom it is entrusted. It’s also a violation of the Separation of Powers because the Supreme Court went “outside of its lane,” acting as a “super legislature.” In so doing, the Roe Court also disregarded its fundamental duty to interpret the law—not make the law—by magically “finding” a right to abortion in the Constitution.

Let’s review another violation of the Separation of Powers. In a recent case involving the Environmental Protection Agency the Court ruled in such a way that signals a broad reining in of the massive federal administrative state. The case involved climate change regulation but the principle the Court laid down can be applied to all the federal agencies. The issue was whether the EPA could use a little-known provision of a major federal statute to essentially redesign our national electric grid.

The Court relied on a legal doctrine which requires courts to be skeptical, if not suspicious, when agencies try to claim a previously unidentified power in a long existing statute; like saying “this statute is 50 years old, but the EPA somehow just discovered this new power in it which it’s now using to massively expand its own authority?” The Court held that the EPA had gone too far and was acting as a legislative body (at the whim of unelected bureaucrats) even though its only legitimate role is to administer laws passed by Congress.

Two final cases involve rights that are actually in the Constitution.

In a gun rights case, the Court struck down a New York law that prohibited its citizens from possessing a handgun on their person outside of the home unless they proved a “special need” to do so. The Court said “no” holding that “the Second … Amendment protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” adding that “individual self-defense is the central component of the Second Amendment right.”

Finally, a case involving free exercise of religion and the “praying football coach” who was fired from his job at a public high school after he briefly knelt after games to offer a prayer of thanks. The Court ruled in his favor finding that the coach had never attempted to coerce his players to join him, or conditioned playing time based upon player participation in the prayer. Rather, in firing the coach the school district had unconstitutionally punished him “for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance.”

The Left is furious because it realizes that if it can no longer rely on federal courts to accomplish its policy goals it will now have to accomplish them in the constitutional way—by building public consensus and then passing a bill through Congress.


Supreme Court Strikes Several Blows for Liberty

By Royal Alexander

Included in the historic and dizzying litany of U.S. Supreme Court decisions the last ten days are rulings on 2nd Amendment rights and free exercise of religion.

These decisions, when analyzed in conjunction with landmark pro-democracy decisions defending the rights ‘of the people’ through their elected representatives to choose to protect pre-born human life and requiring that the U.S. Congress determine major environmental policy—not unelected bureaucrats unaccountable to the people—the Supreme Court has returned “We the People” to a constitutional republic and a ‘government by consent of the governed.’

Let’s begin with the 2nd Amendment case.

The Supreme Court held that New York’s handgun licensing regime was unconstitutional. Why? Because NY was forcing its citizens who wished to apply for and receive a permit to carry a handgun to prove that they had “proper cause” to carry the handgun and that the applicant had demonstrated a “special need for self-defense.”

The Supreme Court flatly said “no.” What was the Court’s reasoning?

The Court refused to leave in the hands of NY state bureaucrats the discretion to determine to grant or disallow a citizen’s 2nd Amendment right ‘to keep and bear arms’ based on what the bureaucrat deems to qualify as a “special need” for self-defense.

The Court held that “the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” The Court underscored this point adding that “individual self-defense is the central component of the Second Amendment right.”

Why is this important? At a time when the Lunatic Left are defunding and disrespecting the police, and police coverage and response times are negatively impacted; when bail to keep dangerous criminals off the streets is being reduced and ended in many jurisdictions; and prisons are being emptied of lethal threats to society; this Supreme Court decision reaffirms the principle that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.

The cry for “gun control” after these mass shootings (and these shootings are primarily a heart problem not a gun problem) is an easy solution for politicians with a desire to “do something,” but it is deeply misplaced. What we need is criminal control.

Law-abiding gun owners everywhere already obey our gun laws but criminals—by their nature—are never going to comply. The result is that the good guys are disarmed while the bad guys are, free and unopposed, able to inflict their violence and death on the innocent. This is societal insanity.

The second important Supreme Court decision I address today is one involving free exercise of religion and the “praying football coach.”

What are the facts? Coach Joseph Kennedy was fired from his job as a high school football coach in the Bremerton School District after he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet, personal prayer of thanks. The high school is a public high school—making him a government employee—in Washington state.

The Bremerton School District argued that as an employee at work Coach Kennedy’s prayer was “state speech” and thereby violated the Constitution’s promise of no government “establishment of religion.” However, the Supreme Court held that in firing Coach Kennedy it had unconstitutionally punished him “for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance” after each game.

The Court held that Coach Kennedy’s ritual after football games is private conduct. The Court noted that Coach Kennedy never attempted to pressure or coerce his players or spectators to join him. He had also never offered his prayers while acting within the scope of his duties as a coach or conditioned playing time based upon participation in his prayer. He merely engaged, for approximately 3o seconds after each game, in his own brief and personal religious observance.

The Court reasoned that finding this private conduct unconstitutional would be to discriminate against religion. That’s right, of course, because as any fair reading of American history makes clear, what the Framers of our Constitution were concerned about was the establishment of a state religion of the kind they fled when the Pilgrims came to America in the first place. That is why the Framers would not recognize the hostility to religion that is so common in America today.

For citizen patriots loyal to our Constitution, these last 10 days have marked a thrilling return to constitutional principles, to the rubric that the responsibility of a Supreme Court Justice is to interpret the law, not make it.


After Roe Reversal, Abortion Issue Returns to the People

By Royal Alexander

In a landmark 6-3 decision this past week, the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reversed and overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which purported to “find” a constitutional right to abortion in the 14th Amendment.

How should we view this Supreme Court decision?

Well, putting aside the moral implications of abortion—which are profound—and looking at Roe strictly as a matter of constitutional law, it was always on shaky legal ground.

Why?

Because our Constitution mandates that our federal government be one of specific, enumerated powers and abortion is not one of them; And because, while the Liberty Clause of the 14th Amendment may allow a right to privacy within a zone of privacy, that zone cannot credibly be construed to include the “right” to terminate the life of a genetically distinct unborn baby.

The harsh national response we are seeing from critics of the reversal of Roe includes the assertion that the Court is exercising power it doesn’t have. This is, respectfully, exactly backwards. As Justice Byron White wrote in dissent (Justice William Rehnquist was the other dissenter) in the 1973 Roe opinion, the Roe decision was an “exercise of raw judicial power”.

Why would Justice White have written that in his 1973 dissent from Roe?

Because the 1973 Roe Court claimed to “find” a constitutional right to abortion that is simply not in the Constitution. Let me say again that abortion can be found nowhere in the Constitution. Further, abortion had never been a part of American common law either.

As such, the 1973 Roe decision had “federalized” the issue of abortion and taken it away from all 50 states. The reversal of Roe last week was simply the correction of a grievous 49-year mistake that the Roe Court—with great judicial arrogance—had made. By taking the issue and preferences away from the states and the people and replacing it with the Roe Court’s own preferences on abortion, it had acted in a manner that was inappropriate, illegal, and unconstitutional. The role of the U.S. Supreme Court is to interpret the law not to make it!

Rather, the Framers of our Constitution left profound moral and policy determinations like the abortion issue to the states and to the people because they wanted these weightiest of decisions to be made as locally as possible.

Someone made this comment to me since the Roe reversal. “So, what you are telling me is my rights are determined by geography; by where I live?” In simplest terms, the answer is “yes.”

Our constitutional scheme essentially sets up the 5o states as “incubators” of the policy ideas and choices of the people in that state. That is why states like Louisiana and Mississippi can chose to have no abortions while states like New York and California (which may even pay for the procedure) have such liberal abortion laws that the child may be aborted up until the moment of birth—and even after, when the unborn child is allowed to die on the table if the abortion was unsuccessful.

To disagree with this outcome is to simply disagree with our constitutional form of government. Our Framers painstakingly hammered out what powers would be directly and expressly granted to the federal government with all the rest remaining with the states and the people.

As the 10th Amendment makes clear the large majority of policy determinations lie with the states. Period. Again, the only powers granted to the federal government are express, specific, and enumerated.

Now, the issue of abortion will return to and be decided by the people and their representatives in each state where, in our constitutional scheme, it belongs.