In a pair of 5-4 votes, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt big government a double blow, striking down the Chicago handgun ban and ruling part of the Sarbanes-Oxlet Act as unconstitutional. This, on the same day that hearings begin in the Senate for approving Elena Kagan to be the next Supreme Court Justice. On the 28-year old handgun ban in Chicago, the high court again stated, as they did two years ago, that the Constitution gives individuals equal or greater power than states on the issue of possession of certain firearms for self-protection. On Sarbanes-Oxley, the court stated that the Congress overstepped it’s authority to remove members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

The 2002 law enacted in response to the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals was ruled as violating the separations pf powers. Congress created the board to replace accounting industry regulators. The court ruled that the president, as head of the executive branch, must be able to remove members from the board, which, under the law, was difficult at best. The majority opinion will now give that authority through the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On the Chicago handgun ban, the case originated when a homeowner, Otis McDonald, wanted to own a handgun to protect his home and himself. McDonald had been the victim of several burglaries. Even though he did own a shotgun, McDonald wanted a handgun as it would be more convenient for protecting himself. The city of Chicago banned all handguns 28 years ago.

The ruling by the Supreme Court still allows local government to enact “reasonable” laws regulating gun ownership, just as when the court ruled in 2008 striking down gun ban laws in Washington DC. Today’s decision allows citizens to exercise their Constitutional rights to possess and bear the most common types of firearms. A key component in today’s ruling was not only the 2nd Amendment, but also the 14th Amendment. The issue being that the 14th Amendment allows all citizens, including newly freed slaves, be protected from any state laws that may restrict their rights. Today’s rulings on the Chicago gun ban and Sarbanes-Oxley send a message to all levels and branches of government to obey the Constitution. Odds are the Senate will question Elena Kagan on these rulings during her confirmation hearings.