Posts Tagged ‘District of Columbia v. Heller’
March 16th, 2016 at 11:38 am
Merrick Garland and the Second Amendment

President Obama officially nominated DC Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  The president dedicated a considerable amount of time during his announcement speech to make the case that Judge Garland is a “consensus” nominee.

But who is Judge Garland and how does he view the U.S. Constitution?

While much will be written and analyzed about Judge Garland and his judicial record in the coming days and weeks, Carrie Severino, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Counsel and Policy Director at the Judicial Crisis Network, provides some insight to help answer that question.  In a piece for National Review’s Bench Memos titled “The ‘Moderates’ Are Not So Moderate: Merrick Garland,” Severino wrote last week:

Garland has a long record, and, among other things, it leads to the conclusion that he would vote to reverse one of Justice Scalia’s most important opinions, D.C. vs. Heller, which affirmed that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Back in 2007, Judge Garland voted to undo a D.C. Circuit court decision striking down one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. The liberal District of Columbia government had passed a ban on individual handgun possession, which even prohibited guns kept in one’s own house for self-defense. A three-judge panel struck down the ban, but Judge Garland wanted to reconsider that ruling. He voted with Judge David Tatel, one of the most liberal judges on that court. As Dave Kopel observed at the time, the “[t]he Tatel and Garland votes were no surprise, since they had earlier signaled their strong hostility to gun owner rights” in a previous case. Had Garland and Tatel won that vote, there’s a good chance that the Supreme Court wouldn’t have had a chance to protect the individual right to bear arms for several more years.

Consensus nominee?  You decide.

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:47 am
Why Should the First Amendment Be Protected, But Not the Second Amendment?
Posted by Print

Today is an important day in United States Supreme Court history, and in the ongoing battle to protect the individual freedoms enshrined in the Second Amendment.

Two years ago, the Court finally and explicitly confirmed that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms in District of Columbia v. Heller. Today, it hears oral argument in McDonald v. Chicago to determine whether that right protects citizens against state infringement as well as in federal jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C.

Everyday citizens unfamiliar with Court precedent and the legal contortions distinguishing which provisions of the Bill of Rights will or will not be protected will scratch their heads and wonder, “if the First Amendment applies to protect citizens against state infringement, why not the Second Amendment?”  The Court has also recognized Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendment protections against state violation.  The legal niceties, however, are less important than the overarching illogic that even attempts to render Second Amendment rights less important or worthy of protection.

The simple fact is that this case illustrates once again the way in which politicized judges decide which rights they consider important based upon their own personal political preferences.  Our Founding Fathers did not draft the Constitution as a byzantine code to be understood and applied only by conceited judges.  Rather, they intentionally began the Constitution with the words, “We the People” and created it to be understood, treasured and applied by everyday citizens.

Accordingly, the legal nuances are less important than the overall theme:  big government once again seeks to infringe upon citizens’ individual freedoms and Constitutional rights via court decree.  Fortunately, the Court appears likely to side with the Second Amendment over the city of Chicago.  But even if it abandons logic and principle by upholding Chicago’s prohibition, the battle will continue with citizens exercising their rights at the federal, state and local legislative and executive levels.  In which case gun “control” advocates may ultimately come to regret a fleeting Pyrrhic judicial triumph.