Justice John Paul Stevens Is Wrong About Gun Rights, Again

Two things jump right out of Justice John Paul Stevens’ lengthy dissent in today’s landmark gun rights decision McDonald v. Chicago. First, Stevens isn’t backing down from his error-riddled dissent in D.C. v. Heller, where he asserted that the Second Amendment secures only a collective right to keep and bear arms, not an individual one. Here’s a relevant passage from Stevens’ McDonald dissent:

the Second Amendment differs in kind from the Amendments that surround it, with the consequence that its inclusion in the Bill of Rights is not merely unhelpful but positively harmful to petitioners’ claim.  Generally, the inclusion of a liberty interest in the Bill of Rights points toward the conclusion that it is of fundamental significance and ought to be enforceable against the States.  But the Second Amendment plays a peculiar role within the Bill, as announced by its peculiar opening clause.  Even accept­ing the Heller Court’s view that the Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms disconnected from militia service, it remains undeniable that “the purpose for which the right was codified” was “to prevent elimination of the militia.”

Second, Stevens has endorsed Chicago’s misguided argument that the states should be allowed to “experiment” on the Second Amendment as part of their role as “laboratories of democracy.” Here’s Stevens again:

even apart from the States’ long history of firearms regulation and its location at the core of their
police powers, this is a quintessential area in which federalism ought to be allowed to flourish without this Court’s meddling. Whether or not we can assert a plausible constitutional basis for intervening, there are powerful reasons why we should not do so.

As a legal authority for this claim, Stevens cites Justice Louis Brandeis’ famous dissent in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932). The trouble with Brandeis' argument—as I’ve previously discussed—is that the Supreme Court would never allow Chicago to "experiment" on the First Amendment, so there’s no legitimate reason why the Second Amendment should receive any less respect. Thankfully, Stevens’ hostility to gun rights is once again the minority view.

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  • Michael Ejercito||

    How can an enumerated right not be fundamental?

  • mattrue||

    When ideology is more important than sworn duty.

  • A. douche||

    When teh children need our protection.

  • ||

    Uh, Fifth Amendment right to grand jury indictment? Learn some ConLaw, helps when you try to present an intelligent argument.

  • ||

    Would you recommend ConLaw over the actual Constitution and the auxillary writings of the Framers?

    Serious question.

  • JB||

    Stevens is a stupid fuck who doesn't understand basic grammar.

    Hey Supreme Court retarded fuckbag, ever hear of an independent clause?

  • West Texas Boy||

    the Supreme Court would never allow Chicago to "experiment" on the First Amendment

    Hence the man from Chicago is intent on experimenting with it himself.

  • ||

    The term "collective right" is oxymoronic gibberish. Has anybody ever even attempted to write a coherent definition of this beast, describe its origins, explain its application?

  • ||

    The only "collective" I know of in your society is the government. When someone says it is a "collective right" they are saying on the government has the right to do it but you don't. When you consider that the Bill of Rights is a collection of restrictions on government powers, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

    It also leads to all sorts of other nonsensical conclusions. If the right to bear arms is just a collective right of the states to keep a militia, then is the commerce clause a "collective right" of the federal government? At best it is just a stupid way of saying "designated power of the government".

  • ||

    Yeah. My personal opinion is that it is just a bullshit term that anti-gunners have pulled out of their collective asses. But if there is really such a thing I think it would be interesting to hear them explain it, point me to scholarly works such as one can find on individual rights, show proof that the drafters of the 2nd Amendment believed in it, etc.

  • Zeb||

    Should it be "callective asses" or "collective ass"? I am trying to imagine what form the collective singular ass of the anti-gun crowd would take.

  • ||

    "Collective ass" seems to imply that they have but one ass between them. Interesting.

  • ||

    They have a "collective" right to an ass, but to only one ass. Simple.

  • ||

    By collective, they mean a group of people, like a mob. Only mobs have a right to bear arms. ;-)

  • ||

    No, a mob is still a set of individuals. The entire country must have a gun for anyone to have a gun. It's like gum in grade school "I sure hope you brought enough for everyone..."

    Imagine a collective right to free speech. You can say anything you want as long as you say it in chorus with everyone else. The whole country becomes Glee.

  • ||

    You didn't take my post seriously did you? My joke is that if they believed what they say, they would have to acknowledge that a mob has a right to guns.

  • ||

    Sorry, riffing on your comment, not disagreeing.

  • Old Mexican||

    You cannot make jokes about a very serious matter.

    And of course raving mobs have a right to bear arms collectively - we call these mobs (with a morbid sense of humor) "police."

  • ||

    Another issue is, how do you define a "militia?" Before the Civil War, just about anybody could get hold of some guns and some uniforms and call themselves a militia. Some were actually recognized by their states, others weren't. During the course of the war, Union militias mostly got absorbed into the Federal volunteer forces. After the war there were still state militias and eventually the National Guard - which the "collective right" supporters take to be our modern equivalent (practically and legally) of the Framers' minute-man militias.

    I guess my question is, where in Federal law does it say that the National Guard and ONLY the National Guard constitutes the United States' militia force? Is it actually illegal for groups of citizens to form their own volunteer militias independent of state or Federal government? And by that I mean people who are really interested in being citizen-soldiers - not people who think the End Times are coming or who want to fight the New World Order. Or doesn't the government distinguish between them?

  • strat||

    It doesn't. In fact, many people on this list are probably members of the "unorganized militia" as defined by the U.S. Code.

    "§ 311. Militia: composition and classes
    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

    (b) The classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia."

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Your anarchist shtick fails to amuse.

  • alan||

    Thugswarms.

    Legal Notice: By clicking that link you absolve me of any responsibility for any actions you take or participate in given the content of said article drove you to insanity.

  • alan||

    In answer to Old Mexican above.

  • Llama Face||

    All the more reason to have guns.

  • x,y||

    I know there's a long tradition of this, but I can't help but laugh at folks who, when it suits their purposes, claim fealty to precedent, but who, when it does not, cite dissenting opinions as authority.

    Eat shit, JPS.

  • Patrick||

    Stevens isn’t backing down from his error-riddled dissent in D.C. v. Heller, where he asserted that the Second Amendment secures only a collective right to keep and bear arms, not an individual one.

    He backed down at around 11:15 am. Now Kagan will have to carry his water.

  • ||

    The trouble with Brandies' argument


    Deliberating Under the Influence?

  • richsurfin||

    I fully support individual rights to gun ownership but still wonder; if not for the 14th Amendment, would it apply to the states?
    Seems the US Constitution origially applied to the federal gov't and the states each had their own constitutions.
    That being so, the 2nd Amendment prevented the federal gov't from denying or limiting gun ownership, not the states. Until the 14 Amendment, thank God.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I fully support individual rights to gun ownership but still wonder; if not for the 14th Amendment, would it apply to the states?


    Barron v. Mayor of Baltimore

  • ||

    The individual States, for the most part, had a "Bill of Rights" in the State Constitution. Hence the original argument about the lack of a Bill of Rights in the original Constitution. The Constitution gave the Federal Government no power to interfere with rights at the State level, so the argument went that they could not infringe on those Rights. (Try that argument now). The first Amendments to The Constitution were more to ease everybody's mind about the power being granted to the Federal Government.

    As it turns out, it's good they did that.

  • ||

    Where do you find these people? We risked our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor, for this???

  • ||

    +20

  • John Adams||

    "Now posterity, you will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it."

    Ungrateful bastards.

  • guy in the back row||

    the Second Amendment differs in kind from the Amendments that surround it, with the consequence that its inclusion in the Bill of Rights is not merely unhelpful but positively harmful to petitioners’ claim

    That takes some serious hubris, deciding there is something different for one right than for the others around it.

  • ||

    If Stevens has an issue with the Bill of Rights, he can take that up with the framers. In due time.

    May hell for Stevens be an eternity of being kick in the balls by Madison and Jefferson.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Our you sure that isn't hell for Madison and Jefferson? I mean...eternity of having to look at Stevens' balls! Ouch.

  • Tman||

    Well thank God there will be a liberty-respecting nominee to replace Stevens.

  • Bob #2||

    With such sublime legal opinions written by someone on the SCOTUS, the dysfunctional system that would allow someone like Stevens within 50 miles of DC: in the US-as-Republican-Rome timeline I've seen repeatedly, are we at the stage after Sulla but before Caesar?

  • Bob #2||

    ... SCOTUS, regarding the...

    My own proofreading capabilities seem to be dysfunctional, too.

  • ||

    Collective right is one of the dumbest ideas ever uttered. That he and everyone who managed to say it with a straight face have not become the laughingstock of the entire country is a grave failing on our part as a civilization.

  • ||

    Collective rights are things like taxes. We have a collective right to steal each other's money for dubious purposes.

  • ||

    I wonder if a coherent case could be made that collective rights (assuming they could be defined) are the same as positive rights.

    One problem I see off the bat: What is a positive right to keep and bear arms? Maybe that they have to be provided by the government through taxation? That if one person can afford to buy himself a gun, then we must all pay taxes to ensure everyone has a gun?

    Let's see what the Obamacare fucknuts think of that.

  • ||

    Freedom of the press is a collective right. Therefore, we all need our own newspapers.

  • robc||

    Freedom of Assembly is a collective right, its not really assembling if no one else shows up.

  • ||

    It has a collective purpose in some sense, but it's really an individual right.

  • ||

    You don't need a parade permit to jaywalk all by yourself.

  • ||

    Yeah, that's what that biatch in Seattle said to the cop!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: robc,

    Freedom of Assembly is a collective right, its not really assembling if no one else shows up.

    You're equivocating. The two concepts - "Freedom to Assemble" and "assembling" - are totally different. One refers to the possibility of decision, the other to the action.

  • ||

    robc, a less flippant answer...

    You might be onto something there. The right to assemble is the right to assemble in public places for some purpose. An assembly has to be more than one and the place be one held collectively for the people (otherwise it's trespass or on private property by consent--one is not covered and the other makes the right irrelevant.)

    When does a group of individuals become a collective working concert?

    Has anyone ever successfully used right of assembly to fight curfew and loitering laws?

  • ||

    Has anyone ever successfully used right of assembly to fight curfew and loitering laws?

    Not likely, since some BS compelling state interest would probably trump that right, in the view of the courts.

    Even though it shouldn't.

  • Paul||

    Collective rights are things like taxes. We have a collective right to steal each other's money for dubiouspublic purposes.

    Now it's legal.

  • ||

    Publicly dubious purposes.

  • ||

    Or, perhaps, dubiously public purposes.

  • ||

    But the Federal Government is specifically empowered to collect taxes. Spelled out in the Powers of Congress, so it might well be a collective right.

  • ||

    But until the 16th Amendment, an income tax was unconstitutional, because it was an unapportioned tax.

  • ||

    The other funny part is that they don't even believe in the concept. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if a state government were to actually do that? Raise and arm its own militia, outside of the control of the U.S. DOD?

    The first thing the antis would do is shit themselves. When they were finished doing that, they'd loudly shriek that the state militia is thoroughly illegal (completely ignoring what they just said about "collective rights").

  • ||

    They really have to torture logic to get to collective gun rights. They have to ignore the nature of the militia at the time, the documentation of the reasoning that went into the negotiation of the phrasing, plain reading of the words in 1770s English, ignore English Common Law... basically reject everything but what they want.

    I think the Amendment could be better written (I would have stuck to the "Make no law" structure"). I've said it before, but the Founding Fathers just never took into account that 1) people would want to take away other people's personal and hunting guns and 2) that a bunch of people would want to give up a fundamental right over what amounts to a culture war fueled by ignorance and bigotry.

  • Warty||

    I dunno. They were less than a hundred years removed from the Glorious Revolution, and 140 or so from the English Civil War. I have a hard time believing that they couldn't conceive that the government might want to disarm its populace.

    Of course, maybe they assumed that only a Papist king would want to do such a thing.

  • ||

    No, I mean that they couldn't conceive that people would want to surrender their right to keep and bear arms.

  • Paul||

    No, I mean that they couldn't conceive that people would want to surrender their right to keep and bear arms.

    People don't want to surrender their right to keep and bear arms. The government wants the people to surrender their right to keep and bear arms.

  • ||

    There are a lot of individuals that want to take away the right to keep and bear arms. It's not something douche politicians came up with out of thin air. But it's not enough to not own a gun yourself; you fight to make that decision for other people.

  • Ivan||

    "There are a lot of individuals that want to take away MY right to keep and bear arms".

  • ||

    People don't want to surrender their right to keep and bear arms.

    About 40% - 45% of the populace disagrees with you.

  • Warty||

    Maybe, but since the founders were all quite well-read in history, and human nature never changes, I imagine they were well aware of how craven people are.

  • ||

    True. But it always seemed to me that the FFs understood that government was always a separate, almost alien entity over the people. Which makes perfect sense when you've dealt with a monarchy.

