Sunday, December 08, 2002

John sends this gossip that Scalia or Thomas might be promoted to Chief Justice of the US (Supreme Court). I think that there is zero chance either Scalia or Thomas will be promoted. They are clearly the best and most widely respected members of the Supreme Court, among those who have actually read their opinions. But they would face huge political battles, and I doubt that Bush has the stomach for it.

John also sends this speculation of whether the SC will hear a Second Amendment case. There is currently a direct split between the 5th (Texas) and 9th (Calif) circuits on whether the 2A protects an individual right.

The article says a couple of annoying things that are common to these gun rights articles in the mainstream press. It says:
it could spur the U.S. Supreme Court into deciding an issue that it last addressed -- without fully resolving -- in 1939: Does the Constitution give individual Americans the right to own guns?

Nobody thinks that the Constitution gave anyone gun rights. It only codified protection for gun rights that people already had. Later, it says it better with: "Ashcroft had announced the same view -- that the Constitution protects private gun ownership -- earlier in 2001".

Another misstatement:
The Supreme Court last discussed its meaning in 1939 when it upheld a law banning interstate shipment of sawed-off shotguns, on the grounds that possession of such a weapon has no relationship to preserving a well-regulated militia.

The 1939 Miller case did not uphold any gun ban or any other law, and it did not make any factual finding about sawed-off shotguns. The defendant Miller did not show up for the argument, and the SC remanded the case to the lower court to find out how sawed-off shotguns are used.

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