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Breaking: SCOTUS to Hear DC Gun Case

Many have been waiting with great anticipation about whether the US Supreme Court would hear this case, the outcome of which has far reaching Second Amendment implications:

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will decide whether the District of Columbia can ban handguns, a case that could produce the most in-depth examination of the constitutional right to "keep and bear arms" in nearly 70 years.

The justices' decision to hear the case could make the divisive debate over guns an issue in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections.

The government of Washington, D.C., is asking the court to uphold its 31-year ban on handgun ownership in the face of a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the ban as incompatible with the Second Amendment. Tuesday's announcement was widely expected, especially after both the District and the man who challenged the handgun ban asked for the high court review.

The main issue before the justices is whether the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects an individual's right to own guns or instead merely sets forth the collective right of states to maintain militias. The former interpretation would permit fewer restrictions on gun ownership.

Gun-control advocates say the Second amendment was intended to insure that states could maintain militias, a response to 18th century fears of an all-powerful national government. Gun rights proponents contend the amendment gives individuals the right to keep guns for private uses, including self-defense.

This case will cast a large shadow over the presidential election as well. Regarding the GOP primary, Rudy Giuliani has routinely been an advocate for gun control as mayor of New York, which is one of the reasons why conservatives are leery of him. But with this issue now on the front burner, he's going to have to address it, and in a way that will make conservatives comfortable. Now that Rudy's earning some acceptance from more conservatives because of his toughness on national security and in spite of his stance on abortion, he's got to be very careful to not blow it completely regarding this issue.

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog distills this entire case down to this issue:

"Whether the following provisions -- D.C. Code secs. 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02 -- violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?"

Lyle also notes this about the above sentence:

Some observers who read the Court's order closely may suggest that the Court is already inclined toward an "individual rights" interpretation of the Second Amendment. That is because the order asks whether the three provisions of the D.C. gun control law violate "the Second Amendment rights of individuals." But that phrasing may reveal very little about whether the Amendment embraces an individual right to have a gun for private use. Only individuals, of course, would be serving in the militia, and there is no doubt that the Second Amendment provides those individuals a right to have a gun for that type of service. The question the Court will be deciding is, if there are individuals who want to keep pistols for use at home, does the Second Amendment guarantee them that right. Just because the Second Amendment protects some individual right does not settle the nature of that right.

Allahpundit at Hot Air at first predicted that, with Kennedy being the deciding factor, the SCOTUS would rule that individual gun ownership doesn't meet the standard of "well regulated militia" but then later opined that perhaps Chief Justice Roberts just might be able to turn this issue into a federalist issue, meaning, that the definition of "well regulated militia" is something that individual states should be defining.

Update: Rudy Giuliani's campaign has issued this statement about the SCOTUS' decision to hear this case:

"I strongly believe that Judge Silberman's decision deserves to be upheld by the Supreme Court. The Parker decision is an excellent example of a judge looking to find the meaning of the words in the Constitution, not what he would like them to mean."


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Comments (20)

How would state militia com... (Below threshold)
Allen:

How would state militia come into effect on this? DC is not a state, has no real representative (house & senate). I'm not trying to provoke an argument, but would really like to know.

Also, IMO, gun control is hitting what you are aiming at.

Another source of power ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.

- Noah Webster, An Examination of The Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

I am glad this is being tak... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

I am glad this is being taken up.
There is a spectrum of issues...
Local rights v Federal rights.
Was this made with militia's in mind..

This is clearly a conservitive court.
If, let's say they support DC what will be the ramifications?
I see a narrow, limited decision either way.

One has to wonder why it has taken 70 years for this. Surely there were other opportunities..
I am not anti-gun, as in most other individual freedoms, I am for choice.

[The Constitution preserves... (Below threshold)
Clay:

[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
-James Madison,The Federalist Papers, No. 46. January 29, 1788

Rudy Giuliani made the foll... (Below threshold)
Bob:

Rudy Giuliani made the following statement today regarding the Supreme Court's decision to review the Court of Appeals ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia:

"I strongly believe that Judge Silberman's decision deserves to be upheld by the Supreme Court. The Parker decision is an excellent example of a judge looking to find the meaning of the words in the Constitution, not what he would like them to mean."

Allahpundit at Hot... (Below threshold)
Rovin Author Profile Page:
Allahpundit at Hot Air at first predicted that, with Kennedy being the deciding factor, the SCOTUS would rule that individual gun ownership doesn't meet the standard of "well regulated militia"

Kim,

Since no one has yet provided this argument, I will:

"A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The comma after "free state" IS the most important part of this right. The comma seperates two distinct portions of what the founding fathers intended when they wrote this.