    They attempted to make it less so by making the government up with people. Yet the Bill of Rights makes it clear that they still didn't trust even the structure they were creating. They obviously understood a simple fact that even today it's hard to grasp: Recognizing that everyone has (negative) rights doesn't keep fools from denying them. And so they spelled them out. In fairly plain language if you read anything else from the time. Almost like they were talking to children.

    They just didn't didn't spell them out well enough to anticipate the rise of the modern superidiot.

  • Warty||

    I think what they didn't anticipate was that the superidiots would have suffrage.

  • ||

    They just didn't didn't spell them out well enough to anticipate the rise of the modern superidiot.

    No, they didn't spell them out well enough to prevent really smart people who vehemently disagreed with them from subverting what they said.

  • ||

    """They really have to torture logic to get to collective gun rights."""

    The tortured part is that they think collectives are not made up with individuals. Which you mentioned up thread.

    We all have a right to guns, wait, Smith went to the restroom, the right is suspended until he comes back.

  • Warty||

    "Freedom From Want" is my favorite pseudoright. Fuck you, FDR, you crippled fucking zombie.

  • ||

    I love want. It gives me motivation to have a job.

    I can't imagine a world without it.

  • robc||

    Isnt that basically the thesis of Human Action. Well, replace want with "lack of contentment". The concept being that contentment == inaction, people only act because there is something they want.

  • ||

    ""Isnt that basically the thesis of Human Action.""

    I think so.

    I've never understood those who think the world could be, or should be, absent of want.

  • Zeb||

    Such positive rights always basically come down to a right for other people to be compelled to give you stuff for free. Which is pretty fucking convoluted and absurd. Using the word "rights" this way basically strips the word of any meaning at all.

  • ||

    Well, I gues they cant be right all the time LOL

    Lou
    www.real-anonymity.se.tc

  • The Gobbler||

    no, I gues they can't.

  • ||

    Glen Reneyolds makes a great point

    "Fifth, and personally, I’d like to note that a lot of “respectable” commentators were, just a few years ago, calling the individual-rights theory of the Second Amendment absurd, ridiculous, and something that only (probably paid) shills for the NRA would espouse. (I’m talking to you, Garry Wills and Robert Spitzer, among others). Yet it is impossible to read this opinion, and the Heller opinion, and conclude that the individual right is really just a “fraud” concocted by the NRA. So were those who were saying so until quite recently being dishonest, or merely inexcusably ignorant?"

    http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/101976/

  • Jeffersonian||

    Shoving it up the gun-grabbers' collectiv(ist) ass is just good sense today.

  • ||

    lol

  • Warty||

    "The second amendment is fundamentally different from the ones surrounding it, because guns are icky."

  • Astrid||

    +1

    That's really what it comes down to for them.

  • Brett L||

    Well, it's hard to tell. They may feel its okay to quarter troops during peacetime, they just don't have to defend it.

  • Tom Jeffersizzle||

    Not really sure how the Bill of Rights (federal) can be bumped by state law. Didn't we put in that supremacy clause thingie?

  • Paul||

    the Second Amendment differs in kind from the Amendments that surround it

    We don't have to read any further...

  • Old Mexican||

    the Second Amendment differs in kind from the Amendments that surround it, with the consequence that its inclusion in the Bill of Rights is not merely unhelpful but positively harmful to petitioners’ claim.

    Translation: I second-guess the Framers and the whole Constitutional Amendment Process because I'm smarter than all the rubes we rule over.

  • Old Mexican||

    It's also quite interesting that Justice Stevens would argue that a particular Constitutional Amendment is "detrimental" to a petitioner's cause. Just which Amendments would you NOT find detrimental for the State's power grabs, Justice Stevens?

  • ||

    Exactly. Which other parts of the Constitution you swore to uphold are you willing to throw under the bus, John Paul?

  • Paul||

    I'm smarter than all the rubes we rule over.

    No... it's a "Living Constitution...WEEEEEEEeeeeeeeee!" and therefore whatever was in there two hundred years ago doesn't matter and now means what five votes want it to mean.

  • ||

    Get a a load of this steaming pile of Stevens crap and the Scalia take down.

    "[Stevens] describes as “an important tool for guiding judicial discretion” “sensitivity to the interaction between the intrinsic aspects of liberty and the practical realities of contemporary society.” Post, at 24. I cannot say whetherthat sensitivity will really guide judges because I have no idea what it is."

