The Only Republican to Vote Against Kate’s Law?

None other than my representative, Justin Amash…


Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) was the only Republican to vote against Kate’s Law, a law that would impose harsher penalties on deported aliens who try to return to the United States.

Kate’s Law passed through the House 257 to 167, 24 Democrats voted for the bill. Congressman Amash was the only Republican to vote against Kate’s Law.

Kate’s Law was named after Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman murdered by an illegal immigrant who remained in the United States despite multiple deportations.

The Michigan lawmaker also voted against H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, a bill that would defund cities that prevent their police from turning over illegal aliens to federal authorities.

Rep. Amash explained his opposition to both Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, citing that they would violate the Constitution in a tweet. He did not elaborate how exactly these bills violate the Constitution.

Here’s the tweet:

Although Amash hasn’t provided a public in-depth explanation yet, I can tell you that a local activist called Amash out on Facebook for his vote, and Amash took the time to respond to his post and address some other questions as well.

Amash charged that Kate’s Law violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. While the legal system grants due process to everyone in the U.S., even if they’re illegal aliens, Kate’s Law deals with illegal aliens who return to the U.S. after being previously deported for crimes. Why on earth should we tolerate these “bad hombres” who already came to the U.S. once (or twice or more) to cause trouble? To catch them and not give them stiffer punishment would be preposterous.

In regards to the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, Amash argued that although Congress passes immigration laws, Congress cannot compel state governments to participate in something against their will by withholding federal funds. This is known as the “anti-commandeering doctrine.” The Supreme Court established that doctrine in the 1992 New York v. United States case, and Amash interprets the Tenth Amendment in light of it. But those who have illegally entered the U.S. are by definition violating federal law. Sanctuary cities are cities that cooperate with individuals violating federal law, so I don’t see how enforcing an immigration law is unconstitutional.

That’s all the explanation I’m aware of. Amash has yet to show how these two bills also violate the First, Fourth, and Eleventh Amendments. If his interpretations of the Fifth and Tenth Amendments in this context are suspect, then I imagine his interpretations of the others are even more suspect.


Evan’s Friday Briefing: 6/30/17

Welcome to the 6/30/17 edition of “Evan’s Friday Briefing,” a quick list of what I’ve been enjoying, learning, and trying out.

What I’ve Been Listening To

Bach’s English Suites and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor. Bach and Mozart represent the voice of God, so you can never go wrong with any of their compositions.

Article I Enjoyed Reading

Ryan Holiday’s “Why You Should Pretend Today Is The End.” Reflecting on death is beneficial because a) you never know when you’ll be its next victim; and b) it compels you to prioritize the important things, cherish time spent with family and friends, and not take anything for granted.

My Tip Of The Day

The road to success is perpetually under construction. Don’t rush, just go slow and focus on doing what’s immediately in front of you. Once you make it out, you can operate on cruise control and enjoy the freedom of an open road.

Great Quote I’ve Been Ruminating On

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

Happy 10th Anniversary, iPhone!

On this day ten years ago, Apple released the first iPhone. Time sure does fly by!

Many columnists today are reflecting on the iPhone’s world changing impact, including Tyler Cowen:

Ten years after the introduction of Apple Inc.’s iPhone, and the broader category of smartphones, it’s worth stepping back to see what we have learned. As with most major technological innovations, it’s brought a number of collateral surprises about the rest of our world.

First, we’ve learned that, even in this age of bits and bytes, materials innovation still matters. The iPhone is behind the scenes a triumph of mining science, with a wide variety of raw materials and about 34 billion kilograms (75 billion pounds) of mined rock as an input to date, as discussed by Brian Merchant in his new and excellent book “The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone.” A single iPhone has behind it the production of 34 kilos of gold ore, with 20.5 grams (0.72 ounces) of cyanide used to extract the most valuable parts of the gold.

Especially impressive as a material is the smooth touch-screen, and the user’s ability to make things happen by sliding, swiping, zooming and pinching it — the “multitouch” function. That advance relied upon particular materials, as the screen is chemically strengthened, made scrape-resistant and embedded with sensitive sensors. Multitouch wasn’t new, but Apple understood how to build it into a highly useful product.

For me, the most depressing lesson of the iPhone is that most people don’t care about the quality of their cultural inputs as much as I used to think. They do, however, care greatly about sharing culture with their friends (and strangers), and they value the convenience of consuming their culture, arguably to the point of addiction.

