I’m grabbing a sandwich and a mug of soup between meetings, and am just starting to look at some of the commentary on the Heller arguments.
And cross your fingers, but this could be good news:
In an argument that ran 23 minutes beyond the allotted time, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy emerged as a fervent defender of the right of domestic self-defense. At one key point, he suggested that the one Supreme Court precedent that at least hints that gun rights are tied to military not private needs — the 1939 decision in U.S. v. Miller — “may be deficient” in that respect. “Why does any of that have any real relevance to the situation that faces the homeowner today?” Kennedy asked rhetorically.
Anything that pounds a stake through the heart of Miller – one of the most deeply-flawed constitutional “precedents” of the past 100 years – so that I never have to listen to another spinny-eyed Clarence-Darrow-wannabee laboriously cite it as “the law of the land” will be a very good thing.
With Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Antonin Scalia leaving little doubt that they favor an individual rights interpretation of the Amendment (and with Justice Clarence Thomas, though silent on Tuesday, having intimated earlier that he may well be sympathetic to that view), Kennedy’s inclinations might make him — once more — the holder of the deciding vote.
That’s the good part.
There’s also this bit:
There also remained a chance, it appeared, that Justice Stephen G. Breyer, one of the Court’s moderates, would be willing to support an individual right to have a gun — provided that a ruling left considerable room for government regulation of weapons, particularly in urban areas with high crime rates.
Which, of course, has worked so well.
This is, of course, the big reason conservatives need to turn out this fall.
If the Court were ultimately to rule that the Second Amendment’s promise of a “right to keep and bear arms” embraces a personal, individual right of self-defense at least in one’s home, it might also have to address what, if any, limits government might put on that right, and what constitutional standard to use in judging whether a particular law’s limitations would be valid. Thus, it was no surprise that many of the exchanges on Tuesday dwelled on both of those issues, with no sign of anything close to a consensus on the answers.