Civil Rights in the “Free State”

At the end of June, 2022, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s may-issue handgun permitting system in NYSRPA v. Bruen. On the basis of that decision, the Court reversed and remanded the Fourth Circuit’s upholding of Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban.

The Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the case on 6 December. Almost five months have passed without a decision. Meanwhile, the Maryland Legislature has responded to Bruen with another round of patently unconstitutional gun control legislation.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

Shortly after overturning New York’s handgun carry permit system in the Bruen decision, the Supreme Court vacated the Fourth Circuit’s ruling upholding Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban and remanded that case for retooling in light of Bruen.

Maryland is now arguing that the AR15 is not in common use for self-defense because shots are rarely fired.

Civil Rights Update

This has appeared on the docket of Bianchi v. Frosh, the Maryland “Assault Weapons” Ban case. The Fourth Circuit had previously upheld the ban; the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of the recent Bruen case.

The court directs supplemental briefing as follows:

Supplemental opening brief due: 08/22/2022
Supplemental response brief due: 09/12/2022
Supplemental reply brief permitted by: 09/22/2022

Stay tuned.

It’s Primary Election Day in Maryland

I’ll go vote in a few minutes as soon as I finish this cup of coffee. I have some interesting choices on the Republican primary ballot here in Carroll County, a red county in a blue state. Many of our local elected officials are Republicans, and I tend to vote to keep those who are doing a good job. But the statewide and federal offices on the ballot present interesting challenges.

It’s rare for a Republican to win a statewide election, but we’ve had a RINO governor for the past eight years. Larry Hogan is retiring. He initially got nominated as the most conservative candidate who could win the general election. I’m not sure who that would be today, but I’m reasonably sure it isn’t the candidate endorsed by Donald Trump because Trump’s endorsement will be seen as a negative in the purple areas of the state. I’m still puzzling on which of the other candidates might be viable statewide.

My home address had been gerrymandered into the 8th (Jamie Raskin) congressional district. Redistricting has put me in the 2nd (Dutch Ruppersberger). It appears that I’ve been moved from one safe Democrat district to another.

I’m almost done with this cup of coffee. I’d better go vote.

A Civil Rights Update

Governor Larry Hogan has directed the Maryland State Police to suspend use of the “good and substantial reason” requirement for a “Wear and Carry” permit previously used to suppress most citizens’ ability to exercise Second Amendment rights outside of their homes. This is a good first step in bringing Maryland into compliance with the Second Amendment.

Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban was upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court has vacated that decision and sent the case back to the Fourth Circuit to be reconsidered in light of Bruen. The Fourth Circuit had previously upheld Maryland’s restrictions on standard capacity magazines, but last week, the Supreme Court overturned California’s and New Jersey’s bans which are more or less the same as Maryland’s

A challenge to Maryland’s Handgun Qualification License (essentially a permit to purchase) is also pending before the Fourth Circuit.

The next few months will bring some interesting decisions at the Fourth Circuit, and I suspect the next session of the Maryland Legislature will bring out campaign of massive resistance to Second Amendment rights from the Democrat majority.

We shall see.

Better, But Still Not Good

The new Maryland congressional district gerrymander is better than the previous map, but it still isn’t very good.I live in Westminster, only about 13 miles from the Mason-Dixon line border with Pennsylvania. The old map had me living in District 8 which extended from the DC border. The new map makes District 8 a compact blob in the DC suburbs. I’m now in District 2, which extends into the Baltimore suburbs. It’s a predominantly Democrat district, but not an impossible win for the right Republican. District 6 is now competitive. District 1 remains a Republican stronghold. The rest are Democrat safe seats.

At least I’ll no longer be stuck with Jamie Raskin as my congresscritter.

Maryland’s Gerrymander

The latest congressional redistricting map to come out of the Maryland legislature has been placed on hold by a state court. A group of voters has sued alleging the map which essentially eliminates the possibility of a Republican being elected violates various provisions of the state constitution. Ballotpedia reports that today

former Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Lynne Battaglia, acting on senior status, ruled that the state’s Congressional map was a partisan gerrymander and ordered the General Assembly to draft a new map. The Maryland Court of Appeals earlier postponed the state’s primary election from June 28 to July 19 in a March 15 order. The court also extended the filing deadline for all candidates from March 22 to April 15. The court said it had “received timely-filed petitions challenging the validity of the 2022 legislative districting plan enacted by the General Assembly”

Things are proceeding better than I have foreseen.

UPDATE—FWIW, Judge Battaglia is retired from the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. She was appointed by Gov. Glendening (D). Before serving on that court, she was the U. S. Attorney for Maryland appointed by Bill Clinton and Chief of Staff for Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Forget It, Jake. It’s Maryland.

