It looks like it’s all SCOTUS all the time this summer — Justice John Paul Stevens is going, Solicitor General Elena Kagan is (most likely) joining, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is grieving, the Senate is attacking the late civil rights leader Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Justice Samuel Alito (and the rest of the Court’s uber-conservative activist majority) have pronounced that state and local gun ban laws are unconstitutional because the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is “among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty.”
Remind me not to go by Justice Alito’s house on Halloween in case he comes to the door packing heat with his bowl of Hershey miniatures.
Seriously, though, as a recovering attorney and someone who loves the Constitution, I have to ask — have Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas or Kennedy ever hung out in their Supreme Court neighborhood or other Washington, D.C. inner city neighborhoods after dark? Because if they’ve spent even the least little time doing that, their view of guns might be a little different.
Many conservatives are applauding the gun decision, claiming that the Supreme Court’s announcement in McDonald vs. The City of Chicago once and for all settles the question about what the Founding Fathers wanted when it came to citizens and firearms. But doesn’t it make sense to look at a provision about owning and carrying guns in the light of when it was penned — in the immediate aftermath of gaining our independence as a direct result of a bloody war and the reasonable fear that the King of England just might be toying with the idea of sending troops again to take back what he believed was rightfully his. If the same men who chimed in to create the Constitution were around today — in the time of ever-increasing senseless gun deaths that haven’t been curbed by owner registration or restrictions — I have to believe that they’d be okay with gun control laws that would keep guns away from those who have no problems with drive-by shootings or taking aim at someone over a cheap bracelet.
Maybe if we had Founding Father Zombies (like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) or Constitutional Writer Vampires (like Little Women and vampires) they could clue us in to what they were really thinking in 1787 and whether they would still agree today that everyone ought to have a gun to ensure “ordered liberty.” If there wasn’t more to it than that, we wouldn’t need all those other words they put in the Constitution, including the ones about preserving domestic tranquility.
The full language of the Second Amendment reads:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Unless we’re thinking of bringing back the citizen militia, it seems to me those so-called Supreme Court “strict constructionists” were just doing a big old favor for the National Rifle Association and nothing for domestic tranquility or ordered liberty.