Although I enjoy making sport of the Justices as much as anyone, the question of whether the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right, including a right to self defense, is not that difficult, at least to me. The framers of the 14th amendment assumed that it was one of the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. And if a right is a privilege or immunity of citizens of the United States, it hard for me to conclude that it does not bind the United States as well as the individual states.As I noted before, no matter what political leanings people may have, or whether they subscribe to an Living Constitution or an Originalist School of thought, the fact is that the words on teh page have to mean something otherwise we can just simply ignore the Constitution and allow the government and the courts to make up the rules as they go along. That is not repbulican democracy--that is tyrranny.
Now, as a unreconstructed liberal (I'll show you pictures of my bleeding heart), I don't particularly like this result. But it follows sufficiently strongly from other commitments I have about the Constitution that I must accept it.
That's how I come out on the case, but of course, none of the Justices is likely to reason the way I do.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Jakc Balkin on the Heller Case
Balkin, a self-confessed liberal writes: