Those dangerous radicals John Ashcroft and Ted Olson are at it again. The Second Amendment, the Justice Department has just asserted in two Supreme Court briefs, protects an individual right. People like you and me do indeed have the right to keep and bear arms. This, a lawyer representing the antigun Violence Policy Center opined, is a departure from what was "the government`s position for more than 60 years"--and an illegitimate one, because "people who happen to be in office temporarily shouldn`t use the office to promote their personal views." Unnamed "scholars and gun-control advocates" called this (according to the Los Angeles Times) a "`radical` shift in position" that "alarmed" them. Our radical Justice Department, though, turns out to be in good company. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, probably the second most respected 19th-century justice--after the great John Marshall--and the author of the leading early-1800s constitutional-law treatise, also took the view that the right belongs to "the citizens," not the states.
Read Original at: Wall Street Journal`s Opinion Journal