Bang, bang! *UPDATED*

Just in time for July 4th, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Second Amendment says what it means and means what it says.

I personally am not now, nor have I ever been, a gun owner.  I keep meaning to go the local firing range and take lessons (operating on the principle that, since I’m surprisingly good at darts, I might be good at target shooting too), but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  Nevertheless, my personal laziness and history aside, I know a Constitutional right when I see one, and I’m always delighted to see those vindicated.

The opinion (including the dissent) is 157 pages long (which surprises me, since the Amendment’s language is one sentence long), so I haven’t plowed through the whole thing — and, barring the unlikely event that I find myself actually litigating a gun rights case — I probably never will. Still, I’m starting to read it now, and if I stick with it and anything particularly wonderful (from the opinion) or awful (from the dissent) leaps out at me, I’ll let you know.

The one thing that does immediately leap out is that Kennedy has fully and completely filled O’Connor’s shoes as the swing vote.  The case went the way it did only because he chose to side with the four strict constructionists on the court, rather than the four activists.

The decision is another reminder that an Obama presidency, which will give him the chance to appoint at least one, and possibly more, Supreme Court justices is an extremely dangerous thing.  I know that many people who are lukewarm about or dislike McCain are assuming that, even if Obama gets his hands on the court, he’ll be able to touch only the old liberals, such as Stevens or Ginsberg.  This thinking is a mistake.  Bad things happen and there is always the possibility (God forbid), that one of the strict constructionist seats may suddenly open up.  Do you really want to take the chance that something bad happens and Obama gets to fill the vacancy?

UPDATE: Another thing leaping out:  Scalia is a wonderful writer — lucid and simple.  He complete avoids the turgid, serpentine, incredibly boring prose that routinely characterizes opinions by O’Connor (Ret.), Ginsberg, and Stevens.  This opinion is actually written in English a lay person can understand.

Interestingly, thinking about it, the worst writers are always the activists:  Ginsberg, Stevens, O’Connor, etc.  I suspect that, since their arguments are so often not bounded by actual American law, they have to throw up huge, wordy, impenetrable smoke-screens to hide that fact.  The strict constructionists, who are writing within a sound framework, have no need to hide or dissemble.

UPDATE II:  On the subject of (God forbid), bad things happening to good judges, the moonbats are already talking judicial assassination.

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  • Earl

    I share your fear of Obama nominees….but am not at all confident that McCain will do what is right, despite his promises….

    He WILL keep his promise, I’m sure of that. But, only as sure as I am that originalist nominees will NOT get a vote by the Senate. McCain can nominate another Scalia, but his name will not be allowed onto the Senate floor.

    And it is the fault of John McCain that this will occur — it was HE who organized and operated with the Gang of 14 to avoid blowing up the unconstitutional “filibuster” of judicial nominees…..

    If McCain had simply kept quiet, the Senate would have been taken back to the days when every nominee got a vote, and 41 senators could not have held them hostage. It’s poetic justice that he will be hoist on his own petard, but I’m not laughing because the entire country will be the loser.

    I recently heard that he has an “out” – to give them recess appointments and precipitate a HUGE brouhaha, which may alert the public to the slimy tactics of the Dems. Don’t know if judges can be given recess appointments, but if so, he ought to.

    What are you betting on this — WILL the old Senate operator throw the gauntlet down to his former colleagues?
    I’m not holding my breath!

  • Tiresias

    I was going to say that…

    Good for you Earl! Most people do not – either genuinely or wilfully – seem to remember that we owe our present moronic position vis-a-vis selecting the supremes largely to the old maverick himself – because it was just SO *&^#@! IMPORTANT to “reach across the aisle” – and surrender on every principle you ever had. (If he, in fact, ever had any.)

    And your conclusion is also correct: it is poetic justice that he’ll be hoist on his own petard – but it pisses me off superbly that the little jackass has taken all of us with him.

  • Tiresias

    I would also point out one other aspect of this.

    We held on to the second amendment by one vote.

    That is not a big win, or cause for celebration.

  • BrianE

    It cuts both ways. If Obama wins, and the senate most assuredly remains Leftist, we will be thankful we still have the “unconstitutional filibuster” to fall back on.
    Of course, that’s assuming the R’s have enough guts to resist a Ginsburg and the D’s don’t use the same procedure threatened by the R’s.
    And any nominee that conservatives might endorse and McCain might nominate wouldn’t get to the floor either way.

  • pondering penguin

    I agree – Kennedy is the new O’Connor. At least he swung the right way this time. Scalia is brilliant all the way around – in writing or speech. Good ruling, good day.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I don’t really view this as a victory – our 2nd Amendment Right slipped through…barely. It’s the closeness of the vote that really worries me.

    The dissenting views suggest that there are four Supreme Court Justices that really do not believe in the Constitution, even to the point where they believe that Amendments can be dispensed with as “outdated” by Judicial fiat. Here’s this interpretative gem from Justice Stevens:

    “The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.” (via HotAir)

    Imagine that….the Framers actually believing that the power of government should be limited.

    Like I said, there are four Justices that don’t believe in what it is they are supposed to be defending on our behalves.

  • Ymarsakar

    Like I said, there are four Justices that don’t believe in what it is they are supposed to be defending on our behalves.

    When is treason not treason? When it prospers and can call itself the “status quo”. What has been for hundreds of years. Then it is no longer treason. Then it is just… the status quo.