The Washington Free Beacon has a story up headlined Biden Nominee Helped Free Robber, Accused Sex-Trafficker.

President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as the top federal prosecutor in Maryland helped free a Delaware death row inmate who was subsequently implicated in a sex-trafficking ring and convicted of second degree robbery.

“Erek Barron is the latest example of the Biden administration’s focus on criminal leniency rather than public safety or the rule of law,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) told the Washington Free Beacon. “He would bring to the Maryland United States Attorney’s Office more of the same soft-on-crime approach that has already made Baltimore one of the most dangerous cities in the country, and more innocent people would be victimized as a result.”

Barron is typical of the progressive prosecutors Democrats are elevating across the country. As a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Barron has pressed for reforms progressive prosecutors champion, like abolishing mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes and making certain police personnel records available to the public. Republican lawmakers like Cotton say their approach is inappropriate amid spikes in violent crime in certain parts of the country.

He’s from Prince George’s County but should fit right in with what’s happening in Baltimore.

One of My Neighbors

I live in one of the counties in Maryland where Republicans outnumber Democrats. Carroll County is roughly 2:1 Republican, a ratio only exceed in Garrett County which is about 3:1. However, most of Maryland is majority Democrat, in Baltimore and some counties by around 10:1 and 2:1 for the state as a whole. I feel perfectly safe having a Trump/Pence yard sign, but that can be an act of bravery in some parts of the state. An anonymous writer has written an article for The Spectator titled Confessions of the Secret Suburban Trump Moms: Maryland.

I grew up all over the place, but consider Maryland my home and chose to raise my family here. While I live in a more rural, small town, I am acutely aware that I live in a blue state as soon as I make my way outside of our area. It’s hard staying under the radar in general, but even more so in a variety of settings, including my workplace. It’s especially hard to bite my tongue when people openly share liberal views, assuming everyone feels the same way. I find it hard to swallow that people are either blindly following or just not paying attention at all. I want to scream at them and say, ‘wake up, you’re being played!’ It seems the tone and tenor of our state changed once Obama vowed to ‘fundamentally transform America’. I know I can’t be the only one who thinks this.

She’s not the only one who thinks that way. I’m beginning to see evidence of cracks in the monolithic support for Democrats even in the suburban counties around DC. I don’t think Maryland will flip red on 3 November, but I’m reasonably certain that Trump will do better this year than he did in 2016.

The next few weeks will be … um … interesting.

Phase One Starts at Close of Business Friday

Governor Larry Hogan has announced the Maryland will begin dialing back Wuhan pandemic restrictions at 5 pm of Friday evening. The Gentle Reader may remember I reported a few days ago that the state’s new case and death rates began to flatten around 23 April. Over the past few days, deaths have shown a noticeable decline. Hmmm, things are beginning to proceed a bit faster than i had foreseen. I had expected Maryland to wait another week before loosening up.

I am pleased.

Bending the Curve

Here’s the Wuhan virus stats for Maryland as found around noon today at the State Department of Health’s Covid web page. These show for confirmed cases and confirmed deaths.Note that the moving average death rate has been flat at roughly 46 (±2) per day for the past two weeks. It will be useful to learn what factor or factors caused that abrupt downward bend (from the +2 deaths/day slope of the previous three weeks), and why deaths have plateaued rather than falling as initial modeling predicted.

Stay tuned.

Bending the Curve

Earlier this week, I posted day-by-day graphs of the Wuhan virus cases and deaths reported for Maryland by the state’s Department of Health. Here are updated charts.

First, the daily new confirmed cases—Over the past few days the curve was trending downward, but the large spike of new confirmed cases on 1 May has pushed the moving average up again. I don’t have any information about the 1 May data other than the raw number. It may have been caused by the state’s testing program finding a large at-risk population, or it there may have been a burst of new cases.

OTOH, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths is beginning to trend down.

If the spike in new cases is just noise in the data, then Maryland may have turned the corner on the pandemic.

We shall see

Bending the Curve

I went over the the Maryland Department of Health’s coronavirus website and found the daily numbers for confirmed new Wuhan virus cases and deaths. Here’s the data. The green bars are the daily raw numbers. That data is rather noisy. The blue lines are the 5-day moving averages.

First, the confirmed new cases day by day—

Second, the daily deaths—Eamining the case data, it looks as if the number of cases hasn’t diverged far from a linear rising slope. Projecting the trend present around the first of this month onward yields about the same rate as we actually have now. If the was exponential growth, the exponent wasn’t much more than 1. Maryland hasn’t turned the corner on new cases yet, but it appears that we’ve kept the rate of increase from exploding as it did in New York City.

The downward bend in the death rate over the last few days is a hopeful sign.

Maryland’s response to the pandemic hasn’t been perfect, but we have achieved better results than some without having to go to full-tilt, nanny-state fascist as have some jurisdictions. Now comes the hard part. We need to reengage the economy without reinvigorating the virus.

Who Was That Masked Man?

Beginning at 7 am on Saturday morning, the answer to that question here in Maryland could be anyone riding on mass transit or patronizing a food service or retail establishment. Governor Hogan has ordered that a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth shall be worn by anyone using public transportation or by anyone older than 7 in a food service or retail establishment until the end of the current Wuhan virus emergency. Willful failure to comply will be a misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

It seems to me that this sort of public health intervention makes more sense than some parts of the stay-at-home order, particularly as we pass the peak in the pandemic curve. Going to about our business wearing masks will be less economically disruptive than hiding. Perhaps this can be a first step to easing up on some restrictions as it becomes more obvious that some are doing more overall harm than good.

Modeling Versus Real World Data

I went over to the IHME web page for their Covid19 modeling for Maryland to check out their predictions for the state for yesterday. (The web page says that the results shown used their model as updated on Wednesday.) I then went the Maryland State Health Departments Covid 19 page to look up the actual data reported by the State.The Gentle Reader can see that the Daily Deaths and Total Deaths are within 10 % of the model’s predictions (pretty good performance for such an immature system), but the New Hospitalizations are well below the predicted value . In fact, they’re just barely above the model’s low side estimate of 63.

This suggests that Maryland’s current response to the pandemic has been effective in reducing transmission of the virus to people with who would likely require treatment in a hospital, i.e., the elderly and people with other medical complications. If the rate of hospitalizations continues to decline over the next week or so and falls completely out of the predicted range, then it’s going to be time to start making the political decisions about restarting Maryland’s economy.

As I’ve noted before, impoverishment resulting from economic stagnation will sentence many to misery, despair, and poorer health. At some point, we will cross the line beyond which the current method of dealing with the pandemic will do more harm than good. The data above are a hopeful sign that day is coming sooner than some interpretations of the model predict.

I hope so.

Coronavirus Notes

I haven’t posted as much as usual this week because I’m dealing with a nasty head cold, and, yes, it’s just a cold. However, i’ve seen a few things related to the coronavirus go by that are worth sharing.

One of the hot spots for the illness is Iran where many members of the ruling class have ti.

It looks as if Israel is among the leaders in development of a vaccine.

And the World Health Organization has declared that we are in a pandemic.

BTW, I was at CPAC a couple of weeks ago. According to the emails I’ve received from the event organizers, the Maryland State Health Department has screen all of the employees of the event venue, and none of them tested positive for corona virus. There were a couple of other events going on at the venue at the same time as CPAC. One was a medical meeting, and during my time in the Lobby Bar, I had an interesting conversation with an ophthalmologist about her preparations for dealing with the disease. Because her work require close patient contact, she plans to use additional layer of protective equipment—and she plans on additional screening of patients before they are seen. Her prime concerns were the availability of extra masks, gloves, etc., and whether the public would act calmly and responsibly in following medical advice (as opposed to press and political sensationalism).

The next few months will be interesting. (Say, is it raaaaacist to point out that old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times..”?)

Protecting Our Elections From Voter Fraud

A not-for-profit organization has won a ruling in U. S. District Court that requires the State of Maryland to turn over voter registration data for Montgomery County. The county has more registered voters that it has citizens 18 years old or older, a situation which has obvious potential for election fraud.

BTW, the organization that sought the data was Judicial Watch. Protect Our Elections/EMPR Inc., which is headquartered in Montgomery County, Maryland, has shown no interest in investigating election fraud in the Democrat controlled county.

Trump Wins One in the Fourth Circuit

The District of Columbia and the State of Maryland filed a LOLsuit against Donald Trump in both his official and personal capacities claiming that Trump was violating the Emoluments Clause of Article II of the Constitution. The U. S. District Court of Maryland ruled against the President’s official and personal motions to dismiss, and the judge refused to certify an interlocutory appeal of his rulings. Trump took the unusual steps (official and personal) of seeking writs of mandamus from the Fourth Circuit ordering the certification of the appeal. Yesterday, the Court of Appeals took the even more unusual action of granting the writs of mandamus Trump sought.

The TL:DR is this: The Court of Appeals ruled that the district judge was wrong on the law, so the case has been remanded with instructions that it be dismissed with prejudice.

