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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Judicial Tyranny Averted

Upholding the Second Amendment should not even be news--and yet we nearly lost one of the most fundamental rights of our freedom this morning with a razor-thin 5-4 decision today in District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290.

The Second Amendment is THE pillar of the entire Bill of Rights. And yet, it survived judicial tyranny by a single vote? The right for you to keep and bear arms sits in the hands of a single, unelected elite snob in a robe in Washington, D.C.?

The fools running our lives locally and/or nationally have the right to tell me I can't own a pistol in my home to protect my family? As someone recently said, "Citizens are armed; subjects are not."

I am a citizen and a free man. I will remain armed.

Another 5-4 vote. We are dancing on the slippery edge of the blade.

Read the majority slip opinion here.

SCOTUS blog is here.

(I am taking my son to the firing range this weekend to celebrate.)



Mike Nugent said...

While I was pleased with the ruling, the 5 to 4 margin of the decision disturbed me greatly.

I cannot fathom how anyone seriously claimed that the right to keep and bear arms was a "collective" right rather than an individual one. The whole point of the 1st 10 Amendments was to guarantee individual rights. "The right of the PEOPLE..." should never have been construed as meaning "the right of the government (National Guard).

As a long time supporter of 2nd Amendment rights I know too that the fight isn't over. The grass eaters will continually try and chip away and this most fundamental freedom.

Not only gun owners but everyone concerned with individual rights and Constitutional guarantees should applaud this ruling. We can never afford though to let our guard down.

Dave Dameron said...


Your comments regarding the threat to our right to bear arms is spot on. It is a tragic situation that our individual rights are a matter of debate (by anyone). Fortunately, our rights have been legally retained (for now). Sadly, I’m confident that our individual liberties will continue to come under fire and so we must remain vigilant (and armed).

Those who study history know very well that after shedding their blood for freedom and establishing our nation, our forefathers very purposely included the right to bear arms. I know you love history, (almost as much as much as me-ha) so I’d like to share a few historical quotes with you regarding the 2nd Amendment. I personally find great solace in their wisdom, clarity, and truth.

The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it. [and] The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. Thomas Jefferson

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

Theodore P. Savas said...

Mike and Dave

Thanks for your comments. I have received several emails and a few calls on this one.

What people forget is that the Constitution is a LIMITING document. It LIMITS the power of the government, which exists only because the power it has is LOANED to them by the people, collectively. That would be you and me. Therefore, when judges do anything that limits individual freedom or pours it into government at the expense of the people, and have no constitutional rationale upon which to base their actions, they are usurping their power and should be removed from the bench.

As I tell my history and law students, think Rock-Ripple for every decision. The rock is the obvious issue in front of you, but the ripple is the effect of the decision. If the fundamentals are wrong, the ripple effect can and often will be catastrophic. So whether you agree or disagree with a particular outcome is not the real issue. The question is whether the decision was properly, in a technical sense, decided.

Example: The 2nd Amendment is in the Bill of Rights, which has universally been understood (and the framers noted such) to protect INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS. The Bill of Rights was not added to protect GOVERNMENT rights. (Stop and THINK about that for a second.)

The 2nd Amendment is plain to everyone who can read and understand history in context. So in this recent Heller gun rights decision, four justices tried to convince the American public that the right to keep and bear arms does not really mean what it says; If they had won, their decision would have simply wiped away the 2nd Amendment. (The DC gun ban was total. If it was allowed there, every jurisdiction in the country could pass the same ban—and then?) Yet, two weeks earlier in the Gitmo case, this same court decided that battlefield combatants captured in another country while trying to kill us have the same Constitutional (habeas corpus) rights as you and me. And that is where, exactly, even hinted upon in the Constitution? (Do chains of evidence rules apply? Do they get miranda rights on the battlefield? Will soldiers who "arrested" them have to return to testify? Will classified information have to be disclosed? Those only begin to touch on how crazy this decision was. Imagine applying that to WWII Germans and Japanese prisoners.)

Now, why is this important?

Because if you agree with the latter habeas corpus decision, there is no predictable, technical, correct application of judicial procedure you can point to for its basis: not prior law, not the Federalist Papers, not history—nothing. So ask yourself: If a court can decide something in that manner, with an argument made up out of whole cloth, what decision CAN'T they decide? And will you like that one?

What if the court decides private property rights really do not exist as written? (They nearly did so in despicable Kelo decision of three years ago.) Or that there is no freedom of the press? Or that the pesky 4th Amendment about unreasonable searches and seizures really does not mean what it says?

Well, they just tried to do something even worse, because an armed populace guarantees all your other freedoms remain intact. Ask the Chinese, ask the Jews, ask the Ukrainians, ask the Poles, ask . . . This is why this right is enshrined in our Constitution. It is not there so you can shoot cans off your back fence or rabbits on your back forty.

That, then, is the rock-ripple effect in jurisprudence. And that is why Justice Scalia's majority Heller opinion will be read and studied for a long, long time. It is a model of clear thinking on what justices can and CAN NOT do from the bench. All else is and should be left in the hands of elected officials.

When they pass out the pitchforks to throw the bums out, don’t forget to ride over to my place and pick me up.


Kevin said...

"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

When the people are allowed to have handguns, the outlaws will buy AKs.

Kevin Ahearn