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Supreme Court News

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by ccw1911, Mar 18, 2008.

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  1. ccw1911

    ccw1911 Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Yesterday, the highest court in the nation heard the final arguments regarding what will undoubtedly be one of the most significant cases heard in our lifetimes - or theirs.

    The nine justices have the opportunity to rule on the meaning of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. It is a fundamental principal of our nation, yet it lacks prior legal precedents that test its core meaning.

    It is not hyperbole to say the outcome of this case will become the precedent upon which all other future decisions on the Second Amendment will be based. Neither is it overstating the matter to say this case may become the case upon which this Supreme Court is judged, and remembered for the remainder of the history of our nation.

    The twenty-seven oddly arranged words using an outdated punctuation style that make up the Second Amendment have caused no amount of discussion, debate and legal wrangling over the past forty-plus years, but nothing compares to the magnitude of what occurred yesterday in the Supreme Court

    Case Number 07-290, The District of Columbia, Et Al, V. Dick Anthony Heller is a case carefully structured with the specific intent of compelling the nine Justices to consider a “threshold question”: does the Second Amendment pertain to an individual right to gun ownership or does it simply pertain to military service?

    There is much at stake in this case. Individual ownership of firearms is a bedrock foundation of this nation, despite any contortions designed to make it appear otherwise. As Justice Kennedy observed yesterday, it held to be a “preexisting right” – one that predates others. Several states, including Montana, based their contracts of statehood on the assurance that the federal government would never impinge on the right to keep and bear arms wasn’t lost on the jurists.

    The longstanding nature to this “right” is the major thorn in the side of firearms opponents. And despite the sentiments of the activist judges across the country, the Supreme Court will probably not disagree with that interpretation.

    Should that be the case, proponents of the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment owe a huge debt to a man who doesn’t even own a firearm –and says he has neither a need nor desire to own one.

    Robert Levy, a slight, soft-spoken lawyer with unshakable libertarian views, has spent five years time and a not-inconsiderable amount of his own money to see this case reach the Supreme Court.

    “The case has been structured so they have to confront the threshold question,” Levy says, “I think they have to come to grips with that.”

    Others agree. "The U.S. Supreme Court has the perfect case to affirm an individual’s Second Amendment right to self-defense,” says Senior United States Senator Kaye Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, “ Though gun-control advocates have questioned this through the years, Congress never has."

    And on Monday, self-described black advocate organization Project 21, distributed a statement with this statement from Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli: “as a black American, I would be horrified to hear a state or local government enacted legislation or regulation that gutted the 13th Amendment’s prohibit on slavery or the 15th Amendment’s guarantee that all races could vote. Why aren’t more people outraged when the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee that individuals can protect themselves is infringed?”

    “In Washington, criminals know that an unarmed citizen is easy prey. Right now, the criminals are winning because the city’s gun ban is effectively protecting the plunderer and punishing the property owner,” Borelli added. “The lower court verdict to restore power to the people to legally possess a suitable firearm will make criminals think twice about their actions, and it is something the Supreme Court should affirm.”

    In short, a normally dissimilar group of Americans from a variety of races, sexual orientations and geographic locations, speaks with a loud and unified voice on the matter of personal firearms ownership. In making their case to the Supreme Court in their “friend of the court” briefs, they cite a variety of reasons, from self-protection from hate crimes to the foundation of contracts of statehood. But they have all reached on conclusion: not to overturn the District of Columbia’s firearms ban would fly in the face of a founding principal of this nation.

    As Alan Gura, attorney for Dick Heller argued, the District of Columbia “simply doesn’t trust the people to defend themselves in their homes.”

    In stark contrast, the proponents of the District’s gun ban have largely relied emotional appeals. They have asserted positions that advance the idea that violent crime is the fault of the gun, not the criminal. Likewise, they would have the general public believe that simply making firearms illegal would stop violent crime.

    To that end, they have generally argued their case in the court of public opinion. In that venue, it’s difficult to logically counter their arguments whilst a hysterical mother is wailing at the tragic loss of a child in a drive-by shooting.

