Andrew Sullivan Is Wrong About the Supreme Court and Guns

In a long post titled “The Tea Party’s Fatal Delusion,” Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan takes aim at the “spasm of ideological abstraction and purism” which he says has gripped the American right since 2008 and manifested itself in all sorts of regrettable ways, from “draconian anti-illegal-immigration initiatives” to “the total denial of climate change.” I agree with some of Sullivan’s criticisms of the modern conservative agenda and disagree with others, but when it comes to his take on the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment he couldn’t be more wrong. According to Sullivan, the right’s current “spasm” has included “a Supreme Court happy to find radical new interpretations of the Constitution” such as “turning the Second Amendment into something more radical than anything previously contemplated.”

Sullivan refers here to District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 decision where the Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right—not a collective one—to keep and bear arms. For an allegedly radical piece of conservatism, the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment has a curiously distinguished list of liberal admirers. Among them are Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, a longtime friend and adviser to Barack Obama, whose influential legal textbook American Constitutional Law was revised back in 2000 to endorse the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment. The two previous editions, published in 1978 and 1988, respectively, had argued that the Second Amendment protected only a collective right, but subsequent legal scholarship prompted Tribe to change his mind. “My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Tribe later admitted to The New York Times. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.” Not exactly the words of a deranged Tea Party extremist.

Other liberal supporters of the “radical” individual rights interpretation include Yale law professor Akhil Reed Amar, one of the most respected progressive legal historians at work today, who has argued that the Second Amendment secures a “core right to self-protection,” and University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson, whose pioneering 1989 Yale Law Journal article "The Embarrassing Second Amendment" argued that it was time for liberals to take the entire Bill of Rights seriously.

In other words, several decades worth of legal scholarship and activism by players of all political stripes helped create the intellectual consensus that culminated in the Heller decision. It was no right-wing “spasm.”

Finally, in regards to Sullivan’s dubious assertion that Heller turned “the Second Amendment into something more radical than anything previously contemplated,” I submit these decidedly non-radical words from Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the Heller majority:

Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

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  • ||

    Even beyond this, the individual rights interpretation of Heller was basically the assumed meaning of the amendment throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Problem is that the entire Bill of Rights was pretty much unlitigable until (a) the incorporation doctrine arose, and (b) the federal govt started exercising police powers rather than enumerated ones.

  • 2A = Egalitarian Clause||

    Humans are egalitarian, and evolved so. In fact, it is probably our most important survival trait making us unique among animals.

    Egalitarianism has to do with socio-political power, and the Second Amendment is an attempt to create an Egalitarian Society.

    So I call the 2A the Egalitarian Clause of the Constitution.

    That really pisses off everybody, liberals and conservatives alike, at the Thanksgiving table.

    Liberals don't like me grabbing the egalitarian paddle (they think it is all their's) and spanking them with it, especially with GUNS. OMG!

    And even though Conservatives call guns "equalizers," egalitarian sounds too...um, something or another...to them. (Who was it that said all stupid people are conservative?)

    So, White Indian says: Gambol with EGALITARIAN CLAUSE.

    And remember where it came from:

    Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World
    by Jack Weatherford (professor of anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota)
    www.amazon.com/Indian-Givers-I.....0449904962

  • ||

    Equal rights under the law does not equal Egalitarianism. At least in the sense liberals would force egalitarian outcomes on society which by its very nature means treating people unequally to rig the game.

  • fyngyrz||

    Individual or collective is a smoke screen. The government has zero authorization to infringe on any citizen's right to keep or carry. End of story. Period. It's absolutely rock solid. It only requires the ability to think. Everything else is government malfeasance, oath-breaking and worse. Heller was the right decision for entirely the wrong reasons (and reading the moronic dribble penned by Scalia vis Heller is simply a demonstration that complete idiots can get on the court.)

    In detail, on Heller: http://fyngyrz.com/?p=60

  • ||

    Sullivan likes to paint himself as a small-ish government moderate, but in fact he can be a shockingly bad champion of big state malfeasance. I had the same trepidations when he came out in favor of the health care "reform" of 2010.

  • Suki||

    Sullivan's entire argument is someone changed his mind. I can't wait for his article about Newton vs. gravity.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You had me at "Andrew Sullivan is wrong".

