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Supreme Court and 2nd Amendment

Discussion in 'Legal' started by The_Vigilante, Mar 14, 2008.

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  1. The_Vigilante

    The_Vigilante Member

    Jan 15, 2008
    Here is the latest on the 2nd Amendment issue before the Supreme Court:

    W's Gun Battle
    By Robert D. Novak

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Preparing to hear oral arguments
    Tuesday on the extent of gun rights guaranteed by the
    Constitution's Second Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court
    has before it a brief signed by Vice President Cheney
    opposing the Bush administration's stance. Even more
    remarkably, Cheney is faithfully reflecting the views
    of President George W. Bush.

    The government position filed with the Supreme Court by
    U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement stunned gun advocates
    by opposing the breadth of an appellate court affirmation
    of individual ownership rights. The Justice Department,
    not the vice president, is out of order. But if Bush
    agrees with Cheney, why did the president not simply order
    Clement to revise his brief? The answers: disorganization
    and weakness in the eighth year of his presidency.

    Consequently, a Republican administration finds itself
    aligned against the most popular tenet of social con-
    servatism: gun rights that enjoy much wider support than
    opposition to abortion or gay marriage. Promises in two
    presidential elections are abandoned, and Bush finds
    himself left of Democratic presidential candidate Sen.
    Barack Obama.

    The 1976 District of Columbia statute prohibiting owner-
    ship of all functional firearms a year ago was called
    unconstitutional in violation of the Second Amendment
    in an opinion by Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, a
    conservative who has served on the D.C. Circuit Court
    for 22 years. It was assumed Bush would fight Washington
    Mayor Adrian Fenty's appeal.

    The president and his senior staff were stunned to learn,
    on the day it was issued, that Clement's petition called
    on the high court to return the case to the appeals court.
    The solicitor general argued that Silberman's opinion
    supporting individual gun rights was so broad that it
    Would endanger existing federal gun control laws such as
    the bar on owning machine guns. The president could have
    ordered a revised brief by Clement. But under congress-
    ional Democratic pressure to keep hands off the Justice
    Department, Bush did not act.

    Cheney did join 55 senators and 250 House members in
    signing a brief supporting the Silberman ruling. While
    this unprecedented vice presidential intervention was
    widely interpreted as a dramatic breakaway from the
    White House, longtime associates could not believe
    Cheney would defy the president. In fact, he did not.
    Bush approved what Cheney did in his constitutional
    legislative branch role as president of the Senate.

    That has not lessened puzzlement over Clement, a 41-
    year-old conservative Washington lawyer who clerked
    for Silberman and later for Supreme Court Justice
    Antonin Scalia. Clement has tried to explain his
    course to the White House by claiming he feared
    Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court's current
    swing vote, would join a liberal majority on gun
    rights if forced to rule on Silberman's opinion.

    The more plausible explanation for Clement's stance
    is that he could not resist opposition to individual
    gun rights by career lawyers in the Justice Department's
    Criminal Division (who clashed with the Office of
    Legal Counsel in a heated internal struggle). Newly
    installed Attorney General Michael Mukasey, a neophyte
    at Justice, was unaware of the conflict and learned
    about Clement's position only after it had been locked

    A majority of both houses in the Democratic-controlled
    Congress are on record against the District of Columbia's
    gun prohibition. So are 31 states, with only five (New
    York, Massachusetts Maryland, New Jersey and Hawaii) in
    support. Sen. Obama has weighed in against the D.C. law,
    asserting that the Constitution confers individual rights
    to bear arms -- not just collective authority to form

    This popular support for gun rights is not reflected by
    an advantage in Tuesday's oral arguments. Former Solicitor
    General Walter Dellinger, an old hand at arguing before
    the Supreme Court, will make the case for the gun prohib-
    ition. Opposing counsel Alan Gura, making his first high
    court appearance, does not have the confidence of gun-owner
    advocates (who tried to replace him with former Solicitor
    General Ted Olson).

    The cause needs help from Clement in his 15 minute oral
    argument, but not if he reiterates his written brief. The
    word was passed in government circles this week that
    Clement would amend his position when he actually faces
    the justices -- an odd ending to bizarre behavior by the
    Justice Department.
  2. xjchief

    xjchief Member

    May 25, 2007
    People's Banana Republic of Hawaii
    Truth stranger than fiction?:confused:
  3. Sam Adams

    Sam Adams Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    South Texas
    Very odd, indeed. Maybe Cheney offered to take Clement hunting?
  4. ctdonath

    ctdonath Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    Cumming GA
    Might also explain why SCOTUS gave the SG a whole 15 minutes on his own: a chance to recant & resubmit (insofar as rules allow).
  5. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
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