    As best as I can figure it, sensitivity to the "interaction between the intrinsic aspects of liberty and the practical realities of contemporary society." means we only have the rights that Stevens or his ilk say we have, regardless of what that inconvenient document says.

  • Joe||

    I wonder how he squares that opinion with the thorough smackdown the government got for proposing a similar balancing test for the 1st Amendment in US v. Stevens:

    "Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs."

  • ||

    "Practical realities of contemporary society" = "whatever the left-liberals of the moment think the government should do."

  • ||

    So, does this mean that Stevens would have ruled differently in the Raich case if he'd applied his "let's let'em experiment" arguement to the Raich case? After all, it is the Federal gov't that's interfereing with the state's medical MJ "experiments" (no pun intended).

    Standing up for the "little guy" can be so complicated sometimes, I guess.

  • Shannon Love||

    The primary fatal flaw in Stevens argument is that the in 1792, the word "militia" in no way implied a formal standing organization of a government or even government sanction at all.

    Up until the end of the Civil War, a militia was assumed to composed of the adult men of a community who formed usually ad hoc military units to respond to some immediate crisis. The writings of the time are full of references such as, "The people of community-X formed a militia to respond to emergency-Y". The idea that an armed response could only be conducted under the formal and preexisting aegis of the state would have been laughable (and wholly unpractical in a world in which it took 6 weeks to travel between New York and Pittsburgh.)

    If, as Stevens asserts, the point of the second amendment is to preserve "militias" then it does explicitly protect the right of any individual with the franchise to own weapons because that was the population that composed the militia in time of the Founders.

    "Regulated" is another word that has shifted meaning. Our modern usage of "regulation" to mean government oversight is a distinctly 20th century usage. In the usage of the time, the use of "regulated" did not mean "under the control of centralized authority." In 1792, "well regulated" meant orderly, organized,self-disciplined and effective. It draws from the same sense of the word as in "regular" versus "irregular." Military units that could maintain formation and form straight (regular) battlelines, where "regular" (literally "straight lined) and those that could not where "irregular" (non-straight.) Our modern usage actually arose from that military term of art when professional military units proved more regulated than those comprised of citizen soldiers.

    "Free State" has also shifted. In 1792, the phrase is used not to indicate a "free government" because they did not believe that governments created freedom. Instead the phrase meant in modern usage, "a state of freedom." The writings of the founders continuously use the term in phrases such as "a man beyond the bounds of civilization lives in a free state."

    So, the first phrase of the second amendment reads in modern usage

    "As organized and effective military units of private citizens (militias) are necessary to preserve a condition of individual freedom, the Federal government cannot restrict the right of individuals to own and use weapons."

    The 14th amendment extended that ban on government power to all state and local jurisdictions.

    Leftists need a lesson in etymology. The meaning and context of the Second Amendment in the time of the Founding is perfectly clear.

  • ||

    To quote my own earlier response to someone:

    'Another issue is, how do you define a "militia?" Before the Civil War, just about anybody could get hold of some guns and some uniforms and call themselves a militia. Some were actually recognized by their states, others weren't. During the course of the war, Union militias mostly got absorbed into the Federal volunteer forces. After the war there were still state militias and eventually the National Guard - which the "collective right" supporters take to be our modern equivalent (practically and legally) of the Framers' minute-man militias.

    'I guess my question is, where in Federal law does it say that the National Guard and ONLY the National Guard constitutes the United States' militia force? Is it actually illegal for groups of citizens to form their own volunteer militias independent of state or Federal government? (And by that I mean people who are really interested in being citizen-soldiers - not people who think the End Times are coming or who want to fight the New World Order. Or doesn't the government distinguish between them?)'

    Just because (in liberals' opinion) having a National Guard means there's no longer a *need* for "every able-bodied man" militias, that doesn't mean don't or can't exist.

  • ||

    As Shannan points out above, in the 18th Century, there was time for a state run organized millitia like today's national guard to form up and do any good. So, the militia was literally the adult mails of the town getting together to defend the place from attacks by Indians or foreign powers.

    We don't have the comparable need today. But, states have emergency statutes that allow for the emergency deputizing of citizens during times of civil emergency. And if there is a need, there is nothing to say people cannot get together and patrol their own neighborhoods and towns during times of emergency. Indeed, that often happens during hurricanes and floods and other natural disasters.

