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NYT, Heller and the Supreme Court
Posted by: McQ on Friday, June 27, 2008

The NY Times, unsurprisingly, is aghast at the Supreme Court's ruling on Heller.

Some excerpts:
In a radical break from 70 years of Supreme Court precedent, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, declared that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to bear arms for nonmilitary uses, even though the amendment clearly links the right to service in a “militia.”
Did you catch that little beauty? It isn't the 70 years of Supreme Court precedent that matters (if it did, Dred Scott would still be in effect), it's what the Constitution means. And for the rest of American history, up too that 70 years, there was very little if any doubt the 2nd Amendment was an individual right.
This is a decision that will cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country.
This is just pure hyperventilation on the part of the Times. The city in question, Washington DC has, for 15 of the 29 years the gun ban has been in effect, DC has ranked 1st or 2nd among the top 50 cities for murder, and ranked 4th for 4 more years.

It has consistently had a higher murder rate than the surrounding states. And it had one of the most restrictive gun control laws on the books.

Again, as with most who see this as some sort of license to kill which has been unleashed on an unsuspecting public, the NYT doesn't understand that criminals aren't going to obey the law. This was demonstrated in DC while the law was in effect. Hopefully, if there will be any rise in the gun related death rate due to this ruling, it well be among criminals.
There already is a national glut of firearms: estimates run between 193 million and 250 million guns.
This particular line argues pretty persuasively that the number of guns out there isn't the problem. We seem to have almost a gun a person in the country and yet the number of fire arms deaths a year remain at about 0.0001 of the population. Again, the usual bankrupt argument which never, in fact, supports the premise of "more guns equals more violence".
Overturning that law, the court’s 5-to-4 decision says that individuals have a constitutional right to keep guns in their homes for self-defense. But that’s a sharp reversal for the court: as early as 1939, it made clear that the Second Amendment only protects the right of people to carry guns for military use in a militia.
What it actually means is that 5 of the Justices interpreted the Constitution as it was intended to be interpreted, not as the government would prefer it was interpreted. And it overturned 70 years of bad precedent.

To even begin to argue that any amendment among the first 8 in the bill of rights was there to confer power on government (such as to form militias) is ludicrous on its face. As Charles Rice points out in "Understanding the Bill of Rights", "[t]he first eight amendments to the Bill of Rights were intended by the First Congress and by the states that approved them to protect the specified rights against invasion by the federal government." (1991, University Press of Virginia).

Finding the right to be an individual right and not one that empowers government is the proper finding.
That last part is the final indignity of the decision: when the justices go to work at the Supreme Court, guns will still be banned. When most Americans show up at their own jobs, they will not have that protection.
DC - murder capital - what protection has that law provided to those murdered by guns in DC to this point? None. The restrictive gun control law in DC didn't protect a single person murdered by a gun there in its 29 years of existence.

Not one.

And that brings us to the real reason for the editorial:
This audaciously harmful decision, which hands the far right a victory it has sought for decades, is a powerful reminder of why voters need to have the Supreme Court firmly in mind when they vote for the president this fall.

Senator John McCain has said he would appoint justices like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito — both of whom supported this decision. If the court is allowed to tip even further to the far right, there will be even more damage done to the rights and the safety of Americans.
The fact that over 90% of Americans consider the 2nd Amendment to confer an individual right is irrelevant to the NY Times. As an "elite institution", it would prefer to see the rabble under control.

This isn't about "rights and safety". It's about an agenda. If you want to see that agenda implemented, either legislatively or via the judiciary, then follow the advice of the Times. You can see precisely where they'd have it go. And your rights, such that they are, would be under assault from day 1.
 
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This is a decision that will cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country.
Technically they are right...

It will be far, far more dangerous to be a criminal...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
So, would the NYT prefer that the American public be allowed to carry M-16’s? Or perhaps a heavier-caliber, fully automatic rifle? After all, those are the sorts of weapons that a modern militia might reasonably be expected to carry.

It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about The Narrative and internal consistency.
 
Written By: Greg
URL: http://
Eh. The NYT does far more damage to the country and the safety of the citizenry than any old glut of handguns could.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Thank GOD there is still ONE citadel of clear thinking left in this desolate GOP-Inspired Wasteland....e will decades cleaining up the mess you Righties ahve inflicted on us...I think we need to start witht he Fiarness Doctrine and work from there...possibly it could be applied to the intarwebs. It’s amazing the maount of lies, half-truths and distortions and distractions one finds out there...
And then Comparable Worth
Higher Taxes
Single Payer Health Care
A larger SCOTUS, it needs 11-13 members not the current 9
I mean so much to do, and so little time before Gaia, in her feverish wrath, shrugs us off!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The guys up at my gun shop have a great sense of humor. They even answered Barack.
 
