26 June 2008

SCOTUS gun ruling results a no-brainer...

New York Times, June 26, 2008

The Supreme Court declared for the first time on Thursday that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to have a gun, not just the right of the states to maintain militias.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the landmark 5-to-4 decision, said the Constitution does not allow “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.” In so declaring, the majority found that a gun-control law in the nation’s capital went too far in making it nearly impossible to own a handgun.

It was another 5-4 decision with Scalia writing the majority opinion and Kennedy doing his usual swing vote thingy.

It's a no brainer because of the make-up of the court and because the D.C. law was incredibly restrictive. It even mandated how guns were to be stored.

The gist of the decision was that the Constitution doesn't absolutely forbid gun ownership by private citizens but does have caveats"
for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home” is not unlimited. “It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” Justice Scalia wrote.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the dissenting opinion based on historical precedent bordering on stare decisis:
A dissent by Justice John Paul Stevens asserted that the majority “would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.”

In effect, what the arguments boiled down to are interpretations based on a strict-constructionist view of the Constitution. Something that has been at the heart of the right's justification for their laws.

It's still a dangerous road we're on here. The Second Amendment states
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
I guess we could say that Mr. Scalia has substituted the word militia with the word vigilante

The future of these 5-4 decisions are almost a foregone conclusion even with a Democrat in the White House. The only justices who would possibly retire in the near future are on the 4 side of the Court - Stevens and Ginsburg. At least for the next four years, Tsar Bush will continue doing damage to the Constitution. If McCain is elected all bets are off. The wingers will have what they've been planning since Nixon resigned.

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