    ...that it was time for liberals to take the entire Bill of Rights seriously.

    The dirty secret (which isn't all that much of a secret after the response to Citizens United) is that the left doesn't take much of the Bill of Rights seriously.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Left nor right. Progressives all.

    If we were talking MLB or NFL breaking rules like the government does, there would be riots.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We all know the right can be wonderfully statist, but there was a narrative out there that the left were rabid civil libertarians.

  • T||

    Propagated by the left to make themselves look better. It didn't ever have much basis in fact.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I love the look on people's faces when they hear MLK was a Republican. Or tell them the story of (staunch Republican) Branch Rickey breaking the color barrier by bringing Jackie Robinson up from the Negro Leagues.

    Of course they also doubt me when I tell them about Peter Salem, hero of Bunker Hill.

  • RoboCain||

    Historically, Republicans have done way more for civil rights than Democrats. Although neither side has done much of anything in forty years.

  • ||

    No one but the sheep base of TEAM BLUE ever believed that, dude.

  • Tony||

    What gives you the impression that we aren't? That we don't appease your emotional hangups by rejecting Obama for [insert imperfection]?

    Liberals believe in civil liberties and we believe they should actually exist for people, unlike libertarians who are fine having the vast majority of the population in possession of merely theoretical rights.

  • Jordan||

    There isn't a civil liberty you wouldn't sacrifice for "the common good" which can mean absolutely anything. You've written in support of campaign finance reform laws, gun control laws, compulsory education (with what constitutes education being left up to the majority, rather than the parents), and compulsory purchase of health insurance, among other things. You are no friend of liberty.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If leftists believe in any liberties, it's those of the collective. Unsanctioned individual choice is a direct assault on the group's rights.

  • cynical||

    Untrue.

    What constitutes education will be left up to experts appointed by politicians selected by party machines.

    The politicians will be voted on by a plurality of the electorate within a geographical region chosen on the basis of power-mongering rather than community.

    That plurality will likely be far less than a majority of the electorate, which will in turn be only a portion of the populace.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Liberals believe in civil liberties and we believe they should actually exist for people, unlike libertarians who are fine having the vast majority of the population in possession of merely theoretical rights.

    Can I ask you to clarify what you mean by that?

  • RoboCain||

    I think it means he is trolling.

  • Uncle Joe||

    "Liberals believe in civil liberties and we believe they should actually exist for people"

    (except when we have a Democrat in the white house who doesn't give a shit about them when he actually has the power to show how much of a civil liberties champion he really is, and except when others actually call us out on our hypocritical bullshit. In that case it is more important to state that we don't cater to expectations of others that we actually put our money where our mouth is, while still delusionally maintaining that we believe in the very civil liberties that we refuse to actually demand from our own president)

  • ||

    Tony said,


    Liberals believe in civil liberties and we believe they should actually exist for people

    Liberal ignorance and intellectual cocooning is the only thing that allows them to say they believe in civil liberties without laughing out loud.

    Because when you look at the policies liberals support there is no doubt liberals believe in and actively support an all powerful state that meddles in almost every aspect of peoples lives.

    The idea that liberals support civil liberties is laughable

    The idea tends to be that while liberals want to tell you what insurance to buy, how much salt, fat, and what kinds of fat you can use in cooking, what kinds of lightbulbs you can use, how much water you can use each time you flush, how much carbon you can exhale, and at what point you’ve made enough money and need to have it spread around, conservatives don’t want you to have sex with other men.

    So the two sides are basically the same, you see.
  • Devil's Advocate||

    Translation - "I am OK with being part of a political human centipede as long as a member of Team Blue is the one up front."

  • Libertarian=StatistProgressive||

    How many libertarians have told me of the wonderful progress bestowed upon humanity by the City-State (civilization)?

    Libertarians are as much Statist and Progressive and those they whine about.

  • Maxxx||

    The dirty secret (which isn't all that much of a secret after the response to Citizens United) is that the left doesn't take much of the Bill of Rights seriously.

    The problem is they don't take the constitution seriously, not just the bill of rights.

  • cynical||

    Not true, they take the part of the Bill of Rights that mentions abortion very seriously.

