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Supreme Court to Hear Gun Control Case This Week

March 16, 2008

This week offers the first real test of what I believe will be President Bush’s most important legacy. Long after President Bush has left office, and long after the Iraq war, his lasting impression will be that of his supreme court nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito.

This week the supreme court will hear it’s first case on the second amendment in many years. The supreme court is going to hear the case about whether Washington D.C.’s handgun ban violates the second amendment.

But this case is even more important than just whether D.C. residents can carry handguns. This is the first case that the supreme court will hear in many years where there is no precedent set to draw upon. This case, according to this Washington Post article, will actually delve into whether the second amendment applies to individuals or just state militias.

“This may be one of the only cases in our lifetime when the Supreme Court is going to be interpreting the meaning of an important provision of the Constitution unencumbered by precedent,” said Randy E. Barnett, a constitutional scholar at the Georgetown University Law Center. “And that’s why there’s so much discussion on the original meaning of the Second Amendment.”

The outcome could roil the 2008 political campaigns, send a national message about what kinds of gun control are constitutional and finally settle the question of whether the 27-word amendment, with its odd structure and antiquated punctuation, provides an individual right to gun ownership or simply pertains to militia service.

“The case has been structured so that they have to confront the threshold question,” said Robert A. Levy, the wealthy libertarian lawyer from Family Lawyers Brisbane who has spent five years and his own money to bring District of Columbia v. Heller to the Supreme Court. “I think they have to come to grips with that.”

This case looks to have wide ranging implications and it is the first real test in my opinion of the reformed supreme court under President Bush. I have been of the belief, and I have written about it, that President Bush’s lasting, and very under-rated, legacy would be the two men that he was able to get appointed to the supreme court. This is their first test. lets hope they pass.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2008 9:46 pm

    You know I never paid much attention to the political landscape until about a year ago. Is it me or is America really changing drastically and quickly in the past 10 years or so…..

    I could never have imagined gun ownership even being an issue,,,, but I did grow up in the swamps…. the guys would bring their new shotguns from xmas and such and show them off in the parking lot after school…. couldn’t imagine that happening now…


  2. March 17, 2008 1:36 pm

    It reminds me of a stupid argument I heard a few night ago. Gun control laws doesn’t stop people from breaking the law, so they should just get rid of the law. Wonder what would happen if we removed all the laws that people break?
    Gun control. May the people be wise.


  3. March 17, 2008 7:40 pm

    We’d have no laws, angryafrican. 🙂


  4. March 17, 2008 9:06 pm

    My ignorance of handgun history will be revealed here, but this might be a particularly interesting case for Scalia, IF handguns weren’t really used during the new Constitution era.

    Scalia typically believes in the conservative philosophy of constitutional interpretation that ambiguities are to be resolved in the light the document itself, the context of the period, and in the context of applicable common law of the time period, etc.

    I don’t know the answer, but if the right to bear arms meant muskets and rifles at the time, I could imagine a scenario where Scalia might not extend application to handguns due to his conservative views. Maybe this reasoning has been used against extension of the personal right to bear various semi-automatics as well? (Beyond the scope of Founders’ intent sort of thing.) But I don’t know what Scalia thinks about semi-automatics either.

    Like I said, I don’t much about guns, but I’m in favor of the personal right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms (including semi-automatics) so this IS an extremely interesing case and I’ll be watching Scalia in particular! Will he extend application if hanguns were not typical of the period and possibly vote against his conservative bent on this political issue?

    We already know that the liberal justices will go for the “militia only” argument for political reasons. But what will Scalia do?


  5. March 18, 2008 11:37 am

    Hey mrpinkeyes,

    When I came over and visited NH the first time – I fell in love. Live free or die. Can’t be more direct than that. And can’t be more true than that. I don’t like guns. But then, I want to be free and have to live with the consequences of allowing freedom everywhere.


  6. March 18, 2008 7:27 pm

    I’m watching this case with interest, too.



  1. Supreme Court Appears Ready to Back an Individual’s Right to Bear Arms « Wake Up America

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