Only the government can be trusted with guns and speech, our acquaintances say
Almost as shocking as the call, in his New York Times op-ed, to eliminate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was the revelation that John Paul Stevens still draws breath. When the man left the Supreme Court eight years ago he was already the second-oldest serving justice in history. He is today 97 years of age. Good for him.
We will not venture an opinion as to diminished capacity but it does not appear that the additional years have made the old Justice any wiser.
This is the justice who dissented in Bush v. Gore, despite every recounted chad showing Bush winning Florida. The same guy in Citizens United v. FEC. who sided with the minority that citizens freely associated in corporate governance have no voice in the electoral process. In D.C. v. Heller, Justice Stevens wrote that citizens may not defend themselves with guns in their own homes, a minority viewpoint. The Wall Street Journal is right, the Old Justice now will become the face of the NRA more so than Dana Loesch.
Critics often accuse the National Rifle Association of paranoia for arguing that gun controllers want to eliminate the Second Amendment. Well, being paranoid doesn’t mean the NRA is wrong.
Ann of Althouse teaches law
The Policy Werkes finds retired University of Wisconsin Law School prof Ann of Althouse more libertarian than conservative. Ann blogs:
Stevens could have written … that District of Columbia v. Heller is bad and should be overruled. Then he wouldn’t be directly threatening our constitutional rights, just informing us that we’re mistaken about the existence of one of them.
Instead, Stevens condemned the majority decision in Heller for “providing the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power.” You can hear Ann smacking her forehead:
Rights as propaganda! Look around. How often do we use “rights” as propaganda? … The idea that you’d excise a right from the Constitution to “weaken” a lobbying group that “stymie[s] legislative debate” is repellant. Notice the motive of restricting speech. A group speaks too powerfully; we need to change the Constitution.
‘Simple’? How about simple minded?
When he wore the robes, Stevens consistently ruled in favor of government control of political speech. Now he posits that repealing the Second Amendment “would be simple.” Ann is dumbfounded:
That’s just a weird thing to say. It’s not simple at all to amend the Constitution. Not only do you need 2/3 supermajority in both Houses of Congress, you are defeated if one house in the legislature of 13 states says no. This is why I was so damned sure in 2004 that George Bush’s anti-gay-marriage amendment would never become part of the Constitution.
It would not be simple to get rid of the Second Amendment through the amendment process. It would be virtually impossible.
Ann could have added that never has a single one of the 10 Bill of Rights ever been amended, much less stricken entirely. In fact, only one Amendment has been undone, the 18th ushering in Prohibition. Not that our liberal-progressive-socialist friends aren’t trying to geld the First Amendment. “Move to Amend” has placed two non-binding referenda on the April 3 ballot, one in Sun Prairie, the other in McFarland.
Ann has our bottom line: “I like kids as much as the next guy, but I’m not on the follow-the-kids bandwagon, especially when it comes to the value of respecting the American tradition of constitutional rights.”