    In yesterday’s sessions, however, the histrionics were forced to yield to points of law.

    Oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court don’t make great theatre nor offer up tightly-formed soundbites for the evening newscasts. Those were carefully crafted on the steps of the Supreme Court building afterwards.

    The arguments do, however, shed light on the magnitude of the importance this case has to all Americans; today and in the future.

    It may, in fact, become another a one-word synonym (“Heller”) for a landmark decision. Regardless, it will become the base upon which future laws will be built or old laws dismantled.

    That fact wasn’t lost on Dick Heller, the named defendant in the case.

    Speaking with him on the Supreme Court steps after the arguments -and his long question-and-answer period with the media, I asked him how he felt about “his” lawsuit.

    “It’s a simple case to me,” Heller said, “It is wrong for the government to tell me that it is OK for me to have a gun during my work hours, but illegal for me to have a gun when the only thing I want to protect is me.”

    At that point, a reporter interjected: “the Mayor (DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty) says the handgun ban and his initiatives have significantly lowered violent crime in the District. How do you answer that, Mr. Heller?”

    The initial answer certainly wasn’t expected – Dick Heller laughed. Ruefully.

    Pointing at the Mayor who was making his way across the plaza, surrounded by at least six DC police officers, Heller said, “the Mayor doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

    “He doesn’t walk on the street like an average citizen. Look at him; he travels with an army of police officers as bodyguards – to keep him safe. But he says that I don’t have the right to be a force of one to protect myself. Does he look like he thinks the streets are safe?”

    There was no follow-up question.

    Robert Levy, the man behind the case in both conviction and cash for the last five years, told me he felt “gratified” that the case had finally come to this point. But mainly, I think, he looked tired.

    Even knowing he’d probably answered it a hundred times, I had to ask one question of him: “what led you, a non-gun person, to do this?”

    Thoughtfully, Levy replied: “It was a confluence of events. A horrifying violent crime rate in the District of Columbia in conjunction with an equally bad law that took the right of self-defense away from the residents.”

    Looking me in the eye, he said simply, “I had no choice.”

    Now, we can only hope that the United States Supreme Court sees that it has no choice but to rule that, like the other Amendments to the Constitution, the Second Amendment guarantees the right of an individual to keep AND bear arms.

    But no one can call that outcome with any certainty.

    Prior to the Arguments, many observers had Justice Kennedy being the key Justice should a swing vote be needed to break a 4-4 tie.

    After yesterday’s occasionally questioning of Walter Dellinger, Solicitor General Clement and Alan Gura, however, it may be that Kennedy agrees with the lower court ruling. He quickly went on record as believing the scope of the second amendment was in two parts. The first, reaffirmed “the existence and importance” of the state militias ascontained in the Constitution itself. The second, Kennedy said, means that “in addition” there is a right to bear arms- something he later referred to as a “general right.”

    If that’s the case, it could spell trouble for the District of Columbia’s efforts to revive its handgun ban.

    Chief Justice John Roberts’ comments regarding the efficacy of trigger locks in a life-threatening situation, Judge Samuel Alito’s skeptical line of questioning regarding the DC ban and Justice Antonin Scalia’s vocal support of gun rights would seem to point toward their inclination to adopt the individual interpretation as well. As is his custom, Justice Clarence Thomas did not speak during the arguments, but has gone on record in favor of the individual right interpretation.

    That would leave only Justices Breyer, Ginsberg and Souter’s votes in support of the District’s gun ban.

    While all of us await a decision, the nine Justices will deliberate, research and weigh the facts and implications of Heller. When they are satisfied with their decision – and not before – they will let us know the fate of the Second Amendment
  2. Capt. Morgan

    Capt. Morgan TS Member

    Aug 27, 2007
    I really wish posters would cite the source when they post quoted text!

  3. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    There is a big article on the opening page of AOL, but its copywrited and not supposed to be reprinted or reproduced without permission ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
  4. Gold E

    Gold E TS Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    I agree with Mr. Morgan.

    I googled the first paragraph and located the text in the link above.


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