Concerned the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution was only upheld by a narrow 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court, I tuned into conservative talk radio to see if anyone else thought as I did that the decision was dangerously close to completely undoing the concept that individual freedom and individual rights are the bedrock upon which American culture has been built and has flourished.
My laments were mirrored and expounded upon by Rush Limbaugh in has diatribe, not to my chagrin.
Notably, Limbaugh challenged his audience to read Antonin Scalia’s opinion and described how the Associate Justice’s argument brilliantly considered not only a careful analysis of idiom, but supported that analysis with historic precedent and generous footnotes.
What is amazing as it is frustrating is to watch our Supreme Court continue to present to the American people 5-4 decisions along ideological lines communicating the sad fact that our Constitution does in fact have no clear literal meaning. Ergo, it provides no inherent protection of American liberties, and its guarantee’s are subject to whim engaged by the nine personalities inhabiting the high court.
In DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his dissent, 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…
So exalted, if opponent to that oldest member of the court I would reply, that’s absolutely right Justice Stevens that is exactly what this court would have you believe!
For context, here is the summation of Stevens comment, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy.
And finally, Absent compelling evidence that is nowhere to be found in the Court’s opinion, I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.
Instead Justice Stevens concludes that elected officials do have authority to deny self-defense means to citizens; even within the confines of their own domicile!? Is self defense not an inalienable right? According to Justice Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Souter, it is not.
Not only was it the Founder’s position, to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons… it was their position and intent to severely limit government power in every instance it might be used to subjugate individual freedoms. How Justice John Paul Stevens and his supporting dissenters can’t know this is quite mysterious to me, after all, are they not the ones with law degrees?
Routinely American Judges comprising that third branch of government, venture outside their constitutionally defined duty as arbiter and interpreter of Constitutional intent and throw aside literal meaning to favor an evolving or activist interpretation. Without exception, this interpretation has left Americans with less liberty forgoing individual freedom to despotic bureaucratic power.
KELO v. CITY OF NEW LONDON 5-4 granted authority to the City of New London to remove citizens from their homes and award their property, not for some public use like a hospital or a road, but to a developer promising increased tax revenue.
In those instances where bureaucratic power has been tethered by our judicial system it hasn’t been in support of individual citizen liberties but instead has provided some obsequious subservient ambition to bow to a new world order. Continued language among Justices recognizing and deferring to European law should assuage any consideration that our judicial system has not been prostituted by anti-American sentiments.
BOUMEDIENE v. BUSH 5-4 gives Habeas Corpus rights to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield in time of war. Already some fifty previous prisoners of Guantanamo Bay, since released, have been either again captured, or killed on the battlefield. Dissenters have warned that consequences of this decision will not only make it more difficult for the Commander in Chief to protect American citizens, it will result in increased deaths among American service personnel.
While Justice Stevens asserts the Founders did not intend to limit the power of elected officials, there is plenty of data available to the contrary, and the data is from the Founders themselves:
For starters, the Framers specifically amended the Constitution with the Bill of Rights to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate any civilian freedoms enjoyed that would not encroach on fellow citizens, including the use and access to weapons.
In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”
George Mason, who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights and refused to sign the US Constitution lamenting that it included no Bill of Rights; while debating in Virginia in support of the document he stated, I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.
John Adams in a letter to his beloved wife notably wrote There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
Ever the poet and wordsmith Ben Franklin explained, Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.
Even with ample evidence supporting the proposition that individual right is the primary attribute inherent to American culture; it is with obfuscating juxtaposition possible to pervert historic instances where even the Founders were not always true to these acclaimed philosophies.
Lamenting Adams passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, Jefferson complained the measures so palpably in the teeth of the Constitution as to shew they mean to pay no respect to it.”
Our objective must not only be to understand the literal meaning of America’s premier document, but to absorb its theme and overriding intent.
That DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER only ruled in favor of individual liberty by 5-4 reveals an excruciating evolution toward a European style government subjugating inalienable rights defined by God to favor rules manifest by the imagination of man.
It is not the point of the United States Constitution to guarantee our inalienable rights. These rights are ours guaranteed by God, and no paper drafted by man can award or deny such rights. What the United States Constitution attempts, is to insure ambition possessed by the debased subjects of arbitrary power does not subjugate those inalienable rights granted by God.
Governments, without just authority, do this all the time.
While progressive politics focuses so much attention on the 2nd Amendments preamble, A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state it seems quite enthusiastic to discount or to completely ignore a running theme which permeates the Constitution’s text, primarily, that individual freedoms are the bedrock of our healthy society and impugning these freedoms by government fiat threatens the most important foundations inherent in American culture.
The whole point of a Bill of Rights amended to the Constitution was to place reigns on government, not to free government to place reigns on people.
In the end, the most important concept that guides America is not that we have a right to defend ourselves, or that we have a right to free speech or religion, or that our property cannot be taken unless for public use and only with just compensation, our foundational theme is that America is based with individual liberties positioned at a philosophical pinnacle that government power should always defer to.
Judge Antonin Scalia obviously believes this as seems did our Founders, regardless their occasional transgressions.
Contrarily, should America’s citizens defer to bureaucratic power sometimes democratically appointed and sometimes not, defined by nine Justices on the Supreme Court, instead of by words within the Constitution of the United States?
That seems to be the sentiment embraced by John Paul Stevens and three cohorts.
Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo