In what may turn out to be the most important Second Amendment ruling since 1939′s hideously misinterpreted Miller – and maybe the most important ruling on the Amendment in American history – the Supreme Court has granted cert to Parker v. D.C. and will be taking up the case in this session. Natch, Glenn Reynolds has tonsalinks.
My first take (I have to admit I’m shaking in my boots at the negative possibilities here, given that I thought the SCOTUS would dodge this one) is that the Court will find an individual right, but do so in such a way that almost no gun control laws currently in place are much disturbed, although pestholes like Chicago and San Francisco may be encouraged to permit their citizens to defend themselves once again. The whole issue of incorporation will be much discussed beyond the court as well, I expect.
If they do declare an individual right, no matter how tightly worded, look for a flood of litigation to follow, though.
Why do I think they’ll come down on an individual right interpretation? Because so-called “settled law” has been based on a collective or states’ rights interpretation. If they wanted that to remain, all they needed to do was…nothing.
Further, the court is a political animal. The justices, I’m sure, took note of what happened with the recent immigration debacle. They can only imagine what would happen if they threatened the RKBA of some 80 million gun owners, some tiny percentage of which are the sort of whackjobs who might take umbrage at the individual justices themselves. Politicians have never been famous for seeking out that sort of potentially lethal disagreement.
And if they do give us a reasonably unfettered individual rights interpretation, with both Bush appointees voting for it, I’ll have to give a big pat on the back to the conservatives who made sure Bush’s likely initial choices for the court were deep-sixed.
Fred Thompson comments: “The Second Amendment does more than guarantee to all Americans an unalienable right to defend oneâ€™s self. William Blackstone, the 18th century English legal commentator whose works were well-read and relied on by the Framers of our Constitution, observed that the right to keep and bear firearms arises from ‘the natural right of resistance and self-preservation.’
I’ve said it over and over here: The right to life and property is absolutely worthless without the right and ability to effectively defend yourself against attacks on your person and belongings.
Go, Fred! And, actually, go Rudy! Thanks for supporting the Second, both of you!
By the way, what a stinker of an issue this is for the Democrats and the left, eh? I think Hillary will have a Sister Souljah moment and come out in support of an individual rights interpretation. In my leftist days, the New Left certainly felt that way. None of us supported disarming the Black Panthers. And, frankly, Kos isn’t exactly a hotbed of anti-gun fervor, given that a strong stream of opinion there believes they will have to take up arms to protect themselves from us Fascists.
It might be interesting to see, of those massive majorities that favor an individual right to keep and bear arms, what percentage does so because it fears the other side of the ideological divide.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Thank you, Glenn!