Thursday, June 26, 2008

Second Amendment barely upheld.

If you haven’t read the Supreme Court’s decision on the Second Amendment, you should.

I'm disgusted that the decision was only 5 to 4. How can there be FOUR Supreme Court Justices who DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE REST OF US ALL UNDERSTAND!?

Actually, let me rephrase that. I'm sure they understand what we understand. But they have a vision for America that is different than what the founding fathers envisioned, and so they actively try to mis-interpret the constitution to fit it to their arrogant ideas.

But, anyway, I am extremely amused by the language used by Justice Antonin Scalia. It is unusual, I think, for the level of sarcasm and biting humor which appears throughout the argument. You can tell that there must have been some intense discussion between Scalia and Stevens. And it is also clear that Scalia, having garnered a majority decision, and knowing that this is a truly historic decision, enjoyed very much jabbing Stevens for his foolish attempts to creatively alter the meaning of the constitution.

Just for clarity, here is the Second Amendment:
The Second Amendment provides: “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.” In interpreting this text, we are guided by the
principle that “[t]he Constitution was written to be understood
by the voters; its words and phrases were used in
their normal and ordinary as distinguished from technical

So Stevens sets out to try to find hidden meaning in the text, by suggesting first that the phrase means that only state militia (national guard) could have weapons, and that “keep and bear” does not mean to own and carry… It becomes clear that Stevens has a desired outcome in mind and sets out to change the meaning of the words in order to fit it to the desired outcome.

And Scalia takes him to task personally.

Here are couple of jewels {bolding is my emphasis}:
In any event, the meaning of “bear arms” that petitioners
and JUSTICE STEVENS propose is not even the (sometimes)
idiomatic meaning. Rather, they manufacture a
hybrid definition, whereby “bear arms” connotes the
actual carrying of arms (and therefore is not really an
idiom) but only in the service of an organized militia. No
dictionary has ever adopted that definition, and we have
been apprised of no source that indicates that it carried
that meaning at the time of the founding. But it is easy
to see why petitioners and the dissent are driven to the
hybrid definition. Giving “bear Arms” its idiomatic meaning
would cause the protected right to consist of the right
to be a soldier or to wage war—an absurdity that no
commentator has ever endorsed. See L. Levy, Origins of
the Bill of Rights 135 (1999). Worse still, the phrase
“keep and bear Arms” would be incoherent. The word
“Arms” would have two different meanings at once:
“weapons” (as the object of “keep”) and (as the object of
“bear”) one-half of an idiom. It would be rather like saying
“He filled and kicked the bucket” to mean “He filled
the bucket and died.” Grotesque.

If “bear arms” means, as we
think, simply the carrying of arms, a modifier can limit
the purpose of the carriage (“for the purpose of selfdefense”
or “to make war against the King”). But if “bear
arms” means, as the petitioners and the dissent think, the
carrying of arms only for military purposes, one simply
cannot add “for the purpose of killing game.” The right “to
carry arms in the militia for the purpose of killing game”
is worthy of the mad hatter.
Thus, these purposive qualifying
phrases positively establish that “to bear arms” is
not limited to military use.11

The next selection is from a footnote, where Stevens was trying to twist the meaning of the amendment so that the citizen can “keep” or store a weapon but cannot “carry” or bear it:

14 Faced with this clear historical usage, JUSTICE STEVENS resorts to
the bizarre argument that because the word “to” is not included before
(whereas it is included before “petition” in the First Amendment),
the unitary meaning of “to keep and bear” is established. Post,
at 16, n. 13. We have never heard of the proposition that omitting
repetition of the “to” causes two verbs with different meanings to
become one. A promise “to support and to defend the Constitution of
the United States” is not a whit different from a promise “to support
and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
I tell you what, between the recent horrendous decision that violates state rights regarding the death penalty for child rapists, and the clear attempt by Stevens to twist the constitution, there can be no doubt that Stevens needs to be removed from the court—which is probably not possible. We definitely need to get more constructivist judges onto the court to counter Stevens and Bader.

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