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.