Monday, March 01, 2010

2nd Amendment At The Supreme Court

“The justices will be deciding whether the Second Amendment – like much of the rest of the Bill of Rights – applies to states as well as the federal government. It’s widely believed they will say it does.

“But even if the court strikes down handgun bans in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill., that are at issue in the argument to be heard Tuesday, it could signal that less severe rules or limits on guns are permissible.”

When judges were appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate as the Constitution originally structured it, Senators ensured that judges wouldn't use their authority to centralize power into the federal government.

Thomas Jefferson warned, "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots."

The Constitution worked because it kept power out of the hands of a central authority. The 17th Amendment changed that, and that's why it should be repealed.


danq said...

Didn't that already happen a few years ago, and the Supreme Court gave a basically dismissive response (it's a federal right, but states can regulate it)?

danq said...

Didn't the Supreme Court already deal with this a few years ago, and they gave an almost-dismissive response (it's a federal right, but states can regulate it)?

JohnJ said...

You're thinking of the DC v Heller decision, where the Court determined that the 2nd Amendment was an individual right that could not be violated by the federal government (because DC is a federal enclave, not a state). Justice Scalia, who wrote the Heller opinion, specifically said that the Court was not determining whether the Court had the right to review and strike down state laws they didn't like (under the theory of Incorporation, which holds that the 14th Amendment gives the Supreme Court authority to tell states what they're allowed to do). Scalia has previously said that the 2nd Amendment does not prohibit states from enacting legislation, but he's likely to change his mind now, since he feels that we have a "conservative" court, and so conservative judicial activism is okay.