  • ||

    LOL. touche

  • k2000k||

    A lot of what I read from those liberal judges was less than rousing support for the 2nd Amendment. I'm glad they are starting to see the light, but we still have a long way to go...

    Ultimately I think the ruling on the 2nd amendment was less about rights and more about the reality that there is no way this country would be able to peacefully disarm near 100 million people. Ain't no putting the tooth paste back in the tube.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    There was always a long-suppressed backlash against the Bush era of massive debt, reckless spending, and unwinnable land-wars. And there was also a cultural panic at a biracial president and the new America he represented.

    You can be opposed to a man's policy choices without being a rac-

    Oh, fuck it.

  • RoboCain||

    LOL

  • ||

    Let me help build a template for future articles about Sullivan...

    "Andrew Sullivan Is Wrong About "

    "In a long post titled Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan takes aim at the which he says has gripped the American right since and manifested itself in all sorts of regrettable ways, from

    Think of it as a Mad Lib...

    Youre welcome...

  • ||

    Can anybody tell me what the fuck this guy's political principles are? He's for pointless wars overseas, unless he's against them. He's for individual rights, unless it comes to the economy. He's for limited government, until he's for big government. WTF?

  • marlok||

    Just think of him as a man with histrionic personality disorder and a blog. His laughable punditry will make more sense.

  • ||

    OK thanks, that is quite helpful.

  • ||

    oh no...all of my clever tags didnt appear. Epic fail!

    Trying again...

    Let me help build a template for future articles about Sullivan...

    "Andrew Sullivan Is Wrong About [INSERT ANY TOPIC HERE]"

    "In a long post titled [“INSERT TITLE HERE"] Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan takes aim at the [“whatever he doesn't like that day to include Palin's womb or Tea Party Extremists”] which he says has gripped the American right since [Whatever year he claimed he was no longer a conservative] and manifested itself in all sorts of regrettable ways, from [“use the word theocracy and/or all of it's possible conjugations" or "torture of any capacity" or "Trig Palin"]

    Think of it as a Mad Lib...

    You're welcome...

  • ||

    Holy fuck! People still read Andrew Sullivan!

  • T||

    Well, where else are you going to get the latest gossip and speculation about the wombs of women named Palin?

  • ||

    You know, you missed some really epic movie review threads the last couple weeks, you limey dipshit.

  • ||

    Here, cop this Escape from New York deleted scene (with restored original score) as compensation. :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq9nc3xVQpg

  • RoboCain||

    To his credit, he is a very good aggregator

  • ||

    True - I know he aggregates the hell out of me - but you'd count such a quality as being "to his Credit"?

  • Dave E.||

    Who the hell is this Andrew Sullivan?

  • ||

    Heh.. Next thing you know they'll be quoting "Little Green Footballs"

  • GrizzlyAdam||

    Sullivan is calling others "delusional"?

    Bwahahahahahaha.

  • GW||

    That whole issue was a joke. Anyone who could possibly imagine that the 2nd Amendment is not an individual right needs to be OUT of government. That would invalidate the entire Bill of Rights.

    Reading the dissent in McDonald v. Chicago will show you how out of touch the liberal SCOTUS justices are.

  • Destrudo||

    Yeah. I can't even comprehend how anybody with a brain could, in good faith, argue that this was meant to be a collective right. The idea is just stupid on it's face. Like, what, the founders were worried we might not be able to arm our military because oh noes do they have the right to be armed? Fucking fuck.

    A basic understanding of how clauses function in the English language makes it seem pretty clear it meant individuals have the right to be armed.

  • GW||

    What's worse is what I mentioned above. Heller determined it was an individual right, McDonald determined that the rights established in Heller applied to the states (no kidding). But if you see the crap they tried to pull out of their asses to disagree with that notion, you'd be floored.

  • Uncle Joe||

    The fact that supreme court judges are just a bunch of partisan government hacks looking to subvert constitutional rights comes as a surprise to you?

  • ||

    Naturally, it was a dishonest argument from the get-go. Only willful idiots actually believed it.

