“Should we amend the Second Amendment?” Paul M. Barrett of Bloomberg Businessweek asks in a Thursday hit piece designed to legitimize an edit proposed by retired “hero of the political left” Justice John Paul Stevens.
Stevens, who was a voice of dissent in both the Heller and McDonald cases, meaning he does not think Americans should have a right to keep and bear arms, wants to add a restrictive qualifier.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms -- when serving in the militia -- shall not be infringed,” is the way he thinks it ought to read, and Bloomberg’s employee is right there with him.
“For a couple of centuries, you might be surprised to learn, the Supreme Court didn’t say exactly what the Second Amendment means,” Barrett assures his readers.
“As far as Stevens can tell, ‘federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by the text was limited in two ways: first, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms,’” Barrett parrots, just like he actually knows what he’s talking about.
Which he doesn’t, and neither does Stevens, who evidently can’t “tell” very “far.” The infamous Dred Scott case was tried 66 years after the Bill of Rights was ratified, not “a couple of centuries,” and Chief Justice Taney specifically observed that if Scott’s citizenship were recognized, "it would give to persons of the negro race ... the full liberty of speech ...; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went."
“Dred Scott followed antebellum judicial thought in recognizing keeping and bearing arms as an individual right protected from both federal and state infringement,” attorney, author and scholar Stephen P. Halbrook wrote in an exhaustively-researched review for a 1982 Senate Report.
“The exception to this interpretation were cases holding that the Second Amendment only protected citizens from federal, not state, infringement of the right to keep and bear arms, to provide judicial approval of laws disarming black freemen and slaves,” Halbrook continued.
Interesting, which side “hero of the political left” Stevens and the hired man tending the Bloomberg machine come down on, is it not? And regardless of shameful cases of convenience prosecuted and decided to perpetuate discrimination and victimization of black Americans (just like the shameful cases that declared segregation legal), it’s not like the legal minds of the time weren’t aware that the Second Amendment was not merely a restraint on the national government.
“No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give the Congress a power to disarm the people, William Rawle wrote in his seminal “A View of the Constitution.”
“Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under a general pretence by a state legislature,” Rawle explained. “But if in any pursuit of an inordinate power either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”
Since it was Bloomberg’s creature Barrett who brought up “exquisitely awkward syntax” of the period, now might be a good time to look up the word “flagitious,” just so we all know what kind of characters would make “such [an] attempt.”
Rawle was offered the post of Attorney General by George Washington, but turned it down for business and family reasons. His “View” was the standard Constitutional law text at Harvard and Dartmouth until the mid-19th Century. Against that authority, we have Stevens and Bloomberg’s man Frida ... uh ... Barrett citing the tired old Warren Burger Second Amendment “fraud” quote the left used to love to pull out back when they were still openly pushing their “collective right” nonsense. Perhaps they figure a new generation hasn’t heard it before, so there’s a fresh crop of rubes to be conned.
“The Chief Justice never said anything about the Second Amendment when he was actually on the Supreme Court,” attorney and author Dave Kopel noted in a brilliant dissection of that claim. “Nor did Mr. Burger write anything about the Second Amendment in scholarly legal or historical journal[s].
“No, the Chief Justice wrote about the Second Amendment in Parade magazine, in a short article in January 1990,” Kopel revealed.
In other words, it was not backed up by anything and it totally ignored “[h]alf a dozen Supreme Court decisions affirm[ing] that the Second Amendment is an individual right [and] scholarly consensus ... that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right.”
One of those decisions (and why Stevens doesn't appear aware of it since it was cited in Heller is inexcusable) was the Cruikshank case from 1876 (you know, "a couple of centuries" after the Second Amendment was written, right, Mr. Barret?).
"[I]t has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right," the majority decision read. "The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it 'shall not be infringed.' As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), '[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.'"
That means Stevens can rewrite 2A until the cows come home, and it will have no bearing on a right free people are entitled to exercise and that tyrants he would enable will abridge at their peril.
It’s noteworthy how the Bloomberg media machine continues to crank out pieces designed to persuade the public to agree that they have no right to be armed. After all, this is one of the elites protected by the finest security money can buy, former “law enforcement professionals” who can take guns anywhere (even foreign countries that otherwise don’t allow it) and who are trained to stand their ground with no duty to retreat. What’s especially interesting is, as with yesterday’s deconstruction of another bit of “cumulus fluff’ written by another one of the billionaire’s columnist fluffers, the pieces are so easily refutable by any who would question them.
Perhaps that’s just what happens when a “real reporter,” who may not know that much, at least knows that Job One is pleasing the guy signing the paychecks.
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