Written By: arch
URL: http://
Interesting that the NYT ignored Scalia’s (and the Heller Amici’s)point about Miller: that it was decided on whether or not a given category of weapon could be regulated based on its status as a weapon used for military purposes and not on whether the right to ownership of firearms in general was contingent upon military service. And even that’s ignoring that A) the Miller court didn’t even get the designation of the short-barreled shotgun right (Trench guns anyone?), and B) it was a real put-up job of a case manufactured specifically to give the NFA a gloss of judicial approval, that Miller was never actually convicted, and that Miller’s side didn’t even get to present any arguments to the court.

 
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
What about the effectiveness of banning handgun?

According arguments made often by the left, blocking illegal immigration is impossible. Blocking drugs creates more strife than its solves. So according to their view about how the world works, why would they believe we could block an illegal source of handguns from outside the country.

All you will do is disarm civilians.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
You know what really makes a country dangerous? Omnipotent Government (to use the title of a book by Von Mises.) Don’t expect the NYT to raise any alarms over that, however.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
You know what really makes a country dangerous? Omnipotent Government (to use the title of a book by Von Mises.) Don’t expect the NYT to raise any alarms over that, however.
Only if it a Republican Administration.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
The NYT did raise a pertinent point. Scalia does sometimes vote to achieve his aims. He voted to uphold the New Deal decision about the farmer who grew grain to feed his farm animals. This was in the California medical marijuana case a couple of years ago in which SCOTUS allowed the commerce clause rationale to stand against an intrastate law voted on directly by the California electorate.

If it had about something other than bud, I do think Scalia would have come down on the side of states’ rights and minimal government. This was a clear opportunity to scale back the commerce clause. It has been the vehicle for the expansion of federal intrusion.
 
Written By: Joseph Somsel
URL: http://
II’m always astounded how the same folks who claim that the constitution must contain a right to privacy and a right to an abortion think it’s ludicrous for the constitution to contain an individual right to own a handgun. At the argument’s simplest level, at least there is direct textual support in the constitution for an individual right to "bear arms," while privacy and abortion rights are never mentioned (and in fact probably not even contemplated by the drafters).
 
Written By: Mike
URL: http://
even though the amendment clearly links the right to service in a "militia."

It’s remarkable that journalists once claimed to have a mastery of the English language. Tricky concepts like operative and prefatory clauses were once thought to be items studied by the great masters of the written language. Instead, they apparently have become lost arts, as journalism schools have become "programs of last resort" celebrating their capacity to award undergraduate degrees to even the least qualified candidates.

For those of you in J-school who don’t want to be subjected to the ridicule of Redherkey and other grand thinkers of the Flyover States (a shame that no east/west coaster can even imagine), I offer a quick lesson on the tricky language of our nation’s founders. Given your cultural experience to date has consisted solely of television and film encounters, I would invite you to recall the curious language of the character Yoda, of the Star Wars films. Should you be ambitious enough to tread deeply into your video rental store’s archives, you may just find ancient footage from decades past (long before your birth) where the same wise master Yoda once spoke at great length in puzzling form.

A form quite backwards, the master Yoda often spoke. A fragment meant to provide ancillary color and anecdote, the simple prefatory clause was regarded. Absent the definitive and declarative determination of the operative clause, the humble little prefatory clause simply provided color and illustration through suggestive example. A way of thinking which made one pause and contemplate what came next, the prefatory-led, operative-following construct became regarded as a wise-sounding method of speaking.

Yet this approach has confounded our J-school underachievers. They have confused cause with effect, analogy with lesson, prefatory with operative. A simple example like:

"A drunk among the journalists could cause great harm, a ban on the consumption of alcohol in the newsroom was prescribed."

could be misinterpreted to argue that bans on alcohol in the newsroom were exclusively limited to only the drunks, or even worse, be suggested that all drunks were journalists! Indeed, an English language that follows the thought process of our Supreme Court minority is one of great confusion. Yet the wise Master Yoda would propose a simple interpretation for the greatest of simpletons: Should prefatory and operative confuse you, switch the two around and throw in a "for example" to provide even the slowest thinkers among us with a verbal cluestick. Consider:

"The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, For example, a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State."

