Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Supreme Court ruling on 2nd amendment proves conservative hypocrisy and dishonesty

When the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision, struck down Chicago's gun ban as violating the 2nd amendment they actually struck a blow for the most far reaching liberal interpretation of the constitution possible. The five members also betrayed themselves as being the most intellectually and constitutionally corrupt justices since 1859 when the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott that "a black man had no rights a white man was bound to respect".

There is not a shadow of doubt, none whatsoever, that the 2nd amendment as written and as intended by the Founders has nothing to do with an individual right to own a gun. That is absolute and not open to the slightest interpretation. Its the reason that a lower court upheld the ban and it took a corrupt conservative majority to over turn it.

What these five conservative justices of the Supreme Court did was nothing less than throw the Constitution out the window and substitute their own ideological preferences for that of the Founders, something conservative hypocrites wail about all the time when it comes to liberals. Only this time conservatives did it for contemporary conservative ideology.

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger, a conservative appointed by Richard Nixon had said in 1993 that the idea that the 2nd amendment applied to individuals was " the biggest fraud -- I repeat the word fraud -- ever perpetrated by an interest group ( the NRA) on the American people".

In applying the constitution based on original intent, ( the approach that conservatives say was violated in Roe v.Wade,claiming there is no specific right to privacy in the constitution,) there is no individual right to own a gun specified in the 2nd amendment. None. And it doesn't take a constitutional scholar to understand it, only someone with a 5th grade reading level.

Original intent means applying the constitution both as written and knowing the specific intent of the founders based on the constitutional debates which were taken down verbatim at the time the constitution was adopted.

We know from these debates that the purpose and intention of the second amendment was ONLY to allow individual states to train,arm, and deploy their own armed militias. It didn't address individual gun ownership in even the smallest way. It wasn't even brought up by the people who authored and debated the amendment which shows just how dishonest and ideological the decision by the conservative members of the court really is.

Knowing the original intent of the 2nd amendment, it is intellectually and legally impossible to construe in any way that the amendment has anything to do with individual rights to own a gun, which is why it took ideological conservatives on the court to over turn lower court decisions which upheld the true view of the constitution.

The dishonesty of the decision is going to become clear in the coming months. The reason? The infringement clause of the second amendment makes clear that the right enumerated in the 2nd amendment is absolute and a right that "shall not be infringed" in spite of Alito's attempts to weasel out of that little detail.

"To infringe" means exactly what the dictionary says it means. It means that any law of ANY kind that inhibits, interferes,diminishes, reduces or alters even in the smallest way, even on the outer edges, the absolute right enumerated in the 2nd amendment makes every gun law in every state, city, town or village unconstitutional. All of them. Anything short of that is constitutional hypocrisy.

If you extend the 2nd amendment to individuals that is the reality as absurd as it is. Based on this decision, every inmate in New York serving time on concealed weapons charges must be freed and there are already plans to challenge the concealed weapons laws in LA and San Francisco. New York has the toughest concealed weapons law in the country and its almost impossible for an ordinary citizen to obtain a permit to carry one.

To highlight the absurdity of the conservative majority's decision, the very requirement of needing a gun permit should now be unconstitutional. It can easily be argued that you do not need, and no local government can require, that you get a permit to express a constitutional right. So when Alito actually says this decision will not affect local governments rights to impose gun restrictions, it's hard to know what he is talking about. Unless he is talking out of both sides of his mouth, which may well be the case since they didnt even bother to strike down the Chicago law they said was unconstitutional but sent the case back to the lower court.

The ruling said that state and local governments are subject to second amendment "limits". The problem? The language of the 2nd amendment makes clear its a right without limits as the infringement clause makes clear. Yet, as Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center pointed out, the court recognized that the decision "does not prevent our elected representatives from enacting common-sense gun laws to protect our communities from gun violence... and
that the Second Amendment allows for reasonable restrictions on firearms, including who can have them and under what conditions, where they can be taken, and what types of firearms are available."

Actually it doesnt. This is standing the 2nd amendment and it's intention on its head. Read the second amendment and see if there is a word in it about any kind of restriction, reasonable or not. The fact that the conservative majority on one hand paves the way for striking down Chicago's gun ban on 2nd amendment grounds and on the other chooses to "recognize" that the government has the right to apply reasonable restrictions is just intellectually dishonest and legally wrong.

It is one of the other. The amendment applies to individuals or it doesn't and instead only applies, as it was intended, to the states right to have armed militias. There are no provisions in the 2nd amendment for restrictions of any kind. In fact it specifically forbids any restrictions, because if there were, the amendment would be useless since it was conceived to allow the states to have whatever weapons they need to fight off either an invasion from a foreign government or the new federal government itself. And in fact state National Guards, the evolution of those state militias do have much the same weapons as the federal army including tanks and fighter jets, even bombers, which is why so many Guard units are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Supreme Court has now opened a Pandora's Box. Mayor Bloomberg applauded the decision by saying it didn't stop local governments from enacting "common sense" gun laws to protect its citizens. That would only be true if the 2nd amendment did not apply to individuals.

The NRA would now be absolutely crazy if they didn't start challenging every gun law in every state because simply put, its a no brainer that these laws are now unconstitutional based on this ruling. If at any time the Supreme Court rules in a case and says otherwise, it will further highlight the hypocrisy and dishonesty of their ruling. The fact that the ruling was 5-4 on ideological grounds does not give any confidence that the ruling was honestly derived.