Therefore, "a well regulated militia" AND "the right of people to keep and bear arms" are two rights that SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

I think you and Allahpundit should both understand what the founding fathers meant when the wrote this. I'm willing to hear anyones argument on this-----but millions believe this is the very premise of what was written.

"from my cold dead hands"

Rov

Therefore, "a well regul... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Therefore, "a well regulated militia" AND "the right of people to keep and bear arms" are two rights that SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

[A] string of amendments were presented to the lower House; these altogether respected personal liberty. -- William Grayson's letter to Patrick Henry, June 12, 1789, referring to the introduction of what became the Bill of Rights (emphasis mine).

Rovin,I'm with you... (Below threshold)

Rovin,

I'm with you regarding gun rights. The right to bear arms is one of our most basic constitutional rights.

I'm with you regarding ... (Below threshold)
Rovin Author Profile Page:

I'm with you regarding gun rights. The right to bear arms is one of our most basic constitutional rights.

Bless you Kim! The point that I really am intending to emphasize is that there will be anti-gun rights people out there that will claim that these consititution rights were intended for militias ONLY. And that is BS.

(can I get ya to go into my previous comment and edit one word. "I think you and Allahpundit should both understand what the founding fathers meant when the(they) wrote this.")

While this will be a very i... (Below threshold)
Allen:

While this will be a very important ruling, I can see the trouble the authorities will have trying to collect firearms from the people. I wish I could remember where I read it, but it said that 9 out of 10 people owns firearms.

So for all the gun haters out there, SHOVE IT.

Alan said:<blockquot... (Below threshold)
Rovin Author Profile Page:

Alan said:

While this will be a very important ruling

Alan, this will be a monumental ruling. Perhaps one of the most important rulings in the 21st century of American sovereignty, AND this should never be regulated to an individual state right. If the SCOTUS goes in this direction it will a mistake.

"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States ; all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the said Constitution, namely:

No where in the Constitution does is say that individual rights are limited to the states interpretations.

I don't know about what Rud... (Below threshold)
stan25 Author Profile Page:

I don't know about what Rudy did or did not as to the issue of gun control in New York City, but I do know one thing, if Rudy had not at least paid lip service to the gun grabbers; he would have tossed out on his ear when he ran for re-election as mayor.

The gun grabbers have been entrenched in New York politics since the turn of the 20th Century. It damn near took an act of Congress to have it where the New York City cops could carry a gun in the line of duty.

We all know that there is nothing better than the gun grabbers would like better, than to take the guns out of the cops hands and turn the city over to the criminals, street and the politicians.

The right is for the same r... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The right is for the same reason as the right to maintain a militia, not predicated on maintaining a militia.

This is clearly a ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:
This is clearly a conservitive court.
My ass its a conservative court. You guys keep this propaganda going so you can justify appointing another raging liberal judge.
Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Ke... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito are clearly conservitive with Kennedy a little less, still no liberal. Looks like a majority to me.
That being the case this is no slam dunk. Conservative judges may just view the militia aspect in a historical sense.

I am much more concerned about the 4th Amendment than I am the Second. I am, however against losing any rights rights we now have.


The constitution, when writ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The constitution, when written and needing to be ratifies had some opponents. To appease the opponents, it was agreed that after the constitution is ratified, 10 amendments, which are the Bill of Rights would be filed for passage. Which it was and did pass and was ratified. The argument for the 10 amendments were: "The constitution lays out what power the government has over the governed, but we need to have what rights the people have over the government." As in past freedom of speech cases, all agree that even if it is vile speech, we the people have the right to speak it. The same with guns; they may cause some bad things to happen, but it is our right to have them. ww

I very eagerly await Hillar... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

I very eagerly await Hillary's waffle on this issue. Again, a simple "YES" or "NO" is all that is required to answer a VERY simple question framed directly from the 2nd Amendment:

Senator Clinton, do you agree that the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed??

of course, no one will ASK her that question. not with weighty issues like: "Do you prefer pearls or diamonds?" needing to be answered!

Senator Clinton, do you pre... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Senator Clinton, do you prefer guns that shoot diamonds or pearls?

We have the right to bear a... (Below threshold)
Bad Joke:

We have the right to bear arms? Think of all the poor bears that will be killed in taking their arms for our own selfish use. Savage I say.

If those spoiled little lib... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

If those spoiled little liberal rich brats cant understand what the fouding fathers meant when they wrote the 2nd amendment then they should just pack their bags and leave the country we dont need them at all




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