pageok
pageok
pageok
Second Amendment Oral Argument:

I'm very hesitant to draw inferences from oral argument, but this time I can't help it. Here's Lyle Denniston on SCOTUSblog:

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.

"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."

Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
While we're indulging ourselves, may I just add, regarding Kennedy's perceived valence: woot.
3.18.2008 2:48pm
gasman (mail):
Second Amendment Oral Argument.

That would be something like shooting your mouth off?
3.18.2008 3:09pm
Matt Browning (mail):
I second that woot.
3.18.2008 3:09pm
TaxLawyer:
CJ Roberts has been quoted as saying: "If it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more." It's an expression of judicial minimalism with which many "liberals" (Sunstein et al.) might even agree.

In Heller, I understand the SG's brief to take the view that the 2d A guaranteees an individual right, but that the DC regulations do not violate that right.

If that is correct, then isn't the resolution of the first question (individual vs. collective right) unnecessary? The DC regulation would clearly violate no collective right (and if it's a collective right, might Heller not have a standing problem). So the Court could assume without deciding, the existence of an individual right, and explain why the givernment interests here trump that right (using SS/narrow tailoring or whatever SOR they felt appropriate).

If I'm right so far, and if the CJ means what he says in the quotation above, is there any chance we see a decision along those lines (CJ plus the four "liberals")?

I don't think there's a snowball's chance of it, and I may be wrong in one or more of my premises (NOT my area of expertise), but I thought it worth throwing out there.
3.18.2008 3:14pm
Sk (mail):
"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."



How is this different?

"With Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, and Scalia leaving little doubt they favor an individual rights interpretation, Thomas' inclination might make him -- once more -- the holder of the deciding vote"

Or

"With Thomas, Kennedy, Roberts, and Scalia leaving little doubt Alito's inclination might make him -- once more -- the holder of the deciding vote"

Or

"With Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Scalia leaving little doubt they favor an individual rights interpretation, Roberts' inclination might make him -- once more -- the holder of the deciding vote"

Or

"With Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts leaving little doubt they favor an individual rights interpretation, Scalia's inclination might make him -- once more -- the holder of the deciding vote"

???

sk
3.18.2008 3:16pm
Wrinkle-Free Pants (mail):
Yeah, and Breyer seemed more of a swing, actually. He wants to crunch the statistics.

Souter wants legislatures to decide these issues in the future.

Ginsburg and Stevens dissent on everything.
3.18.2008 3:23pm
Some_3L (mail):

How is this different?


It's the idea that Kennedy is the deciding vote because sometimes he votes the way conservatives want, and other times the way liberals want. But with the other four justices, conventional wisdom is that we already know which way they will vote.

It's the same idea as saying moderates elect the president. Core party members will always support their candidate, but a presidential candidate must convince the moderates that he's worth their vote. Likewise, at this particular oral argument, an advocate would best spend his effort persuading Justice Kennedy rather than "preaching to the choir" by making arguments that only resound with a Justice already on your side.
3.18.2008 3:36pm
NaG (mail):
I found it simply staggering that Dellinger, in his THIRD SENTENCE to the Court, admitted that the 2nd Amendment protected an "individual right." Right there, he just threw out D.C.'s entire "collective rights" argument, head over teakettle.

When one of the top appellate advocates of the day cannot even bring himself to argue in favor of a "collective-rights" version of the 2nd Amendment -- in fact, he disavows it immediately! -- I suppose the big question after all is said and done is to wonder why so many practitioners, judges, and professors got it so, so wrong for so, so long.
3.18.2008 3:51pm
KeithK (mail):

In Heller, I understand the SG's brief to take the view that the 2d A guaranteees an individual right, but that the DC regulations do not violate that right.


Does it say that? I thought it said something to the effect that they needed to remand to determine whether it did violate the right or not based on a more deferential standard than that used by the appeals court. There's a distinction there even if it might end up with the same result.

I saw the SG as defending the host of federal gun laws from being invalidated by a broad ruling here rather than defending the DC ban itself.defending
3.18.2008 4:01pm
The Cabbage (mail):
Fearless prediction: 9-0 to strike down the handgun ban.