One more aspect the court obviously didnt anticipate: if the 2nd amendment applies to individuals as the conservative court decided, that means individuals may possess any weapons they wish. "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". That means any kind of arms. Including tanks,bazookas,any kind of armament, automatic weapon, any kind of explosive device -- anything. There is nothing in the 2nd amendment that restricts the kinds of arms "the people" have a right to keep. That of course is because the amendment was, at the risk of being repetitious, was only meant to apply to the states right to have armed militia that were as well armed as the federal army.

No reasonable person would argue that individuals could possibly defend themselves against a federal army with hunting weapons. And the word "arms" in the 2nd amendment is also made clear in the debates : it means weapons of war. An individuals' right of self defense wasn't even discussed.

The conservative members of the Supreme Court have now made a decision that not only overturned established precedent, it's going to clog the court system, put criminals on the streets and wreck havoc with domestic tranquility. Its a decision both they and the country are going to regret. Unless in future decisions, they expose their hypocrisy by allowing restrictions to the ownership of arms that the 2nd amendment clearly forbids.

Further proof that this was nothing more than 5 conservative judges applying the constitution for an ideological agenda and disregarding the constitution in the process, is Justice Alito, writing the majority opinion in justifying the decision, wrote that the right to keep a gun in the home for protection was "fundamental and deeply rooted in America's history and tradition".

This is absolutely true. It is and was fundamental, certainly to those in 1789, and without a doubt deeply rooted in America's history and tradition. The problem is, it is not deeply rooted or even mentioned in the constitution, the document they are supposed to be applying. Prostitution is also deeply rooted in America's history and tradition so based on Alito's reasoning prostitutes all over the country should have constitutional protections to be prostitutes. And maybe they do.
For more absurdity, Alito, to justify the ruling, had to quote from England's Sir William Blackstone that "keeping arms was a fundamental right of Englishmen".

Blackstone? Wasn't this supposed to be about Americans? And the constitution? Five conservatives on the Supreme Court are overturning an American law and 70 years of precedent by using what an Englishman said about English law 100 years before the constitution was written? If this were a college law school exam instead of a Supreme Court ruling all five justices would flunk.

There were better ways to handle the controversy over Chicago's handgun ban in the home than resorting to corrupting the constitution.

Conservatives claim this is how liberal judges undermine the rule of law by legislating from the bench instead of following the constitution or the laws as congress writes them. Whether they have any proof that that's what liberals do or not, we now have proof that it's what conservatives do.


Anonymous said...

"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."

Define the word "people".

It’s not in upper case, so it’s not a title. Webster defines people as "human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest".

Let’s take the 1st Ammd. "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"

Is it a stretch to say that in 1st Ammd “people” is defined as a group with common interests? Maybe.

How about the 4th Ammd. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Could we say “people” is defined as a group with common interests? I think so.

So tell me why is the “people” defined as “militia” in the 2nd Ammd and that definition does not hold true for the entire Bill of Rights. Hmmmm.

Was it just bad grammar by the founding fathers, was it that they just didn’t think that one through all the way. Probably not.

What’s great about 5th graders is that when you show them the Bill of Rights, they actually get it. They are not blinded by political idealism.


Marc Rubin said...

"Define the word "people". "

The term "people" has a very specific definition in the Constitution. It means the states, or "the people" of the individual states. Thats why the premable begins "We the people of the United States...". Remember that at the time the United States meant just that -- united states -- it wasnt another term for America.

The word "people" in the constitution is always referring to "the people" of the states not individuals. To this day in any state court, a trial is always "the people" vs. so and so.

Also when the constitution is referring to an individual right, it uses the word "person" as it does in the 5th amendment. When it is talking about a collective right or a states right it uses the term "people".

Anonymous said...

I guess the statement "We the people of the United States" really means "We the state of the United States". I hope not.

If you believe the "state" has the right to regulate guns, then you should not be opposed to give that state the right to regulate speech, religion, or anything. If you disagree with this statement you are a hypocrite. Define hypocrite? Because there where and still are many hypocrites in our political system, the “privilege and immunities clause” 14th Amendment was created.

Plus if you really want to dive into it. You could look at The Supremacy Clause in the United States Constitution, Article VI, Clause 2.
” This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

Maybe the fathers got it right and the you got it wrong?


Marc Rubin said...

"I guess the statement "We the people of the United States" really means "We the state of the United States". I hope not."

You are absolute right that is exactly what it means and has meant since the Revolution and the day the constitution was ratified. It is "We the people of the United States" and it means just that -- the people of the states, agreeing to be united ( as in United States) to form one entity.

Congratualtions you now know more about the constitution, it's meaning and purpose and the meaning of the second amendment than you did before and probably more than most conservatives.

When the constitution is conferring an individual right, it uses the word "person" as it does in the 4th and 5th amendments. When it uses the word "people" it means exactly what Webster says it means -- the collective -- all the people of each state.

Anonymous said...

You know what is so nice about the relative freedom we have had here for a while? You have the right to be a complete idiot who can't even read the constitution. Why don't you start thinking like adults are supposed to? Why don't you stop being so violent as to promote using mob rule and big guns to suppress the people and tell them what they can and cannot own? Why don't you give up your holier than thou political elitist caste system attitude and start thinking of people as individuals with equal rights?

You have the right to make stupid comments like this, but if you vote for a proponent of gun regulation, it is no different than hiring someone to use violence against many many peaceful people.

If I pay someone to go to your home and violently force you to comply with my demands, that is what evil is.

So please stop telling people to be violent. It is disgusting how you enjoy hurting peaceful people so much.