If that’s not clear enough (given a certain requirement that the J-School student understand the language of its day), try this on:

"All of us people have a right to buy, store, house, keep, use, sell, and shoot the hell out of guns. This right is important, for instance, because say a bunch of illegal Mexican aliens, Redcoats, imposing Canadians or other otherwise uninvited parties decide to sit their a*ses in your house, attempt to rape your wife and daughters, and steal your sh*t, you can simply cap their a*ses. But of course, that’s just an example, and since this Constitution we’re writing here can’t predict every possible reason you’d need guns, we’re just making it a right for you to have and figure you’re smart enough to know when to use them responsibly. And if this sh*t still confuses you, perhaps Democracy just ain’t for you."

Fortunately, the world (or those that matter) is not comprised of journalists. Increasingly ancillary to the nature of real decision making, mainstream media journalists have become little more than examples of underachievement, professional neglect and failure for today’s blogger to illustrate.

"An unfortunate outcome, a journalistic career indeed is."
 
Written By: redherkey
URL: http://
Thank GOD there is still ONE citadel of clear thinking left in this desolate GOP-Inspired Wasteland....e will decades cleaining up the mess you Righties ahve inflicted on us...I think we need to start witht he Fiarness Doctrine and work from there...possibly it could be applied to the intarwebs. It’s amazing the maount of lies, half-truths and distortions and distractions one finds out there...
And then Comparable Worth
Higher Taxes
Single Payer Health Care
A larger SCOTUS, it needs 11-13 members not the current 9
I mean so much to do, and so little time before Gaia, in her feverish wrath, shrugs us off!
Yeah, and we eat babies, too. At least we know how to type!
 
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
URL: http://
The editors wrap it all up saying that the decision hands a victory to the "far right" and that even worse will come should the "far right" gain more representation on the court.

What a pitiful effort to marginalize all the millions and millions of people who heartily agree with the ruling. According to ABC News, more than 40% of Americans report having guns in their homes and an even greater number — nearly three quarters of the population — say the Second Amendment guarantees the individual’s right to gun ownership (as opposed to the states’ right to form militias).

That’s a whole bunch of people for the NY Times to pretend are way, way over there on the faaarrr fringes of the wicked right. But I guess it’s what their readers expect.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
My local paper ran an AP story bylined by Stephen Manning yesterday (have not found it online) subtitled Anti-gun advocates vow to continue effort to prevent violence. The fourth, fifth and sixth paragraphs read as follows:
Daren Dieter has a different history, and a different reaction: "Outrageous."

The 24-year-old Philadelphia man is paralyzed from the chest down because a man he didn’t know shot him with an illegal firearm Sept. 22 [2007] after a verbal argument. His spine was shattered; for two months he could communicate only by blinking, and even now he needs a respirator to breathe when he sleeps.

"The number of killings per year in Philadelphia (averages to) one a day," Dieter said. "If people who live in rural areas had the experience of having loved ones killed or injured by gun violence, they would have a different outlook on the whole issue."
Are your hearts bleeding yet? Knowing the AP, I checked a bit further and found this story at The Philadelphia Inquirer’s website. Minor item not mentioned by the AP, Daren’s father just happens to be the city of Philadelphia’s consumer advocate. Major item not mentioned is this doosy about the man suspected of the shooting:
Court records show Bohannon has been arrested three times in the last two years on numerous charges, including robbery, assault, firearms violations, receiving stolen property, and providing false identification to police.
Prior firearms violations??? So AP, and NYTimes, just what new laws do you propose that would keep firearms out of the hands of people like Bohannon?




 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
The NYT opinion author, in common with almost everyone else (alas, including myself until some else pointed it out), read only the news headline "5-4" and neglected to notice that was a dispute about whether to send the case back to a lower court or rule on the constitutionality directly.

As to individual ownership, it was a unanimous ruling that it is an individual right, albeit Stevens wished the Constitution did not so state and Breyer thought permissible "regulation" includes a total ban on anything any government anywhere wants its citizens not to have.
 
Written By: teqjack
URL: http://
Lost in some of the noise of the Heller decision ..
What’s most striking about Heller is that absolutely everybody — majority and dissents — says the Second Amendment protects an individual right.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

 
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