Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Does This Mean The Meaning of the 2nd Amendment Will Finally Be Determined, Once And For All?

Instapundit has the news here, which I reproduce in full:

BIG SECOND AMENDMENT NEWS: "The U.S. Supreme Court said on Tuesday it would decide whether handguns can be banned in the nation's capital, a case that could produce its first ruling in nearly 70 years on the right of Americans to bear arms."

Lots of background information on the Second Amendment here, and there's some discussion of this particular case here -- scroll down toward the end. (It starts at p. 347 in the journal, or p. 14 in your Adobe reader.)

Also, Helen and I interviewed Bob Levy, the brains behind the case, for The Glenn and Helen Show this morning; it'll be up tomorrow.

UPDATE: More at SCOTUSBlog. And here's a copy of the order. The question is phrased as follows: “Whether the following provisions — D.C. Code secs. 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02 — violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?”

It's that last statement that's key. Expect fireworks.


Anonymous said...

Interesting indeed. It has been common for the court to decide contentious issues very narrowly, dealing with only those issues absolutely necessary to decide a given case rather than making broad constitutional pronouncements that have the potential to require substantial changes across the nation. However, since the fundamental, primary issue here is the very heart of the Second Amendment and what it means, it could be very far reaching indeed.

It's hard to imagine that the court could possibly come down on the side of those who argue that "the people" means individuals in every portion of the Bill of Rights except the Second Amendment. That those same anti-gun factions would argue that the Bill of Rights in any part does not speak to individual rights speaks eloquently to their intellectual poverty.

Particularly considering that such liberal legl luminaries as Laurance Tribe, Sanford Levinson and others have concluded that the Second Amendment outlines, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, an individual, not a collective right, it would be odd indeed for the court to rule otherwise.

If the Supreme Court finds for the Constitution in this case, expect the anti-gun forces to merely retool their arguments and pander for Constitutional Amendments, perhaps even a Constitutional Convention. Regardless of a Supreme Court decision, this issue is not going away.

EdWonk said...

I know what to expect.

I expect that the unelected-and-appointed-for-life-and-therefore-unaccountable Supreme Lawmaking Clique masquerading as the Supreme Court of The United States to further curtail our Individual Rights.

They'll "interepret" the Constitution as they see fit.

allenm said...

A little less black-helicopterosity edwonk.

Let us not forget US v. Lopez in which the Supreme Court struck down the "Gun Free Schools Act" handing the anti-gun lobby a nasty surprise but also the left in general since it put the skids on the turning of the Commerce Clause into All-Purpose Clause.

Anonymous said...


When this came up last week someone (I can’t recall who/where) made an interesting point. In US vs. Miller (1939) the court said the states have the power to regulate weapons to insure they were appropriate for a militia.

“In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. “

The particular point he made is the District of Columbia is not a “sovereign” state but a federal district. I wonder how this fact will play in the deliberations.

As if facts and truth will interfere with the court's work!