    One thing that shocked me some years ago was the realization of how much many leftists despise the common man. I have my share of leftwing friends, and when they let their hair down, they invariably don't show much love for hoi polloi. It's not just statism for the benefit of the little guy; there's a serious desire for authoritarianism, provided that it's the right kind.

  • Authoritarian Corporations||

    Modern Corporations are the most authoritarian organizations on the planet, surpassing their Soviet sister enterprises.

  • R||

    What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • ||

    yeah, they pay you for your services and have the temerity to ask that you do the job the way they want,

  • ||

    And if you don't do the job properly, they send you to the Gulag in Alaska.

  • Uncle Joe||

    Andrew Sullivan?

    Oh, that's the guy that some people (maybe including himself?) at some time or another labelled "libertarian", right?

  • Colin||

    Andrew Sullivan said something stupid -- what a shock.

    The only thing surprising is that he's not working at the Times or at The New Yorker.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Andrew Sullivan vs. Thomas Friedman -

    Who's dumber?

    Andy makes a real run at it, but I still gotta go with Friedman.

    Andy might not be dumb enough for a Times gig yet.

  • cynical||

    Sullivan can be foolish, ignorant, and arrogant.

    Friedman is just plain stupid.

  • X||

    under the collective right theory does that mean countries that don't have a second amendment are in illegal possession of arms?

  • ||

    Yes. Notify the International Court of Justice. They'll get right on it.

  • ¢||

    Andy makes a real run at it, but I still gotta go with Friedman.

    ...until the DRAMATIC REVELATION! that Friedman's weekly adorations of China are really his crazily convoluted way of begging for a billion-man army's protection against Palin's vagina.

    Then we'll understand that he's actually very slightly less fucked up than Sullivan is.

  • Tony||

    The decision did expand the scope of the amendment. But I'm tired of arguing about it and advocate for repeal.

  • GW||

    You want to repeal the 2nd Amendment? Good luck. Might wanna try repealing the 21st Amendment first, because THAT would be a hell of a lot easier.

    Due to the partisan nature of our politics, I doubt we'll EVAR see another Constitutional Amendment that does anything significant.

  • R||

    Actually, the partisan nature of our politics isn't the reason that the 2nd Amendment wouldn't be repealed. The vast majority of Americans - over 70% last time I saw - agrees with the "individual right" interpretation. So, really, the 2nd Amendment is a non-partisan issue. It's one of the few damn things the majority of the nation agrees upon (the other being that Nickleback sucks balls).

  • A Serious Man||

    Opposing the right of people to defend themselves proves beyond any reasonable doubt that liberals are more authoritarian than conservatism. It doesn't matter what you call yourself, advocating that the State and ONLY the State have access to guns is straight-up fascist.

  • Libertarian Fascism||

    Opposing the right of people to move about unrestricted in a Non-State sociopolitical typology proves beyond any reasonable doubt that libertarians are as authoritarian as either liberals or conservatives.

    Repent of your Gambol Lockdown.

  • Tony||

    The state and only the state has access to lots of types of weapons. It invents most of them. If you think the 2A entitles you to commit armed treason (or put you on the same level of force as the state), then how could we possibly justify letting the government have the bigger weapons?

    Only a portion of the spectrum of weapons contains those considered suitable for individual use. If the 2A doesn't permit us to consider drawing the line more strictly than some arbitrary point on that spectrum (not specified in the text), then it is a restriction on freedom.

    In theory it has nothing to do with forbidding self-defense (a primordial part of common law), just limiting the amount of firepower available to both victim and attacker. In practice, given the power of the NRA and the proliferation of guns, it would be impossible to do much wholesale, but that doesn't mean (as Scalia seems perfectly comfortable with) that prudent regulations can't be more strict.

  • ||

    Of course the line has to be drawn somewhere. The most reasonable interpretation I have seen is that 2A guarantees to individual citizens the right to own and use weapons which would commonly be carried and used as a matter of course by individual soldiers (as every eligible citizen was a member of the militia, and expected to own and maintain suitable weapons). So rifles, handguns, shotguns are in. That includes military style rifles, high capacity magazines, and other scary looking stuff.

    Artillery pieces, crew weapons, nuclear bombs, etc not so much.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I've liked R.C. Dean's interpretation of the amendment which IIRC was 'anything the cops get, you get.' So, if the cops are rolling around in M113s with a 50-cal M2 still pintle mounted, so can you.