Kennedy writes for 5 and says that a law infringing the right to keep guns in the home will get strict scrutiny

Breyer writes for 4. Absolute bans are no good, but there should be lots of deference to the legislature.
3.18.2008 4:02pm
NaG (mail):
I originally predicted 7-2 in favor of an individual-rights view of the 2nd Amendment. Now I'm thinking it will be 9-0. However, I fear it won't be the trouncing that gun-rights advocates hope for. I see four (Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas) in favor of "strict scrutiny." I see four (Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens) in favor of "reasonableness." And I see the Chief Justice in favor of -- gulp -- reasonableness as well, although he may be willing to strike down the gun ban without further proceedings, while the four leftists would want to remand the case for more fact-finding. The result would be 4-1-4, with the Chief Justice alone representing the opinion of the Court, striking down the gun ban but effectively leaving anything short of that untouched.
3.18.2008 4:09pm
JNS405:
There didn't seem to be much doubt that Kennedy favors the individual rights interpretation of the amendment, either.
3.18.2008 4:10pm
Thoughtful (mail):
This was, of course, a legal discussion, not a criminology discussion, but having said that, I found ironic Justice Breyer's claim that perhaps a total ban on handguns was acceptable, given the high death rate from handguns in DC, as long as people could own/access/defend with rifles and long-guns.

I believe it is well accepted doctrine in the relevant social sciences that long-guns and rifles are far more lethal than handguns. That is to say, all things being equal, one would expect far more deaths in a city where everyone had a rifle but no handgun than in a city where everyone had a handgun but no rifle...
3.18.2008 4:11pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
The Cabbage

Hope you're right. It would be a lovely result, and a burr under all the right saddles.

If not, I think its time to go invest in a Barrett 50BMG and a couple hundred rounds. Just to stash away. An investment for the future.

Come to think of it, might an upholding of the DC law create a surge in gun sales nationwide?
3.18.2008 4:11pm
wfjag:
In light of the text and history of the 2d Amendment, and SG's contention that it is an individual right that D.C., did not infringe, I've never had much doubt that it would be construed as an "individual right." However, all individual rights in the Constitution are subject to limitations and restrictions. Thus, assuming the Kennedy is, again, the "swing vote" the interesting question will be what restrictions and limitations the Court will outline as permissible, or whether the CJ's philosophy of only decide what is absolutely necessary to decide, and no more, will result in a majority that holds that the 2d Amendment is an individual right subject to limitations and restrictions like all other individual rights, but D.C. went too far, without further guidance.

Of course, as lawyers, we should welcome the latter type of opinion, as increasing the opportunities for employment in cases that will take years to wind through the federal courts, while generating much passion (&opportunity for getting the attorneys' names in the papers).
3.18.2008 4:12pm
omarbradley:
How about Kennedy? He comes out as the strongest supporter for the individual rights view. Given that the guy he replaced Bork is on record as the 2nd amendment being an anachronism, maybe it was for the best after all that we got him instead.

I predict Heller wins abut we don't quite get strict scrutiny, although the Court hints that it would rule that way in the next case.
3.18.2008 4:17pm
General Disarray:
"Come to think of it, might an upholding of the DC law create a surge in gun sales nationwide?"

If the Court rejects the individual right reading, or if it accepts that reading but holds that the DC ban does not infringe the right, it may be the gun rights movement's Roe. I believe that the reaction to a perceived anti-gun ruling in Heller could turn the already-powerful gun rights movement into a political behemoth.

I could be wrong, though.
3.18.2008 4:37pm
tarheel:

I believe that the reaction to a perceived anti-gun ruling in Heller could turn the already-powerful gun rights movement into a political behemoth.

I expect that the gun rights movement will paint any ruling short of individual rights/strict scrutiny as "anti-gun" and will fund raise and organize on that basis. In any case, this will not be a Roe, since the individual rights view is almost sure to win, perhaps even 9-0.
3.18.2008 4:48pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I originally predicted 7-2 in favor of an individual-rights view of the 2nd Amendment. Now I'm thinking it will be 9-0. However, I fear it won't be the trouncing that gun-rights advocates hope for. I see four (Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas) in favor of "strict scrutiny." I see four (Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens) in favor of "reasonableness." And I see the Chief Justice in favor of -- gulp -- reasonableness as well, although he may be willing to strike down the gun ban without further proceedings, while the four leftists would want to remand the case for more fact-finding. The result would be 4-1-4, with the Chief Justice alone representing the opinion of the Court, striking down the gun ban but effectively leaving anything short of that untouched.

NaG, despite not knowing what a "leftist" is (really, conservatives, if you don't know the difference between a liberal and a leftist, don't embarrass yourself by using the term "leftist"), has identified what the result is going to be. Roberts indicated that there's no need for a special standard of review; rather, any regulation that is analogous to one that was permissible in 1791 is going to be constitutional.
3.18.2008 4:53pm
Brett Bellmore:

any regulation that is analogous to one that was permissible in 1791 is going to be constitutional.


By THAT standard, we'd be free to arm ourselves with the latest military firearms, complete with grenade launchers and bayonettes. But the concealed carry movement might be in trouble... In 1791 they WANTED the public armed comparably to the military, it was only weapons less suitable to military use than criminal they thought to prohibit.