Finally, names can be deceiving. The iPhone isn’t fundamentally a phone, even though Steve Jobs himself thought that phone service was the killer app for the product. Instead, it’s an all-purpose communications device, music player, recorder, camera, map, adviser, software distributor and dating-enabler rolled into one. When Siri gets better it will be a companion too. As iPhones and other smartphones became more widespread, the number of phone calls I received declined. No other device has done more to make the phone less necessary. I’ll get your text or email right away.

Maybe that’s what I like about it most of all.

I’m an Android guy and always have been, but I believe I was the first kid in my school to own an iPod Touch, which is essentially an iPhone without the built-in texting and calling. Apple released it around two months after releasing the iPhone.

Steve Jobs had a vision and he revolutionized the world. He’s the perfect example of how a decisive, purpose-driven individual can impact countless lives. He was a creator and a doer, not a consumer and a dreamer.

Further Reading: If you’re a Wall Street Journal subscriber, check out what it’s like to use the first generation iPhone in 2017.

Neil Gorsuch Already Paying Dividends

Don’t believe me? Just read Slate’s reaction:

On Monday, Justice Neil Gorsuch revealed himself to be everything that liberals had most feared: pro-gun, pro–travel ban, anti-gay, anti–church/state separation. He is certainly more conservative than Justice Samuel Alito and possibly to the right of Justice Clarence Thomas. He is an uncompromising reactionary and an unmitigated disaster for the progressive constitutional project. And he will likely serve on the court for at least three more decades.

Although Gorsuch has barely been on the bench for two months, he has already had an opportunity to weigh in on some of the most pressing constitutional issues of our time. In each case, he has chosen the most conservative position.

It’s possible that Trump will pick one (maybe even two) more Supreme Court justices before he runs for reelection in 2020. Justice Anthony Kennedy is entertaining the idea of retiring, and although Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84, I envision her hanging on until the bitter end.

Are you sick and tired of all this winning yet?

What’s the Deal with the Serial Ten Commandments Monument Destroyer?

On Tuesday the Arkansas State Capitol erected a Ten Commandments statue. Less than 24 hours later, Michael Tate Reed destroyed it with his Dodge Dart.

This isn’t the first time Reed has run into a Ten Commandments statue, believe it or not. He did it at the Oklahoma State Capitol in 2014.

If you think he’s some raging anti-Christian atheist, you’re wrong. He claims to be a “born again Christian” on his Facebook page. However, he’s by all accounts a mentally ill man, so it’s difficult to take his word for anything.


The incident occurred around 4:47 a.m. on June 28 as Reed allegedly streamed it on Facebook Live video while shouting “freedom.” He even created a hashtag he hoped would take off as a result of the action and made a GoFundMe site hoping to raise funds to replace his car. He allegedly called himself “a terrorist” on Facebook and made threats to presidents of both political parties, including Donald Trump and Barack Obama. He called Prince Charles the anti-Christ, George Bush Sr. a satanist, and the Pope a false prophet in a series of rambling Facebook posts.

After his arrest in Oklahoma, Reed wrote a disturbing letter to a newspaper in that state describing his mental illness.

In the letter to the Tulsa World, Reed wrote “that his psychotic breaks led to getting inspiration from a Dracula movie, thinking Michael Jackson’s spirit was in meat, believing he was the incarnation of an occult leader and attempting to contact Lucifer’s high priestess he called Gwyneth Paltrow.”

He was eventually released in the Oklahoma case “under an agreement with Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater for continued treatment, therapy and family support. He is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder,” reported Tulsa World.

Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. So there you have it. The guy is troubled and I hope he gets the help he needs.

Here’s Reed’s livestream of the incident. Because of his chronic mental health disorder, I won’t condemn the guy, though I do condemn the commenters who called him a “hero” and praised him for desecrating Christian symbolism.

Liberals and libertarians may cry about “separation of church and state,” yet that phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution. All it says is that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” A statue of the Ten Commandments outside a state capitol building does not establish religion, nor does it prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Trump Wins Travel Ban Fight

Although it’s a modified version, the Supreme Court has decided to reinstate much of Trump’s travel ban.


The Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by allowing his temporary bans on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and all refugees to go into effect for people with no connection to the United States while agreeing to hear his appeals in the closely watched legal fight.

The court, which narrowed the scope of lower court rulings that had completely blocked his March 6 executive order, said it would hear arguments on the legality of one of Trump’s signature policies in his first months as president in the court’s next term, which starts in October.

The justices granted parts of his administration’s emergency request to put the order into effect immediately while the legal battle continues.

The court said that the travel ban will go into effect “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”