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Democracy In Peril

Friday, September 10, 2010

“. . . [T]he Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense.”--Justice Stephen Breyer

“By its terms, the Second Amendment does not apply to the States; read properly, it does not even apply to individuals outside of the militia context.”--Justice John Paul Stevens

Those words in McDonald v. City of Chicago are at the core of a judicial activist attack on the Second Amend-ment, signed by four associate justices of the United States Supreme Court: John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

They are the heart of two blunt U.S. Supreme Court dissents filed in opposition to the Court’s majority, which confirmed that the Second Amendment and its implicit individual right to armed self-defense must be applied to all levels of government.

Had these four justices been joined by a single new anti-Second Amendment vote on the high court, their words would have been the law of the land.

It didn’t happen that way, thanks entirely to courageous court appointments by then-President George W. Bush and a pro-Second Amendment U.S. Senate majority that fought hard to clear the nominations of John Roberts as chief justice and Samuel Alito as associate justice.

With those appointments, the future of the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right was assured: first, in the sea-change D.C. v. Heller case two years ago, striking down the District of Columbia gun ban as violating the individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms; then with the McDonald case in June 2010 applying that decision to every level of government, including Chicago and its suburb, Oak Park.

With Heller, the court recognized armed self-defense as a core element of the individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms. In McDonald, Justice Alito’s majority opinion was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia.

This adds up to a stunning victory, but with a huge cautionary flag. The dogmatically anti-Second Amendment minority on the high court is within a heartbeat of reversing both Heller and McDonald, especially with an Obama rubber-stamp Senate and a Judiciary Committee dominated by the likes of New York’s Charles Schumer.

The outcome of any future Second Amendment case before the high court would be disastrous if President Barack Obama and his Senate ideological water-carriers retain power to load the court.

So far--in terms of anti-gun high court nominations--Obama is batting a thousand. Justice Sotomayor, to gain confirmation, pledged that she considered the Heller decision to be “settled law,” yet she signed on to Justice Breyer’s vehement dissent in McDonald, which declared there is no such individual right. And as President Obama’s nominee to replace outgoing Justice Stevens, Elena Kagan has earned our firm opposition for confirmation due to her record of hostility to Second Amendment rights as a staff member in Bill Clinton’s White House.

Since Kagan would replace an anti-Second Amendment jurist on the high court, the 5-4 balance remains the same, but all that could change with the next vacancy.

Again, look no further than the threats leveled by the minority in McDonald.

Had there been five instead of four anti-Second Amendment justices, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms would be effectively written out of the Bill of Rights.

As Justice Breyer wrote, “After all, the Amendment’s militia-related purpose is primarily to protect States from federal regulation, not to protect individuals.” Breyer’s opinion was also signed by Justice Ginsburg.

As for self-defense, try this from Justice Stevens:

“In my view, the Court badly misconstrued the Second Amendment in linking it to the value of personal self-defense above and beyond the functioning of the state militias. . . .”

Or this embrace of foreign law:

“. . . [T]he experience of other advanced democracies, including those that share our British heritage, undercuts the notion that an expansive right to keep and bear arms is intrinsic to ordered liberty. . . . it is silly--indeed, arrogant--to think we have nothing to learn about liberty from the billions of people beyond our borders.”

It takes no imagination to see where this is going. Try the United Nations and the kind of global gun-ban treaty pressed by internationalist billionaire and Obama moneybags mentor, George Soros.

A sobering revelation about the future liquidation of the Second Amendment came last year from Justice Ginsburg, who told the elite Harvard Club that when majority opinions are “grievously mistaken,” as in the Heller case, minority opinions would be used to rewrite legal history and thus create a purely “collective right connected to the militia.”

Unless we get our friends, family members and co-workers to the polls November 2 to create a pro-Second Amendment Senate that can block anti-Second Amendment nominees, we will face what Justice Scalia warns is “a system in which unelected and life-tenured judges always get their way.” Such an approach, he warned, “puts democracy in peril.”

All of this will come true, unless we do the right thing this November: Vote Freedom First!

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.