Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Tells Us What We Already Knew

The United States Supreme Court tells us that we have a constitutional right that (1) we already knew we had, (2) the Constitution plainly states we had, and (3) 200-plus years of a tradition of individual gun ownership in this country attests we had.

Feddie has the details on District of Columbia v. Heller at Southern Appeal: here, here, and here.

Obama's take on the Supreme Court's decision in Heller should be interesting. I'm betting he comes down on the side of not throwing away the "God and guns" vote in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

No sooner had I posted that update above than Christopher Blosser (via email) brought the following to my attention:
Obama Camp Disavows Last Year's 'Inartful' Statement on D.C. Gun Law

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Alexa Ainsworth Report: With the Supreme Court poised to rule on Washington, D.C.'s, gun ban, the Obama campaign is disavowing what it calls an "inartful" statement to the Chicago Tribune last year in which an unnamed aide characterized Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as believing that the DC ban was constitutional.

"That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator's consistent position," Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.

The statement which Burton describes as an inaccurate representation of the senator's views was made to the Chicago Tribune on Nov. 20, 2007.


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At 6/26/2008 10:31 AM, Blogger matthew archbold said...

The decision being only 5-4 scares the heck out of me. That means one more justice on their side and we could be in big trouble. Something tells me "stare decisis" won't stop them from overturning this decision.

At 6/26/2008 10:54 AM, Anonymous Victor said...

Since you're a lawyer, Jay, and I'm not (I also posted this at Feddie's, with a grammar glitch or two edited out here) ...

Is there much common law or jurisprudence on the meaning of the phrase “well-regulated.” While the text of the 2nd Amendment does plainly grant an individual right (and I’m aware that “the militia” means the whole body of free men, not some institutional National Guard-like thingy), the right to keep and bear arms also is alone in the Bill of Rights in being tied specifically to a given end. And an end that, explicitly in the text no less, says it requires state regulation.

The cash value, to this non-lawyer, is that most of the common gun-control measures that exist or are debated (DC’s gun ban being an exception because … well, it was a “ban,” not a regulation) would seem to pass muster as the sort of regulation of the militia that the 2nd Amendment presupposes as explicitly as the 8th Amendment presupposes the death penalty.

At 6/26/2008 11:04 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...


Honestly, I don't know the answer to whether there is much common law jurisprudence on the matter of "well-regulated".

But I have been under the impression for some time (I think because I heard it or read it somewhere) that "well-regulated" is an 18th century term meaning "well-equipped" or "well-ordered" or "up to standard" or something along those lines.

At 6/27/2008 12:37 AM, Blogger Bender said...

Victor, ask the folks in Concord and the militia between Lexington and Concord, just exactly what "well-regulated" means with respect to their stockpiling of guns and ammunition, and the attempt of then-lawful government authorities to seize those guns and ammunition.

If you read your history in even the most cursory way, you will see that the militia most properly fired against the government soldiers.

The militia is NOT a unit of government. It is a unit of society that is totally separate and apart from civil government, whether that government is the Crown or the high-lord and master Anthony Kennedy. And the Second Amendment did NOT create a right to bear arms. The people have a pre-existing natural right to have resource to whatever means are necessary to throw off despotic government. If we do not, then I fear that we owe King George III an apology.

At 6/27/2008 5:37 AM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Excellent comment, Bender. Haven't seen you around in a long time. I hope you're doing well.

At 6/27/2008 1:54 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

Scalia addresses the term, indicating that "well-regulated" merely meant that there was SOME discipline and training.

Beyond that, he dismissed a direct linkage between the prefatory and operative clauses.

IOW, the RKBA has nothing, whatsoever, to do with "militia," whether well-regulated or not.


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