You know that Constitutional Amendment, which protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms? The 2nd one? Well, good news. The Supreme Court has decided the amendment actually protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Clever bunch, aren’t they?
Anyway, this is a huge deal in my neck of the woods. So, I’ve been busy pontificating in ink – and recommend you go here for discussion on the ruling.
BUT before I go back to detailing the wisdom of the judiciary: I wanted to muse aloud upon the 5-4 ruling. You understand that’s a very close number, right? In case you’re not a math whiz: it’s the difference of one with the four dissenting justices being Breyer, Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg.
Yes, the names are significant and this isn’t the only 5-4 decision coming out of the court. The consistent split, I think, makes the dividing line between conservative and liberal jurists all the more apparent. If the swinging Justice Kennedy hadn’t had a libertarian bent… well, it’s a scary thought.
You know – a week or two ago, I was arguing with David Oatney that an Obama nomination to the Supreme Court might not be such a bad thing. After this ruling, I’m entertaining the possibility that maybe perhaps there’s some small chance I could have been slightly just a little bit wrong – which doesn’t necessarily make Oatney right. I’d rather kiss an old Republican (and everybody knows old Republicans tend to have potbellies and bad haircuts) than concede an argument to *Oatney.
Still, if the balance were to tip either way… The difference of one could have made Second Amendment rights a thing of the past. A difference of one could probably overturn Roe v. Wade. The difference of one is a huge consideration when determining which way to vote. So, this means Liberal and Conservative: you can’t have it both ways? You must consider which types of freedoms you’d like to retain or which thing you’d most like to legally own… the guns or the uterus? And pick.
How likely is that Obama would nominate a conservative jurist for confirmation – or a centrist for that matter? Add to this his “questionable” position on gun-control legislation.
As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right, in the same way that we have a right to private property but local governments can establish zoning ordinances that determine how you can use it.
And remember those claims that a staffer filled out a 1996 survey, which indicated he supported state legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns. (Shh. Let’s not mention that he was interviewed by the survey group about his answers and amended some responses at that time, but this wasn’t one them. I’m sure he probably overlooked those questions. Much like those other times when he misspoke, misstepped, was misunderstood, misquoted by bitter people and/or accidentally said what he really thought.)
You know, my daddy always told me: beware of the man taking backwater. I am.
So yeah, I think this could be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation, and I’m almost riddled with guilt over abandoning the women’s right/personal choice causes, kissing the advocates on the cheek and wishing them good luck before I skip off merrily to go admire my *Smith`n Wessin.
*For the record, Oatney was right, which happens sometimes considering he’s well-versed in politics and quite intelligent. Just don’t tell him I said so.
*UPDATED TO INCLUDE EXPLANATION (at request of Blue Pencil Potentate) : Smith `n Wessin is a common term used in this area. It can mean any Smith and Wesson firearm but is also used by some, usually women, to refer to any type of handgun, whatsoever, at all, no matter who manufactured it.