Friday, June 27, 2008

Hat tipping JinC Heller commenters

All of you who’ve been commenting here pre- and post-Heller on our Second Amendment right to bear arms will see in George Mason University School of Law Professor David E. Bernstein's post below concordance with the central point you've all made.

Bernstein published his post at Volokh Conspiracy this afternoon.

I’m posting it in full because of its intrinsic value, the interest it'll have for many JinC visitors, and as a “hat tip” to those of you who commented re: Heller.

You’ve added to the blog, and provided much of value to others who’ll visit and read here.

Now Professor Bernstein’s post - - -


The Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, upholding the Second Amendment right of individuals to own firearms, should finally lay to rest the widespread myth that the defining difference between liberal and conservative justices is that the former support "individual rights" and "civil liberties," while the latter routinely defer to government assertions of authority.

The Heller dissent presents the remarkable spectacle of four liberal Supreme Court justices tying themselves into an intellectual knot to narrow the protections the Bill of Rights provides. Or perhaps it's not as remarkable as we've been led to think.
So begins my opinion piece published at I then discuss areas in which the conservative Justices have taken a broader view of individual rights than the liberal Justices--commercial speech, expressive association, election-related speech, property rights, racial preferences, free exercise of religion, "hate speech"--and conclude:
There are many ideological differences between the conservative and liberal justices on the Supreme Court. But a consistent, stronger liberal devotion to supporting individual rights and civil liberties against assertions of government power isn't one of them.


Archer05 said...

Sen. Obama deserves this ridicule, in my opinion. “Words have meaning,” Yes they do!
Obama: Riding Tall In The Straddle
Investors Business Daily, by Editorial Staff

Obama claims he believes the Second Amendment says you can own a gun but that local communities can still opt out of the Constitution. What will he say as his political hometown is sued by the NRA?

Reacting to the Heller decision, Obama said he'd uphold the rights of gun owners, rights denied by the D.C. and Chicago bans, saying: "I know what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We need to work together to enact common sense laws."

……Obama said in a statement that makes his position perfectly unclear.

Anonymous said...

At least some of the dissenters in Heller v District of Columbia appear to believe the right to keep and bear arms applies only to governmental agencies such as the National Guard. Parenthetically, let me note here that the National Guard wasn't organized until 1905 by the Dick Act, thus it is highly unlikely that the founding fathers intended the second amendment to apply to that organization. Nevertheless, let us pursue this line of thought:
Assume the bill of rights applies only to the government, does that mean that Stephen Breyer thinks that only the Government Printing Office can publish newspapers? Or perhaps David Souter has concluded that National Public Radio is the only communications medium that can enjoy the protection of the first amendment? Yes, I know, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid not only believe so, they want to enact it into law!! Interesting to think about because it brings into sharp focus just how ideologically skewed is the thought process of Leftist justices and politicians. We should be very thankful that George W. Bush succeeded in appointing justices who have the depth of knoweldge and the integrity to make decisions such as Heller v District of Columbia.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Archer05 said...

Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post has captured Sen. Obama’s 'twist' on the Second Amendment Rights decision. He used a perfect description in two words.
-Pretzel Logic-

Also, I thought Barack Obama was supposed to be a Constitutional law expert, before he became a community organizer.

Anonymous said...

John -

As I said in my comment, the majority emphasized individual rights, the dissenters, collective rights. To call the dissenters "liberal" is an oxymoron and abuse of the word, except if means liberally allowing the government to abuse its citizens by taking their rights and property away while liberally hamstringing the government from protecting its citizens by giving rights not in the Constitution to belligerents. (Gotta love those penumbra.)

Jack in SilverSpring