Archive for June, 2008

Heller Of A Decision

Posted in Politics on June 26th, 2008

On Thursday, June 26, 2008, The US Supreme Court gave its ruling on DC v. Heller. In a 5-4 decision the SCOTUS ruled that the District of Columbia’s gun ban was unconstitutional.

The Majority Opinion held that:

  1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
    1. The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.
    2. The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.
    3. The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous armsbearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment.
    4. The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms.
    5. Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion.
    6. None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individual rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes.

  2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
  3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny
    the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most cute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.

The full text of the Opinion can be downloaded here.

Related Reading:

US Supreme Court Opinions and their Audiences
A People's History of the United States
District Of Columbia Et Al. V. Heller: Supreme Court Establishes An Individual Right To Bear Arms: Under The Second Amendment; So Much For Gun Control
Politics (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Supreme Court's Style Guide

President Bush Lied?

Posted in Politics on June 11th, 2008

“Bush Lied, People Died” is a modern mantra among the Democrats and Liberal independents in the US. It has become an article of faith among the Left that the United States’ campaign in Iraq was based on a tissue of lies by Pres. George W. Bush and Vice Pres. Dick Cheney.

On June 5, 2008, Sen. John Rockefeller’s Intelligence Committee Report was released by a 10:5 majority of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). This majority did not include the Vice Chairman, Sen. Kit Bond. The purpose of this report was to substantiate those claims of falsehood.

Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence.

In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent

— Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.)
Chairman, Select Committee on Intelligence

Sen. John Rockefeller and his cronies – along with the rest of the Democrats – claim that the report achieved its purpose of proving that the Administration on numerous occasions, misrepresented the intelligence and the threat from Iraq. Sadly for them even their partisan report failed to prove their case.

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Reading:

Politics (Dover Thrift Editions)
Iraq + 100: Stories from Another Iraq
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Health Policy And Politics: A Nurse's Guide (Milstead, Health Policy and Politics)
The War That Saved My Life

Obama Claims Victory

Posted in 2008 Election on June 4th, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama has claimed victory in the race to be the Democratic Presidential Nominee, but has he truly crossed the finish line or is he merely claiming victory in the hope that doing so will cause it to be? The truth of how the Democrats’ nomination process works and the math involved side against Obama having secured being the the Presumptive Nominee.

As of Wednesday, June 4, 2008, Sen. Barack Obama has won 1,763 Pledged Delegates of the 2,118 total delegates he needs to secure the nomination. An additional 395 Superdelegates have indicated their endorsement of the Senator. This would seem to bring Obama’s total to 2,158 delegates – comfortably above the required 2,118 needed to be the Presumptive Nominee. So far, so good for Obama and his supporters.

Sadly for Obama and his supporters the Superdelegates don’t really count at this point. Their endorsement of Obama cannot end the race because their endorsement will not coalesce into votes until the Convention. With Hillary’s refusal to concede and suspend her campaign, this race will be going to the Convention.

Is Obama’s victory cry the truth or just the audacity of hope?

Related Reading:

Emergent Curriculum in the Primary Classroom: Interpreting the Reggio Emilia Approach in Schools (Early Childhood Education Series)
Election 2008: A Conversation In Heaven
Hillary (And Bill) The Murder Volume: Part Three of the Clinton Trilogy by Victor Thorn (2008-05-03)
Politics from A to Z
Guilty as Sin: Uncovering New Evidence of Corruption and How Hillary Clinton and the Democrats Derailed the FBI Investigation