    The reason why treason is a capital offense is because it, by definition and inherent nature, must destroy the status quo and everything in the Constitution is against destroying the status quo of the Constitution. It would not be very effective if it didn’t exist, not would it.

  • Ymarsakar

    And get this, people still think might doesn’t make right. These are the same people supporting the Supreme Court as the decider in all things. Why? Cause they have the power, duh.

    Oh, but might doesn’t make right. It is just the Supreme Court of the United States that makes right.

  • Ymarsakar

    This opinion is actually written in English a lay person can understand.

    That’s cause Scalia knows that law and understanding it is the power the SCOTUS deals in. If only lawyers and judges comprehend the law, then only lawyers and judges have the power. That’s not how things should be. That’s not what “We the people” should mean. That’s not what democracy or republican values should be enlisted in the aid of.

    UPDATE II: On the subject of (God forbid), bad things happening to good judges, the moonbats are already talking judicial assassination.

    No 10 moonbats are the equal of a single warrior in life and death combat.

    It is only the law, which disarms the warrior and gives him additional things to worry about like the safety of his family and his status and honor in society, that could ever provide the moonbats the tools of cheating to defeat the warrior.

    (operating on the principle that, since I’m surprisingly good at darts, I might be good at target shooting too),

    The key to marksmanship is breathing. Your meditation and kata practices would be more useful than darts.

    The firearm is a device that deals in vectors and angles. In order for it to shoot at what you want it to, it requires more than simply hand to eye coordination, it requires that you remain absolutely still before and after pulling the trigger. Any motion on your part, any shifting in the wind or nervous twitch in your hand, will cause the gun to shift slightly in angle and thus not hit what you are looking at.

    The fact that a handgun also provides recoil makes it critically important to maintain structure. Structure is essentially the feedback mechanism from which the force from the gun is absorbed in so you do not need to unnecessarily move large parts of your body to get back into the shooting stance.

    Darts is more like fast drawing and shooting from the hib. Only the most expert marksman can do that, for they have developed an instinctual or intuitive knowledge of where the vector of a bullet will go and can aim without looking down the bore sight.

    If you can hold your breath without moving at all, BOok, then you’re going to be a good shooter.

  • Deana

    Danny –

    You are spot on! I was thinking exactly that earlier today. I can’t believe how close this was and that Justice Stevens actually said that. Unbelievable.

    I feel as if they are looking at our history and actively attempting to turn its meaning on its head. Black is now white, right is now wrong, left is now right, and so on. It’s shocking.

    And Bookworm – I agree with you. Scalia is a master. I love his style and writing. It’s refreshing.


  • ProtestShooter

    I was really surprised – I’d never read one of these before but it was quite enjoyable. Turns out there’s a book Scalia Dissents that’s highly recommended (although most/all of the content you can get for free). I’m thinking of picking up a copy.

  • mkfreeberg

    I share your fear of Obama nominees….but am not at all confident that McCain will do what is right, despite his promises….

    Yup, pretty much. Vote McCain, this time he might mean it.

  • BrianE

    Has the left become arrogant, or have they tipped their hand too early?
    While 9/11 was years in preparation, I believe the Jihadists were premature in this attack on our soil– though the reaction of the previous administration to the myriad attacks on American interests may have given them a false sense of their power. It is only because they ‘under-calculated’ George Bush, that we recognized and took on the threat that they represent militarily.
    Similarly, does this minority opinion– and narrow victory for such a basic right, and the previous Bomediene decision, represent the left tipping their hand early, or a signal to others on the left of the power that may be theirs if Obama is elected?
    But whether future liberal courts respect ‘stari decisis’– which they defend loudly at times, or whether they will trash this ruling when they are firmly in power, I would suggest that it will become irrelevant.
    I think California, once again, is leading the nation in the attack on basic American principles.
    If I were a liberal gun-hating politician, I would go after ammunition. Since the second amendment doesn’t mention ammunition, a gun without bullets is an unwieldy club. Restrict access to bullets– which I believe California has already instituted. If this trend gains momentum, will a more liberal Supreme Court suddenly find a ‘strict constructionist’ mindset– and rule that the second amendment does not guarantee the right to bear ammunition?

  • judyrose

    BrianE, smarmy politicians may indeed go after ammunition next, but how can you call a firearm “arms” if it can’t fire? Without bullets, the thing might as well be a lamp you can knock somebody over the head with. We’d have to have a Supreme Court that was capable of completely disassociating words from their meanings. Not that Obama couldn’t find such people, but that’s what they’d have to do. Can you impeach a Supreme Court justice for being incapable of using the English language?

  • suek

    >>It is only because they ‘under-calculated’ George Bush,>>

    I think “mis-under-estimated” is the word you looking for! And I agree.

    >>Can you impeach a Supreme Court justice for being incapable of using the English language?>>

    Heh. They can’t help it…they’re libtards. They’re not limited by such mundane things as dictionaries…!

  • Jose

    As to restricting ammunition, there are numerous schemes underway. The most recent involved a gov agency attempting to require ammunition storage to meet standards for hazardous and/or explosive materials. This would prevent retailers from displaying and offering it.

    While ammunition could be hazardous in theory, I’m sure that household cleaners injure more people than boxed ammunition.

  • Ymarsakar

    The mercury in those new age flash bulbs also contain mercury and must be disposed of correctly if shattered.