Assuming that it were upheld (and, as noted, you can't necessarily take questioning at oral argument at face value), then I guess the next step would be to propose another constitutional amendment. After that, maybe California should look into making the amendment process harder - I read that the state constitution has been amended over 500 times (!) since 1911. That's absurd.
Can I just say that I find California's proposition procedure to be completely ridiculous? Not only that, but the weirdness is compounded by this "amendment"/"revision" distinction which allows voters to make certain constitutional changes but not those which would make "far reaching changes in the nature of [the] governmental plan." Oy.
I don't really think the NRA ever sleeps. I do agree that the benchmark should be legislation which is tolerable in purple states, but maybe that means that they should have heavy input into any such legislation. Anyway, I don't see any big problem with floating one or two trial balloons. As you wrote, it probably would never escape the commitee stage.
Confiscate all the guns of lawful citizens? Are you serious? I'm surprised that one could engage in such fear-mongering with a straight face.
Notwithstanding the political ramifications, I see no problem with ensuring that those who own deadly weapons are competent to do so. Frankly I think that that is a very mild intrusion on one's right to bear arms. As I'm sure you know, constitutional rights are subject to reasonable regulation, including the Second Amendment.
It sounds like a good idea other than the hunting issue (I agree with the posters above that exceptions would have to be made for young hunters for this to be remotely feasible). It's probably political poison, but we haven't challenged the NRA for a while and it actually does make sense to people who don't mainline the NRA's talking points. Maybe we should try it out.
I guess I would bet 55/45 the other way, though not for any real money. :) Art. I, s. 8 refers to what would later become the District of Columbia and seemingly portrays it as a small territory under federal rule, so it's difficult for me to imagine the founders elevating DC's status to that of a state's, and I do think that DC's treatment with respect to this issue over the past two centuries must also bear on the analysis (it's sort of analogous to Congress's treaty power, which is not constrained by any constitutional text but which has been interpreted as being constrained by the Bill of Rights, etc.). It's an interesting question, though. Ultimately it would probably be best to amend the Constitution to grant DC the full rights of statehood in order to prevent repeal of this legislation, were it deemed to be constitutional.
I honestly don't think there's any consensus on our side re: Afghanistan. Didn't Obama campaign on adding at least one additional military division in Afghanistan, causing McCain to double whatever Obama proposed in order to appear tougher on terrorism? I distinctly recall that campaign maneuvering. Furthermore, it's unclear what will emerge from the 60-day review.
As for Iraq, we shall see. The figures discussed would still represent a major reduction in forces there.
Starr's argument is interesting, and I would have to read the cases, but as summarized they do not appear to provide any clear conflict between the Seat of Government Clause and any other constitutional provisions, as would seem to be the case here. Art. I, s. 2 provides that "[t]he House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states ..." This appears to be an automatic requirement, and the fact that DC has not had representation for 220 years strongly suggests that it is not a "state" for these particular purposes.
Furthermore, Art. I, s. 8 authorizes Congress "[t]o exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States ..." So, we have DC characterized as territory that was ceded by the "states" to the federal government.
I guess one could argue that Art. I, s. 2 does not limit those who may serve in the House merely to delegates from the "states." That seems like a strange reading to me, though. You could also argue that the Seat of Government Clause allows Congress to do an end-run around Art. I, s. 2. But, when you have a fairly specific constitutional provision in conflict with a more general and vague provision, I think generally the more specific provision is read as limiting the scope of the general provision. Anyway, we'll probably find out at some point.
I've seen a flavor of that argument in the DKos threads. My personal opinion is that it contradicts the constitutional text as well as historical practice. Though, I wonder if Starr and the rest have some other arguments in mind.