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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Reinterprets 2nd Amendment

As most of you have already heard, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision in District of Columbia v. Heller today, in which it struck down DC’s handgun ban in a split 5-4 decision. Despite the fact that no federal court in the history of our nation has ever understood the Second Amendment to grant an individual right to bear arms – at least until last year’s DC Circuit Court decision – the majority decided not to rely on precedent and instead simply reinterpret the Constitution as they would like it to read.

In a Washington Post editorial, Colbert King wrote that Scalia "said that the Constitution doesn’t allow 'the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.'" He went on to discuss Scalia’s determination that "the American people consider the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon," and asked, "If machine guns one day should become the weapon of choice for home protection -- what say ye then, Justice Scalia?"

In a statement released this afternoon, Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron said, "once again, Justice Scalia’s Originalism is…little more than a convenient buzzword…His latest opinion, in DC v. Heller, exposes [his] hypocrisy and results-oriented…approach to the law." She went on to say that, "today's decision…should come as no surprise to those who recognize that Justice Scalia and his conservative counterparts, for all of their professed deference to legislatures and precedent, are willing to reject even those precedents they penned themselves when it interferes with the policy results they seek."

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