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calendar   Tuesday - March 18, 2008

We’re all going to Heller in a Handbasket

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The Supreme Court is hearing DC v. Heller today. Keep your fingers crossed. There is at least one website live blogging it, so you can go to SCOTUSblog for the latest updates. Also C-Span will be providing a delayed audio feed.

From what I’m reading of the opening discussion, I’m not exactly thrilled.

Based just on the questioning, which can prove inaccurate, the Court is divided along ideological lines in Heller, with Justice Kennedy taking a strong view that the “operative clause” of the Second Amendment protects an individual right unconnected with militia service that guarantees the right to hunt and engage in self-defense.  If the oral argument line up were to hold when the Court votes, the Court will recognize an individual right to bear arms that will not be seriously constrained by military service of any kind. There was a seemingly broad consensus that the right would not extend to machine guns, plastic guns that could evade metal detectors, and the like. There was relatively little disccusion of the trigger lock provision. Justice Breyer seemingly sought to pick up a fifth vote for a narrower reading of the Second Amendment by attempting to tie the question of the reasonableness of the regulation to whether the challenged statute left individuals with the ability to possess weapons that could be used in milita service.  But at argument, at least, none of the Court’s more conservative members expressed much interest in that approach, and Justice Kennedy’s view that the operative clause is not directed at militia service would seem not to point in that direction.

WTF?? I guess the opeing round includes everything, in a kind of kitchen sink approach. Rights not connected to militia service - good. Right doesn’t extend to plastic guns? Where the FUCK did that come from? Trigger locks? What the hell? This sounds crazy ...

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy emerged as a strong defender of the right of domestic self-defense.  At one key point, he suggested that the one Supreme Court precedent that at least hints that gun rights are tied to military not private needs — the 1939 decision in U.S. v. Miller — “may be deficient” in that respect. With Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Antonin Scalia leaving little doubt that they favor an individual rights interpretation of the Amendment

Well, that sounds reassurring. Miller isn’t just deficient, it’s friggin crack.  OVERTURN IT. But this is just the first day, so things could go back and forth. Don’t get too worked up that strange things are said and wierd arguments are made at this point. Let’s air them all out, throw them all out, and see what’ left when the dust settles.

Plastic guns and trigger locks. Extraordinary. You’ve got to have a “penumbra” wider than the orbit of Jupiter to read that one into “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”.

Fresh reactions can be read here, and here.

(graphics snagged from the NRA-ILA) who has posted an amazingly understated paragraph or two on this case.

update - 2pm Arguments are done. Barely and hour and a half. Outside the court, Cathy Lanier, DC Chief of Police, is on TV slinging the BS - “high capacity”, “easily concealed”, “shooting in schools and churches”, ”DC ban isn’t complete - because the police are allowed to have handguns”, “public safety”, “a city can impose reasonable regulation on any constitutional right”. DC AG Peter Nickles is slinging the same crap. Walter Dellinger, Former Acting Solicitor General - “I think this is a reasonable law”, handguns are bad, they’re all used in crime, the facilitate suicide, cops are all concerned ... more BS about machine guns and armor piercing bullets which are a threat to law enforcement .... yadda yadda ya, same shit, different day. DC City Council Chairman Vincent Gray echoes the same sentiments, claims homicides have gone down since the enactment of the no-handguns law (which is a crock of poop) ... “more guns is going to lead to more crime” says the mayor. Obviously, there is nobody from the other side at this interview ... mayor implies he’s going to try for an end run if the decision goes against him?

Next at the mic is some wiener from Brady, Dennis Henigan ... “we don’t want an interpretation that can be used as an assault weapon against the gun laws in this country.”(wonder how long it took him to think that choice line up?) “we want the courts to have a very limited role in assessing what the rights are when the more important thing is public safety (or something to that effect. I can only type and listen so well). Commie.

Alan Gura is on - he’s Heller’s attorney. Looks about 17. “The Constitution does not end at the borders of Washington DC”.
Bob Levy, another of Heller’s attorney, is OK with reasonable regulation, feels it’s OK to ban certain types of handguns (ie plastic ie Glocks). Oh this is getting weak. Weak!!!

Ha, Heller makes the “well armed citizens make for a polite society” line.

So, this is it? That’s all the oral arguments we’re going to have? I guess so. The rest is in the paperwork. Mr. Heller puts in a small positive statement too, as does Tom Palmer from the Cato Institute.

Now we’ll have to wait until JUNE for an answer. What, C-Span is doing a call-in poll to see if you think Yea or Nay? Let’s go to the callers and hear what they say! Bah, I’m turning off the TV.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/18/2008 at 12:11 PM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun Control •  
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