Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Thank you, Justice Stevens and Mrs. Obama

Friday, October 28, 2011

In case any reader of our weekly Grassroots Alert has not decided how to vote in the 2012 presidential election, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and First Lady Michelle Obama have volunteered to help him make up his mind.

Recently, Time magazine asked Stevens what he would fix about the American judicial system. Stevens' response:  "I would make all my dissents into majority opinions."  Fair enough, since he's entitled to think he is right, even when a majority of his former colleagues and a larger majority of the American citizenry disagree.

But then Time asked Stevens to single out one issue in particular, and he said, "I would change the interpretation of the Second Amendment." Referring to the Court's decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases that the Second Amendment protects individuals from federal, state and local infringements on their right to possess and carry arms, he added "The court got that quite wrong."

In his dissent in Heller, Stevens claimed that "there is no indication that the Framers of the [Second] Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution." And in his dissent in McDonald, he claimed that even if one assumed the Fourteenth Amendment protects a general right to self-defense, that didn't mean that a person has a right to have a handgun. As if to suggest some logic to his theory, Stevens said "while some might favor handguns, it is not clear that they are a superior weapon for lawful self-defense."

We have earlier noted the comment of another of the four justices who dissented from the majority's Heller and McDonald opinions, Stephen Breyer, to the effect that District of Columbia residents who don't like the city's onerous gun laws should go to Maryland. And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another of the Heller and McDonald dissenters, has publicly indicated her hope that a "future, wiser court" will reconsider the Heller decision.

Of course, Justice Stevens and another of the four dissenting justices in Heller, Justice David Souter, have since retired and been replaced by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who dissented from the majority's decision in McDonald, and Justice Elena Kagan, who joined the Court in August 2010 and who had a clear anti-gun record during her service in the Clinton White house.

Sotomayor and Kagan were nominated to the Court by President Barack Obama, of course. And not long ago, during a pre-2012 campaign event, First Lady Michelle Obama asked some of the president's most ardent supporters to remember the Court's two newest justices when they go into the voting booth next year. In the upcoming election, she said, "we're going to make a choice that will impact our lives for decades to come . . . let's not forget what it meant when my husband appointed those two brilliant Supreme Court justices . . . let's not forget the impact that their decisions will have on our lives for decades to come."

Obama supporters will not forget, and neither should supporters of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment's margin of safety on the Court remains intact by merely one vote. Given the likelihood of at least one retirement from the Court during the next presidential term, the future of the amendment could easily hinge on Election Day 2012.

TRENDING NOW
Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Today, the Illinois Senate passed an amended version of Senate Bill 1657 by a 30-21 vote.  As amended, SB 1657 would exempt big box stores from its restrictions.

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News  

Gun Laws  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News broke this week that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reconsidered and “clarified” its Jan. 6, 2015 Open Letter on the use of stabilizing braces as shoulder stocks.

West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Thursday, April 27, 2017

West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Late yesterday, Governor Jim Justice signed two important pro-gun bills into law.

News  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lawsuit Filed Against California's Assault Weapons Control Act

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced it is supporting, along with the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), an important Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California’s newly expanded Assault Weapons Control ...

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Yesterday, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton proposed Senate Amendment 1 to his shell bill, Senate Bill 233.

Research Shows Murders are Heavily Concentrated in Small Fraction of Counties

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Research Shows Murders are Heavily Concentrated in Small Fraction of Counties

This week, a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) revealed just how concentrated murders are in the U.S. Citing county level data from 2014, researchers determined that a small fraction of all counties are ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

Public education’s long-running “zero tolerance” war against anything that suggests the idea of a firearm (including, for example, clothing, gestures, toys, food, computer images, and favorable opinions of self-defense) has claimed another victim. This time ...

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bill Headed to Senate Floor for Vote

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bill Headed to Senate Floor for Vote

On Monday, May 1, Senate Bill 719 is scheduled for a Senate floor vote.  Based on a California law enacted in 2014, SB 719A would create a so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) that could ...

NRA-ILA Leadership Forum: President Trump Vows Continued Fight for Freedom

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 28, 2017

NRA-ILA Leadership Forum: President Trump Vows Continued Fight for Freedom

That elections have consequences was made crystal clear at this week’s NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits in Atlanta, GA.  For the first time since President Reagan spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting in 1983, a ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.