    WMDs are a bit much, I agree. Arty? I dunno. Do multi-stage model rockets count?

  • fyngyrz||

    Yes, but the correct solution is to amend -- not to make up things in conflict with the amendment and say that's ok. Tony is completely wrong, he doesn't even understand what he read (presuming he's read it, which seems dubious, given his assertions here.)

    This is why article five exists: so when we can agree that something needs changed, we can change it. Not so we can draw arbitrary lines in the sand that step over the authority the constitution actually grants.

    Does *anyone* really think that a proposed amendment to limit biological, chemical, fission and fusion weapons to government hands only would see any significant resistance? Of course not. The only reason not to follow such a course is admitting they need to invalidates a great deal of other constitutional malfeasance they've been guilty of.

  • ||

    Not to mention the cost to have and play with said toys. Ever fire a full auto weapon? At todays prices, one hour of fun could run anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 in small arms ammunition at reatail prices in todays market alone.

    So in reality, very few middle class citizens can afford to have and afford to play. It is mostly the preview of the rich to have and play with said toys.

    Then we have the collectors who have tanks, artillery pieces, quad .50's cool but outrageously expensive to have and maintain, much less fire.

    Then when one considers the cost to have and maintain nukes and other weapons systems in a safe operation, well it is not so much a right to own, its that you cant afford to own without all those necessary maintenance and safety protocols so you yourself dont end up glowing in the dark for 10,000 years.

  • ||

    Note that Tony is bewailing the lack of freedom to pass tyrannical laws.

    That's a new high in clever stupidity, that is.

  • ||

    You think government invents most weapons? Name one.

  • DaveS||

    The hell it did.

    That the 2nd Amendment protected an individual right has been the prevailing view of the citizens for its entire history.

    It has only been in the realm of government that this view has ever been undermined by anything approaching a significant majority.

  • Uncle Joe||

    Congratulations, Tony.

    You have taken the first step in the direction of such fine enlightened nations as Nazi-Germany, Communist China and Stalinist Cambodia.

    How long before you have the confidence to advocate purges or pogroms? Because historically, THAT is what happens after disarming a citizenry.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Don't forget about creepy collectivist England.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Someday, I hope I have the right to defend myself against Tony, in person.

  • Tony's not egalitarian||

    The 2A is the Egalitarian Clause of the Constitution.

    How come you no like egalitarian clause?

    2A heap big medicine against authoritarian hierarchy proponents.

  • AmericansForGunsdotcom||

    Good luck with that, Tony.
    Just slap me awake when you actually can find enough support for repeal.

  • Almanian||

    "Andrew Sullivan Is Wrong..."

    So this is today's Cop-Shoots-Dog story, right?

  • Southerner||

    "Andrew Sullivan Is Wrong..."

    Why say anything more after that? We're already belaboring the obvious.

  • juris imprudent||

    "Andrew Sullivan Is Wrong..."

    And nothing else happened! [tm]

  • ||

    What the fuck, on God's green earth, is a "collective right"?

  • Rights?||

    What the fuck, on God's green earth, is a "right"?

  • fyngyrz||

    A right is a condition that someone with sufficient power deems it worthwhile to enforce, and then follows up and does so. If that is not the case, then what you have is not a right, it is what intelligent people call a "wish."

  • AmericansForGunsdotcom||

    "What the fuck, on God's green earth, is a "collective right"?"
    ====

    Its AssSpeech for "these idiots are too damned stupid to figure out that its not a right at all"

  • ||

    The strange part about the Bill of Rights is that the Second Ammendment is the shortest, most direct and clearly written. Our Founders were quite clear on this issue; even if the debate regarding the ownership and use of arms was more complicated.

    Almost to a person, they were in agreement regarding an armed citizenry and the reason for posession of arms. The debate was over the language to be incorporated.

    For the Progressive Liberals, it's a matter of population control; this was mirrored during the time of the Revoloution regarding control of the nacient United States population by the British Crown. What all Progressives fear is the revolt of the people against the elite. Progressives seek a return (philosophically, if not governing) to the time of the Renissance, when the elites ruled the people and the vast majority of the people existed for the comfortable existence of the elite.