Come to think of it, I don't recall reading anything about ANY weapon being prohibited, as opposed to the carrying under certain circumstances.
3.18.2008 5:03pm
General Disarray:

I expect that the gun rights movement will paint any ruling short of individual rights/strict scrutiny as "anti-gun" and will fund raise and organize on that basis.


That's likely true, but those claims won't have much traction if the DC statutes are invalidated.


In any case, this will not be a Roe, since the individual rights view is almost sure to win, perhaps even 9-0.


If the individual rights view prevailed but the DC statutes were nevertheless allowed to stand, it could well be a Roe; an individual right holding that tolerates such extreme regulation would outrage many gun owners nearly as much as a straight collective rights holding. As well it should.
3.18.2008 5:05pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

I believe it is well accepted doctrine in the relevant social sciences that long-guns and rifles are far more lethal than handguns. That is to say, all things being equal, one would expect far more deaths in a city where everyone had a rifle but no handgun than in a city where everyone had a handgun but no rifle...


they didn't bring up the case of a woman or handicapped person being more able to handle a handgun more readily than a long arm- for those who care, they blew a PC moment, there.
3.18.2008 5:06pm
General Disarray:

has identified what the result is going to be. Roberts indicated that there's no need for a special standard of review; rather, any regulation that is analogous to one that was permissible in 1791 is going to be constitutional.


Yes, Dilan, we heard you the first time. I didn't take that away from the CJ's questions -- at least not with the great certainty that you express. But even if it's true, what 1791 law do you think was analogous to the DC statutes at issue in this case?
3.18.2008 5:10pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
General:

I think the DC statute is going to be struck down.

But I do think that just about everything short of outright prohibition of long guns or handguns is going to get upheld under the Chief Justice's standard.

There's plenty of wishful thinking going on in these comment threads. Strict scrutiny isn't in the cards.
3.18.2008 5:15pm
NaG (mail):
Dilan, I know what "leftist" means, thank you very much. I also know enough about what "conservative" means to have figured out that I'm not in that camp, either.
3.18.2008 5:16pm
notalawyer:
You're right, tarheel, when you say:
I expect that the gun rights movement will paint any ruling short of individual rights/strict scrutiny as "anti-gun" and will fund raise and organize on that basis.
I'm a life member of the NRA and have followed their rhetoric for some time. When they lose one, they ask for money because the apocalypse is upon us. When they win one, they ask for money because the forces of evil will not rest and we must not become complacent. The rhetoric goes over the top, but I tolerate it in the interest of preserving an important civil right.
3.18.2008 5:27pm
General Disarray:

There's plenty of wishful thinking going on in these comment threads. Strict scrutiny isn't in the cards.


I agree with you there. I have always maintained that the outcome of this case likely won't make a lot of practical difference in the long run: I expect that regardless of the outcome of Heller, gun rights will remain a largely political issue.
3.18.2008 5:31pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):

Fearless prediction: 9-0 to strike down the handgun ban.

Kennedy writes for 5 and says that a law infringing the right to keep guns in the home will get strict scrutiny

Breyer writes for 4. Absolute bans are no good, but there should be lots of deference to the legislature.


It was much more fun in the O'Connor days, when it would be 4 for strict scrutiny, 4 for deference, and O'Connor in a separate concurrence advocating an incomprehensible balancing test that basically meant "see me" for any future case.
3.18.2008 5:32pm
therut:
Dellinger seemed to like to say "libertarian" with a sneer in his voice a few times. Best he could do.
3.18.2008 5:35pm
Spartacus (www):
If that is correct, then isn't the resolution of the first question (individual vs. collective right) unnecessary? The DC regulation would clearly violate no collective right (and if it's a collective right, might Heller not have a standing problem). So the Court could assume without deciding, the existence of an individual right, and explain why the givernment interests here trump that right (using SS/narrow tailoring or whatever SOR they felt appropriate).

But since standing likely rests on the question of the existence of an individual right, assuming there is such a right to reach the second question decides too little--or too much, because if the P. actually lacks standing, the second question should not be reached. So the court must answer the individ. v collective right q.
3.18.2008 5:45pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Dilan, I know what "leftist" means, thank you very much.

No, NaG, you don't. You referred to "leftist" justices on the US Supreme Court. Not one of the 9 is a leftist. There are 4 who could be called "liberals" depending on your definition. But not one leftist.
3.18.2008 5:57pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Not one is a leftist? I beg to differ on at least Ginsburg.
3.18.2008 6:00pm
Waldensian (mail):

Dilan, I know what "leftist" means, thank you very much.
No, NaG, you don't.

Okay, both of you: please give us your definitions. And no fair going the Clayton Cramer route (his definition of "leftist" apparently amounts to "imaginary people I don't like").
3.18.2008 6:06pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Dellinger thinks 3 seconds is a reasonable estimate for the time it takes to undo a trigger lock. I guess he never had to do anything in a panic or having just woken up. Do DC policemen carry their handguns with a trigger lock on? If not why not, if you can undo it so quickly that it doesn't matter.

