The Difference of One

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.

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5 thoughts on “The Difference of One

  1. Bullshit, bullshit, and more bullshit.
    This from the woman who berated the know-it-all button-down bar-dwelling pro-lifer with the elephant tie clip to such a degree he later sought therapy? This from the chick who has a rainbow t-shirt bearing the slogan “I Kiss Boys but I’m Down for the Cause” and actually wears it in public?
    You forget I know you quite well. You will bury your guns and ammo in the backyard and abandon nothing. I understand why you’d opt not to write this on your blog.

    David Oatney is well-versed in politics and quite intelligent
    We need to get you out of East Tennessee for a minute. You are starting to lose your mind.

    `n Wessin
    I hate it when you do that.

  2. Pingback: Your Guns Or Your Uterus. Choose One. : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  3. Hey Mia/Dork, see those quilt things? They are derived from your ip address so that people can tell when you do sock puppet posting under different names. Just a friendly head’s up.

    Angie, this is supposedly the first ruling since the founding of the court that addressed the right of the individual people to keep and bear arms. A lot of people over the years have been saying the right only applies to the military, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense really since it goes without saying that any government will consider as a matter of obvious fact that it’s own military has the right to have weapons. (I guess excepting special cases like Iran, call that the bearded ruler exception.)

    There are two scary things here. One is that the vote was so close. 4 of those justices don’t believe the people have such a right. Secondly, in this first decision on the subject, they did add in that they wanted to make clear that the states can restrict ownership from vast classes of people, perhaps including anyone who has ever seen a therapist or counselor or is taking happy pills, and implement licensing, possibly with whatever restrictions they choose.

    So it could also be seen as a step backwards, as it may very well encourage many states to become more restrictive.

  4. Angie I hadn’t seen the Millionaire’s ruling and to be honest I didn’t even know there was such a restriction on self financing.

    Off the top of my head I would say that the Constitution doesn’t say anything about such things, but that Congress certainly does have the Constitutional right to pass laws regulating federal elections. Thus I would wonder what the Court’s argument was here in taking that away. (I haven’t read the decision.)

    On the more general issue of campaign finance reform, the dynamics are complex and chaotic with unexposed agendas and unexpected consequences lurking behind every possible change.
    It’s true that “the rich will have an unchecked advantage in seeking higher office” as the blogger says on the link you have, but on the other hand, I could just as well say that poor candidates or those who choose not to self finance are in general more likely forced to compromise their values by becoming beholden to campaign donors, which is a completely obvious form of bribery and everyone knows it.

    Putting limits on self financing could just mean that a candidate is forced to go begging from dark places to finance a campaign rather than stick to his own values in order to win.

    I’d also have to wonder if a self made rich person like a businessman is less likely to be going into public service in order to fatten his own wallet than a person chosen at random. On the other hand, maybe he is going in to eliminate regulations in his industry or direct taxpayer funds towards no-bid contracts given to his own corporations like we saw with Cheney.

    There are just so many possibilities that I don’t think it’s possible to say with certainty whether any of these moves are good or bad overall, so I’d have to just limit it to a strict look Constitutionally, and in this case it’s a bit weird they are making this decision, but again I haven’t read their reasoning yet.

  5. Skimming it, it seems they are saying that spending or keeping your own money is a first amendment issue that the government can’t regulate. I’m highly skeptical that money is the same as speech in such a broad sense. If it is, then I must have a first amendment right to not pay taxes. Obviously their ruling contradicts previous decisions that people opposed to wars and killing and who object to being forced to pay for wars and killing are definitely not allowed to express these positions by refusing to pay for wars and killing. Also should have a first amendment right to carry $10,001 in cash without having to have some special permit, and while were at it what about the first amendment right to buy illicit drugs, just strike down all those laws since free speech says we can spend our money on anything we want without restriction and no laws can be passed prohibiting this.

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