    As the concept of a free citizenry, able to participate in the of their labors for thier own profit and existence evolved; the existence of the Elites became less comfortable. Hence, repressive measures by the Elites to encumber their wealth became commonplace; the repression was stopped by the use of arms for resistance. An armed citizenry is therefore free to enjoy the profits of their labors and the comfort it brings; an equality of existence ensues.

    Does Andrew Sullivan consider himself equal to the OWS people?

  • Libertarians = Progressives||

    At least the keep telling me how much progress their savior the city-State (civilization) has blessed humanity with.

  • fyngyrz||

    Go push some buffalo off a cliff and tell yourself you're living the high life. I'd like to see your sorry ass shivering in a hide tent out here on the plains in -40 degree weather, trying to tell your poor, unfortunate offspring through clattering teeth that the city-state is a bad thing. You're funny, you are.

  • Federal Dog||

    Did Andrew finally find his way out of Sarah Palin's uterus, or did he call this in?

  • ACLU||

    "it was time for liberals to take the entire Bill of Rights seriously."

    Nah nah nah nah!! Not listening!!!

  • Matt C||

    Just would like to mention that I read Sullivan everyday and he makes lens sense every day

  • Matt C||

    Less sense

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    I liked your first go at it better.

  • ||

    A statist troglodyte spoon-feeds himself noxious liberal bullshit concerning one of the most exceptionally retarded notions ever invented by anybody in the history of the world, the "collective right", and convinces himself that one of the most sacred of the fundamental principles of humanity's freest and greatest civilization yet is one of these "collective rights", thereby plunging himself into a moral and logical universe in which the entire founding document of the aformentioned country, its entire structure, its prime, ever-present (if steadily faltering) sociocultural basis, and everything else, ever, that is, or has been, logical or reasonable is completely and utterly disregarded.

    It's called God-awfully fucking retarded. And it's not surprising.

  • ||

    Oh! what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practise to deceive!

  • ||

    *are

    rants, how the fuck do they work?

  • ||

    True rants are full of typos and grammatical errors.

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    Needs more caps to be a proper rant.

  • ||

    And brackets.

  • juris imprudent||

    Brackets - the internet equivalent of spittle.

  • ||

    Eddard Stark's pretty fucking awesome at rants, and HE didn't make any mistakes! What trickery is this?

  • Libertarian Statist Troglodyte||

    loves some Gambol Lockdown.

  • Libertarian Statist Troglodyte||

    says: humanity's freest and greatest civilization

    City-States ain't got nuthin' much free about them, dipshit.

    And if you want to compare the quality of prisons, probably the first civilization, the Sumerian, was the "freest and greatest," just because the hierarchical elite hadn't yet got their boot positioned right on the face of humanity quite as efficiently.

    But, because of Indian influence, American government, at first, was less oppressive than European. That much you can claim, you city-Statist Troglodyte.

  • ||

    What concerns me is how progressives tend to want some of the Constitutional rights, but not all of them. When the U S Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia. Then there were various, wonderful discussion about why the working of the amendment has commas where it does. Its states 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. The commas after a free state and before the right of the people is key. Every book on American history I own that speaks to firearms notes that this goes back to English law and is connected to the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness idea with direct notation that in the English Bill of Rights it includes the proviso that arms must be "allowed by law.

    Don't get me started on the 1st Amendment which states '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.' Something the Tea Party members seem to have understood if one looks at how they organized, had peaceable assemblies and did indeed petition their representatives for redress of grievances. The OWS on the other hand haven't done any of what the Amendment requires.

  • 2A = Egalitarian Clause||

    Humans are egalitarian, and evolved so. In fact, it is probably our most important survival trait making us unique among animals.

    Egalitarianism has to do with socio-political power, and the Second Amendment is an attempt to create an Egalitarian Society.

    So I call the 2A the Egalitarian Clause of the Constitution.

    That really pisses off everybody, liberals and conservatives alike, at the Thanksgiving table.

    Liberals don't like me grabbing the egalitarian paddle (they think it is all their's) and spanking them with it, especially with GUNS. OMG!

