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Washington Post on Heller.--

Unlike Reuters, the Washington Post is able to cast doubt on the Heller decision in ways that one expects from the more sophisticated organs of the establishment:

Justices Reject D.C. Ban On Handgun Ownership 5-4 Ruling Finds 1976 Law Incompatible With Second Amendment

The Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handgun possession yesterday and decided for the first time in the nation's history that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to own a gun for self-defense.

The court's landmark 5 to 4 decision split along ideological grounds and wiped away years of lower court decisions that had held that the intent of the amendment, ratified more than 200 years ago, was to tie the right of gun possession to militia service.

While the decision left for another time how the standards by which gun-control laws nationwide will be evaluated, it was decisive about the District's law, the strictest in the country. In addition to prohibiting ownership of handguns, the city also requires that shotguns and rifles be kept unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.

"We hold that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The Second Amendment, Scalia said, "surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home."

The opinion, the last and perhaps most anticipated ruling of the court's current term, delivered a bold and unmistakable endorsement of the individual right to own guns. At the same time, it raised as many questions as it answered about the ability of government to restrict gun ownership to promote public safety, a point made in detailed rebuttals from the liberals on the court, both from the bench and in two lengthy dissents.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the decision "threatens to throw into doubt the constitutionality of gun laws throughout the United States," and he called that a "formidable and potentially dangerous" mission for the courts to undertake. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As if to underscore the point, D.C. officials, who expressed disappointment with the ruling, vowed to replace the now-voided gun ban with strict handgun regulations, raising the possibility of further litigation.

J. Aldridge:
The Second Amendment, Scalia said, "surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home."

I'd argue that under a State Constitution, but never under the federal Constitution, since as Madison put it, doesn't touch the personal liberties and rights of the people.
6.27.2008 7:53am
Keith in Dallas (mail):

The court's landmark 5 to 4 decision split along ideological grounds and wiped away years of lower court decisions that had held that the intent of the amendment, ratified more than 200 years ago, was to tie the right of gun possession to militia service.


Did I just imagine it, or did the majority opinion discuss at length precedential (i.e., lower court) support for the individual right?
6.27.2008 11:32am
Paul Milligan (mail):
Breyer is more of an idiot than Stevens, and Scalia as much as said so.

"Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the decision "threatens to throw into doubt the constitutionality of gun laws throughout the United States," and he called that a "formidable and potentially dangerous" mission for the courts to undertake"

Well, Judge, yes it does, and yes it is, in that order.

Contrary to what you might believe, there IS a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, and they are NOT secondary to erroneous lower level decisions, no matter how numerous.

You see, Judge B, the way it works is this - The Constitution CONTROLS the lower courts, not the other way around. When you get a handle on that one, get back to us. Until then - please resignso someone who actually BELONGS on SCOTUS can take your chair. You're wasting it.
6.27.2008 12:34pm
one of many:
No, Kieth you are not imagining things, so put down the phone as there is no need to commit yourself for being delusional. The WP line is technically accurate while misleading, there are years of lower court rulings which have held the right to bear arms is a collective right but there are also years of lower court ruling which have held the right is an individual right. Technically accurate but it conveys a false impression that the lower courts have consistently ruled that the right to bear arms is a collective right. Much better than the Reuter's distortion which only works if you believe the US Constitution is just a piece of paper onto which the current Supreme Court projects rights and legislation as they will.
6.27.2008 12:51pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
Just think about what Stevens is saying- essentially his argument is that if the government feels it has a good enough reason, the enumerated constitutional rights can be invalidated. And not just circumstancially, but whole horse.

That is the most shocking part of this entire affair if you ask me. There is at least one SCOTUS justice that flatly admits his willingness to carve up the Bill of Rights at his own discretion, without even so much as a legal facade.
6.27.2008 1:14pm
Steven White (mail):

... Breyer said the decision "threatens to throw into doubt the constitutionality of gun laws throughout the United States," and he called that a "formidable and potentially dangerous" mission for the courts to undertake.


The courts apparently have no trouble extending habeas corpus to illegal combatants captured on a foreign battlefield and held in a military prison, and promulgating new, extensive rules for reviewing the legality of their captivity. How much more difficult and dangerous can it be to review all the gun laws to see if they comply with the Second Amendment? Slackers.
6.27.2008 1:27pm
Arcs (mail):

Just think about what Stevens is saying- essentially his argument is that if the government feels it has a good enough reason, the enumerated constitutional rights can be invalidated. And not just circumstancially, but whole horse.


Well, yes. Don't ever expect to be legally able, as a citizen, to carry a firearm into a courtroom or onto a military installation.

Aren't those reasonable restrictions?
6.27.2008 2:12pm
DiverDan (mail):

Just think about what Stevens is saying- essentially his argument is that if the government feels it has a good enough reason, the enumerated constitutional rights can be invalidated. And not just circumstancially, but whole horse.


I think you are referring to the Breyer dissent, not Stevens. Imagine the apoplectic fit that Breyer would have if he were told that the interpretation he placed on "shall not be infringed" in the Second Amendment were to have precisely the same meaning in the First Amendment.
6.28.2008 11:50am