  • ||

    RD Dean cited a law in another thread that said basically every man in the US between the age of 18 and 45 IS IN the "militia" right now, so the "militia: you ain't in it" argument falls flat on its face.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    the adult mails of the town

    They had severely plain brown paper packaging then too? Well, I'll be damned!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Tell that to the fucking cop who drew down with his 12g on me after Hurricane Andrew simply for being in my own fucking front yard during the curfew.

    I'll never forgive that cock sucker for making an innocent 16 year old proverbially shit his pants for the gall of standing in his own front yard.

    My point is that I guarantee you that if I had a weapon and was acting under the auspices of protecting my own home, I sure would have been either arrested or shot.

  • ||

    Federal law states:

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

  • ||

    Well, at least I know one thing: I'm too old to be a member of the militia, organized or unorganized.

    Does that mean I'm not allowed to own a gun?

    Jesus, this gets silly after a while...

  • ||

    Thank you, Shannon.

  • ||

    Complete and utter nonsense: taking lessons from Justice Scalia, I see?

  • ||

    argue like reasonable adults

    Yes, please do: what exactly is "nonsense" about her post?

  • Neu Mejican||

    The meaning and context of the Second Amendment in the time of the Founding is perfectly clear.

    If you look at the various versions of the amendment as it developed during its drafting, I think it weakens your case.

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

    Seems like a pretty clear refutation of your reading of "Free State" and points to the idea of a centralized control of the militia.

    The individual right is there, but in the final version it gets muddled and it is the unclear wording that has led to much of the controversy.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    So you're suggesting that an abandoned draft is what we should look to to get meaning?

    That sort of interpretation is only useful in determining writing process, not meaning.

  • ||

    And BTW, I think a judge talking about "experimenting" with a constitutional Amendment is extremely frightening.

  • ||

    In my opinion, the reason we have Reserves and the National Guard is so the military doesn't have to train and equip a bunch of half-assed volunteers every time we have a war. That doesn't mean the military will never *need* a bunch of half-assed volunteers...

  • strat||

    There are a number of formal "state militias," with varying degrees of recognition by their governors/legislatures. Look up "Virginia Defense Force" for one example.

    Their charter is to perform the duties of the National Guard at home when the NG is deployed (don't get me started), and to protect NG facilities.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    So if I understand the SCOTUS, if not JPS specifically, correctly, emanations of penumbras are enough to shut down experiments in federalism in some areas while explicitly mentioning a right in the BoR is positively harmful for shutting down experiments in federalism in other areas?

  • Warty||

  • ||

    First, you achieve what this man achieved in his life, then you get to call him "stupid" and "evil."
    Learn how to argue like reasonable adults, not like assholes (although based on your message I think I am too late with my advice).

  • Warty||

    You forgot to say "for a magazine called Reason...", shitfuck. Go fuck yourself.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I always felt this needs to be read as a paragraph:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 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.

    Of course, you can split it up in a variety of ways.

    One that seems to make sense is

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

    With some changes due to punctuation needs you then get:

    Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 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 think this places the appropriate emphasis on WHY there is a second amendment. It is not for "self-protection" in the sense of citizen's protecting themselves from each other. It is there to protect citizen's from the government as they petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  • juris imprudent||

    Yep, Stevens was wrong in McDonald, but damn if he wasn't right in Bilski.

  • Ivan||

    Imagine what the outcome of this case would have been if Kerry would have been elected instead of Bush. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Bush fan, but I do understand that presidential elections have consequences. Namely, who nominates people to the Supreme Court, for no other reason I do not recommend a "no vote" or a "throw away vote". (I have to admit that I do not always practice what I preach.)

  • ||

    Indeed.
    I wasn't much of a fan of GWB, but I will always be thankful he was in office instead of Gore to give us his USSC nominees. Although, who can explain Meirs?

  • ||

    Justice Scalia's concurring opinion is almost exclusively devoted to demolishing the absurdity of Steven's opinion.

    It is the legal equivalent of a "you hypocritical moron" letter.

    There is even at least one laugh out loud line for those willing to actually read the opinion. (I won't quote it because it would not have the same effect out of the full context.)

  • mad libertarian guy||

    He was absolutely vitriolic in his tear down of Stevens, perhaps unneedfully so.

    It seems that this opinion is his farewell adieu rather than your average opinion. It seems he has no regard whatsoever for Stevens or his opinions.

    He also comes off as quite humble in his opinion of his station as a justice as hear tears down Stevens' absurd notion of local judicial restraint when deciding gun rights applicability.

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