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Cuchulain82
11/27/2007 11:02am,
I thought everyone here would be interested to know that the US Supreme Court recently granted cert (meaning that they'll hear the case) in the first 2nd amendment case in 70 years. Here's the NYT link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/us/21scotus.html?fta=y

FYI- this is a big deal. I'm a law student so maybe there's a cop or a real lawyer around here who can speak to this more directly, but my understanding is that 2nd amendment cases just don't happen. Hopefully this hasn't already been posted.

-Cuch

SFGOON
11/27/2007 1:28pm,
It hasn't been posted here, but yes - this is a very big deal. I'm busy gnashing my teeth and praying to God this goes the way I want it to.

Cuchulain82
11/27/2007 2:32pm,
It hasn't been posted here, but yes - this is a very big deal. I'm busy gnashing my teeth and praying to God this goes the way I want it to.
I'm surprised no one has posted this yet. It's the first time in a long time that a gun case will be before the court. Also, the law that was struck down by the federal court was a law that was almost 30 years old (that's substantial).

This could mean a big change. 50 years ago the legal scholars pretty much agreed that the right to bear arms was within the context of "militia". Today, this seems to have changed- I'll see if I can dig up an article I read about this as backup, but more or less we do seem to be moving towards an individual right.

Phrost
11/27/2007 2:59pm,
I've been following this off and on so I'm glad you posted it.

The court, for the most part, currently seems to lean in favor of this which means unless something ridiculously unlucky happens (like one of the pro-2A justices' spouses gets shot), they're going to affirm that the 2A is an individual, not collective right.

HappyOldGuy
11/27/2007 3:33pm,
I've been following this off and on so I'm glad you posted it.

The court, for the most part, currently seems to lean in favor of this which means unless something ridiculously unlucky happens (like one of the pro-2A justices' spouses gets shot), they're going to affirm that the 2A is an individual, not collective right.

Your lips to gods ears, but I don't see it. This is a chips and nicks court, not a sledgehammer court, and the two sledgehammer wielders are not clear cut individual rights types on this (or much else).

E-Van
11/27/2007 3:50pm,
Being a west coast playa, I never really understood the whole 'district of columbia' thing. I really still dont understand it. This is a huge case, definetly the biggest on the second amendment in a while. I am still pissed about the imenent domain rulling myself, and have no hope left for the supreme court.

Phrost
11/27/2007 4:16pm,
Yeah. Wasn't there a movement to take the house of one of the justices who voted in favor of that, using the very ED laws he upheld?

E-Van
11/27/2007 4:24pm,
Yeah. Wasn't there a movement to take the house of one of the justices who voted in favor of that, using the very ED laws he upheld?

I dont know Phrost but wouldnt that have been so perfect? Give him low state assesed market value too. Pennys on the dollar to be sure.

notafighter
11/27/2007 4:25pm,
I too am praying for a pro-individual rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. If the justices stick to their usual voting patterns we should get a 5-4 vote in favor of an individual right to keep and bear arms. The timing of this is what makes it such a critical issue. If the decision goes to the collective rights side of the argument and the statist (Democrats) do manage to take over the executive and legislative branches in '08 we may very well be faced (sooner rather than later) with the long feared dilemma of whether to hand over our weapons or become outlaws/revolutionaries. This has all the trappings of the final showdown.

Start preparing your bunkers now. The zombies will soon be at your gate.

Scrapper
11/27/2007 4:29pm,
Dammit...I just bought a gun!

But it looks good right now for a 5-4 or 6-3 even. This is a very tough issue for a lot of the country...and the justices will almost certainly err on the side of not dividing the country along so volatile an issue. (Dear god I hope!)

PunchyMcFace
11/27/2007 4:33pm,
I am rarely in favor of the government telling me what I can do in my house, but when I read the Second Amendment it sounds like it's about militias.

You gotta draw a line somewhere anyway.

Phrost
11/27/2007 4:34pm,
"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."

Fearmongering and the simpering weakness of those longing for the illusory protection of Big Brother aside, it's pretty cut and dry as far as I'm concerned.

Edit: the implication is that because there's the need for a government-run militia, the people should provide a check to this power themselves by being armed in order to prevent future tyranny.

notafighter
11/27/2007 4:50pm,
I am rarely in favor of the government telling me what I can do in my house, but when I read the Second Amendment it sounds like it's about militias.

You gotta draw a line somewhere anyway.

I'll assume your joking. Or maybe you haven't read all of the other INDIVIDUAL rights guaranteed (as opposed to granted) by the Bill of Rights.

Don Gwinn
11/27/2007 4:56pm,
1. There hasn't been a 2nd Amendment case decided by the Supreme Court since 1939. That was U.S. vs. Miller. It was a horrible case and a horrible precedent, but from the point of view of of the Justices at the time, the outcome led to desirable policy, and that's what was important.
(How bad was it? The defense didn't present a case! The defendant, Miller, was missing at the time and later turned up dead--he was a bootlegger and didn't lead a very safe life.)

2. The Supreme Court has avoided 2A cases like the plague ever since. At first, that was because Miller was so obviously flawed, and there was fear that the laws it supposedly made way for would have to be repealed if a 2A case were heard. Later, both sides began to fear the outcome of such a case. The banners were happy with the courts the way they were, since a "Collective Right" reading didn't actually prohibit any gun control at all in practice. The pro-rights side was afraid that they'd get a definitive gutting of the 2nd Amendment once and for all if they pressed the issue.

3. There's a good chance for a 5-4 our way on this, but it's not in the bag. There's a lot of brown underwear at the Brady Campaign and the VPC this year, though. They're scared to death.


4. The 2nd Amendment states the reason for the right it protects in a prefatory clause ("A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state") but the operative clause--the clause that actually has meaning and is binding as law--does NOT state that militias may own guns. It states "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The fact that the federal government decided at some point to stop relying on the general militia (what is now called the "unorganized militia" under U.S. law) does NOT invalidate the limit on federal power.
If the founders had intended to say that states or militia units had a right to keep and bear arms, they could have done so. Every word of the Constitution was debated and rewritten multiple times over months. It means just what they intended it to mean.

You must also remember that there is no other part of the Constitution, either in the amendments or the main body, where "the people" is not assumed to refer to individual citizens. The right to peacable assembly, the right to be secure in your home against unreasonable searches and seizures--these are promised to "the people" just like the right to keep and bear arms. Nobody pretends that this means that only state governments are secure from unreasonable searches and seizures by federal forces!

Don Gwinn
11/27/2007 5:01pm,
Here's a good piece that illustrates the English teacher's perspective I presented a little bit of in my earlier post:

http://www.urbin.net/EWW/polyticks/RKBA/2ndengl.html

Simply put, the fact that the words "well-regulated militia" appear in the sentence does not mean you can arbitrarily assign them a role in the sentence--the way they're placed and used in the sentence determines that. That's how English works.

Phrost
11/27/2007 5:05pm,
Not to mention the fact that it is an idiotically asinine argument to assume the 2A would have been written to guarantee Government the right to keep arms, which has never in the entire course of human history been something that was disputed.

It'd be the same as including an amendment that guarantees bears the right to **** in the woods.