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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sen. Whitehouse: SCOTUS Recently “Discovered” the Individual’s Right to Bear Arms

This might be a slow week for me. Since this week is going to be dominated by the Kagan confirmation, I am not going to be writing as much because I refuse to write too much about them. Supreme Court confirmation hearings are nothing but a dog-and-pony show. Those that are being confirmed don’t ever really say what they think and tell the Senate what they’re really going to do once they get on the bench. So, I’d rather not write about something that is obviously kabuki.

Fortunately, I did find one gem from my new favorite senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

He goes on to explain that he doesn’t want his judicial nominees to be activists and said that he was looking for “judicial restraint”, and if I didn’t know better, I would have sworn that he wanted a strict constructionist. Then, he goes on to rail on the conservative wing of the Supreme Court. He claims the THEY are the ones that are activists. He complains the Court has recently “witnessed the DISCOVERY of the individual’s right to bear arms” referencing the Heller decision, which affirmed the individual’s right to bear arms in DC. Then, he says that this is a right that had been “previously gone unnoticed by the Court for 220 years. Um, Sheldon, that’s probably because no level of government had ever tried to enforce an outright ban on guns until recently. Why would the Supreme Court have any reason to address blanket gun bans, if they didn’t exist before 1975? Before then, it was just understood that individuals had that right. There were no gun bans in the 1800’s. It was the activism of local lawmakers and lower court judges that recently discovered that the right to bear arms didn’t include individuals.

It gets especially rich, when he invokes abortion in his argument, considering that before 1973 there was no right to kill fetuses until the Court “discovered” one in Roe V Wade. Before 1973, it was just assumed that unborn babies had the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that everyone else did. I wonder if Whitehouse was just upset when the Court discovered that right. Somehow, I doubt it. It fits his political ideology unlike the incorporation of the Second Amendment on local governments.

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