    And even though Conservatives call guns "equalizers," egalitarian sounds too...um, something or another...to them. (Who was it that said all stupid people are conservative?)

    So, White Indian says: Gambol with EGALITARIAN CLAUSE.

    And remember where it came from:

    Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World
    by Jack Weatherford (professor of anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota)
    www.amazon.com/Indian-Givers-I.....0449904962

  • Dan||

    Is Sullivan still claiming to be a conservative, or did he finally abandon that pose?

  • DRM||

    The only pose Andrew Sullivan has ever abandoned was the one where his mouth was around George W. Bush's cock.

  • Wayne||

    Well, he seems fascinated with Sarah Palin's VaJayJay as well, so I guess he is bi.

  • Woodpiggie||

    Ask his husband.

  • El Conquistador||

    And then you showed up.

  • pagal||

    I wonder if Tribe is just taking this position to try to make himself more viable as a SCOTUS candidate. He's likely to be on the short list for the next vacancy.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    No, I've been watching this for decades. Tribe began talking this way long ago when the individual right interpretation was still considered very fringe. And it was a long, slow, painful transition for him.

  • pagal||

    Interesting. Thanks. I also looked up some info and found that he's 70 years old. Probably his time has passed for a nomination.

  • ||

    my classmate's mother makes $87 every hour on the computer. She has been without work for 7 months but last month her income was $7500 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this site clockurl.com/k1

  • ||

    Hard liberal former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold also acknowledged that the 2nd Amendment guaranteed an individual right.

  • ||

    longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and "the" mentally ill

    Which of "the" mentally ill? It is identical to "the" Blacks.

    Harold A. Maio
    khmaio@earthlink.net

  • ||

    Sullivan is taking a break from his profession as forensic gynecologist? Who knew?

  • Mike G||

    Conservatives believe the same thing all along. Gaius Baltar changes his mind because it's Thursday, and says they're suddenly having a spasm.

  • ||

    Scalia's dicta regarding all other gun laws on the books, other than DC's handgun ban, is a result of the careful selection of plaintiffs made by lawyer Alan Gura, for the express purpose of getting a "clean" Supreme Court decision on the individual right to keep and bear arms. Scalia's statement is one of fact: the Heller case simply did not address any OTHER gun law than DC's ban, leaving all other gun laws intact. What Heller did NOT do was validate as constitutional all other gun laws, as has been seen more recently in McDonald v. Chicago.

  • ||

    I would gladly trade the second amendment for total compliance with the tenth!

  • ||

    Andrew Sullivan is an admitted "democratic liberal", which translates to "socialist" in real speak. Thus I expect nothing more from him than the same platitudes expressed by others of his ilk.
    Quite why he has a column in the UK Sunday Times (a conservative leaning newspaper) is beyond comprehension.

  • ||

    Why Mikey, that's simple. Because y'all are fervent admirers of milky-white glutes.

  • Woodpiggie||

    OK you liberal constitutional contortionists, go ahead and get your collective, states rights militia interpretation and see what happens. The dreg anti gun states will institute various levels of gun ban laws. Millions of law abiding, productive, tax paying citizens will relocate to pro gun states where elected sherrifs will deputize any law abiding citizen who wants to be deputized, with all the gun rights of a peace officer.
    Meanwhile the aformentioned "dreg states" will descend further into their social and economic hell, having increased their already high proportion of welfare raised, gimmie gimmie Acorn/Obama/Jackson/Sharpton parasites.

  • Jeff||

    I think that even back when the Bill of Rights was written, people instinctively wrote their lists in order of importance. That would make the Second Amendment the second most important issue on their minds. WOW! Amazing what happens when some common sense is applied.

  • لانجري||

    thank you a lotsssssssssssssssssss

  • ||

    Y'know, you could have taken the last six words out of you title and been much more succinct. What's more, it works for 9/10 topics concerning Andrew Sullivan.

  • ||

    What a shame that someone as bereft of wisdom and profundity as Ms. Sullivan is influential to some and must be responded to.

  • ||

    I wonder how Sullivan thinks of declaring the first amendment to be a collective right.

  • ||

    Funny thing, in order for it to be a collective right, it first must exist as an individual right.

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