Money quote—

The District and Maryland’s interest in enforcing the Emoluments Clauses is so attenuated and abstract that their prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the President is an appropriate use of the courts, which were created to resolve real cases and controversies between the parties. In any event, for the reasons given, we grant the President’s petition for a writ of mandamus and, taking jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), hold that the District and Maryland do not have Article III standing to pursue their claims against the President. Accordingly, we reverse the district court’s orders denying the President’s motion to dismiss filed in his official capacity, and, in light of our related decision in No. 18-2488, we remand with instructions that the court dismiss the District and Maryland’s complaint with prejudice.

Trump Derangement Syndrome doesn’t seem to be a valid cause of action.

And in Montgomery County, Maryland …

The Hill reports that a couple of thugs assaulted a citizen who is a legal immigrant, apparently because he was wearing a MAGA hat. The attack occurred in Montgomery County, Maryland, which is a “sanctuary” county. The victim Astu Nable came from Togo in 2007. He has become a citizen and is a staunch supporter of President Trump.

“I like everything that he does. Like, I came here legally,” Nable said. “Why can’t all people come here legally then? I went through the right process, the proper channels and I’m here, so why can’t they do the same thing?”

Forget it Jake Astu. It’s Chinatown MoCo.

First Amendment News

Last month, Judge Paul Grim granted a preliminary injunction preventing the State of Maryland from enforcing some campaign advertising reporting laws while the lawsuit filed by a group of Maryland Newspapers and the Washington Post is proceeding in the U. S. District Court. The newspapers assert (correctly in my view) that the law which affects their websites violates the freedoms of press and speech protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendment.  You can read more about the suit here and here. It turns out that I have a dog the fight, because Hogewash! sometimes has enough traffic to be subject to the law as well.

This week, the State filed notice of an appeal of the injunction to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Stay tuned.

Good News for the First Amendment

A group of news organizations led by the Washington Post has sued the State of Maryland over a poorly crafted and patently unconstitutional set of laws that try to regulate online political advertising. Judge Paul Grimm of the U.S. District Court has granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the State from enforcing the laws while the case is pending. Granting such an injunction means that the court believes that the plaintiffs are likely to win the case on the merits and that they will suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief.

The best line in the Memorandum Opinion is on page 35. Discussing the State’s case, Judge Grim notes,

These are not the arguments of a party that is confident in its case.

The Maryland laws are so over broad that a site as small as Hogewash! could be affected by their reporting requirements.

The Lesser of Two Weasels

I don’t agree with Larry Hogan on several issues that are important to me (i.e., Second Amendment rights), but the alternative is Ben Jealous, a politician with whom I have essentially no common ground. While the choice may not be as bad as Trump v. Hillary, it still stinks.

Once again, I’m faced with Jerry Garcia’s Dilemma (“Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.”), but I’ll vote for Hogan for governor.

Newspapers v. Maryland News

I’ve been following a case filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland by a group of newspapers against the Maryland Election Commission seeking to overturn a vague and patently unconstitutional law dealing with online political advertising. It turns out that I have a dog in that fight because there are months when the traffic here at Hogewash! is sufficient for the law to apply to this blog.

The newspapers are seeking a preliminary injunction prohibiting the State from enforcing the law. A hearing is scheduled on their motion on 16 November before Judge Paul Grimm. I plan to cover that hearing.

Stay tuned.


The Baltimore Sun reports that the Maryland State Police will not become involved if someone files a formal complaint relating to the Ford/Kavanaugh brouhaha. This is because of a memorandum of understanding between the MSP and the Montgomery County Police giving primary jurisdiction over sex crimes to the County Police. The County Police have said that they will not open an investigation without a formal complaint, and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office has said they would have no comment on the matter until after a charge is filed.

In any event, it appears that the statue of limitations has run out. The BS reports that

[l]egal experts doubt that a case could be made against Kavanaugh even if someone makes a complaint.

For one thing, if attempted rape in the first degree was the most appropriate charge, that was a misdemeanor in the 1980s in Maryland. It did not become a felony in the state until 1996. Former Attorney General Doug Gansler, who also served as Montgomery County state’s attorney, noted that Maryland’s statute of limitations for misdemeanors for an offense committed in the 1980s expired long ago.

Gansler, a Democrat, also noted Kavanaugh was a juvenile at the time, further complicating any investigation and prosecution. He said the type of acts that have been alleged are not ones for which juveniles are typically charged as adults.

Even if charges could be brought, Gansler said that based on the accounts he’s seen, it would be difficult to prove an alleged assailant had the intent to complete a forcible rape and would not have stopped short of that.

If you’ve lost a Democrat former state Attorney General, it may be time to move on.