The whole oral argument was a big disappointment. I've heard dormitory bull sessions with more intellectual content.
3.18.2008 6:11pm
General Disarray:

The whole oral argument was a big disappointment. I've heard dormitory bull sessions with more intellectual content.


Yes, well, half an hour isn't really enough time to do more than skim the surface of 80 or so briefs, is it? But I think Orin's right: I don't think it matters. Those 80 or so briefs had settled the justices' positions before Dellinger opened his mouth.

It's a good thing, too, because Gura didn't impress me. (Neither did Dellinger, but I thought Gura was worse.)
3.18.2008 6:19pm
NaG (mail):
Dilan, the fact that you can't bring yourself to admit that Justice Ginsburg, who served as counsel for the ACLU and has espoused several causes tied to leftist interest groups, is herself "leftist" makes me wonder if you're really serious or just trolling. Justice Stevens is also a fairly easy one as well.

I define "leftist" as one who promotes policies and interpretations of law that favor the interests and positions of those who are politically progressive.
3.18.2008 6:19pm
Glenn Heights (mail) (www):
Oral argument excerpts hurriedly compiled here.
3.18.2008 6:47pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
A leftist means a socialist or a communist. Justice Ginsburg not only isn't a leftist, she isn't even that liberal. (I will remind people here that ACLU membership is not a proxy for leftism or liberalism-- Bob Barr, for instance, works with the organization.)

I define "leftist" as one who promotes policies and interpretations of law that favor the interests and positions of those who are politically progressive.

Well, that's a Humpty Dumpty definition. There are plenty of liberal non-leftists-- you want to eliminate them from the equation and imply that every liberal is a Pinko.
3.18.2008 7:23pm
Kazinski:
I had not heard this interpretation of the first clause before, it makes perfect sense.

Kennedy:

The first clause I submit can be read consistently with the purpose I've indicated of simply reaffirming the existence and the importance of the militia clause. Those were very important clauses. As you've indicated, they're in Article I and Article II. And so in effect the amendment says we reaffirm the right to have a
militia, we've established it, but in addition, there is
a right to bear arms.


Wow.
3.18.2008 8:25pm
TDPerkins (mail):

A leftist means a socialist or a communist.


Oh. Like both Democratic unpresidential candidates.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.18.2008 8:45pm
Brett:
A leftist means a socialist or a communist.


In what language? Certainly not English; perhaps Esperese.

In any case, it would be refreshing if so-called progressives like Dilan would chafe more about carrying the ideological baggage (or, if you prefer, bilge) of socialism than about carrying the nomenclature of socialism.
3.18.2008 9:40pm
Sid (mail) (www):
Thoughtful,

I have to question your thinking in the rifles and shotguns vs. handguns passage. Yes, the bullets are different sizes and some guns fire a larger bullet with more energy. It shorthand, we could agree for brevity that rifle bullets are more lethal.

And hell is hot, rice in China is cheap, and war is hell. How does the having a rifle matter when confronting a mugger, rapist, or killer in the park? You seem to have detached from reality. Allowing citizens to only own rifles or shotguns denies them the ability to have a weapon available for self-defense in parking garages, offices, in public, in the park, on the way to the gold course, between college school buildings, or any other place that self-defense is required.

The deterance value of handguns is that the attacker cannot discern who is carrying and who is not.

Also, rifles and shotguns are hard for smaller individuals to use. Further, individuals with physical impairments cannot readily handle a rifle.

Just how do you see this issue in regards to the current question?
3.18.2008 10:36pm
NaG (mail):
Dilan, methinks your version of "leftist" just whiffed. One need not be all the way to socialism and communism in order to be a leftist. One merely needs to be to the political left of the middle.

I also think your version of "liberal" probably won't pass muster, either. I have a feeling you think a "liberal" is somewhere between a leftist and a moderate. Sadly, we classical liberals -- the only real liberals -- have taken the term back from you leftists who have screwed it up.
3.18.2008 10:41pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

because the forces of evil will not rest


they don't.
3.18.2008 10:45pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
From my desktop Webster's: leftism-- the principles and vies of the Left
Left-- a radical opposed to a conservative position

liberalism: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.

Got it? Leftism = radicalism (i.e., socialism, communism, syndicalism, etc.). Liberalism = believer in civil liberties and government programs that assume the goodness of the human race.

I don't think you guys are arguing in good faith. You know the difference between leftism and liberalism. You just like saying "leftist" as a smear.

2 other points:

1. "Leftism" does not mean left of center. There are plenty of ideologies between socialism and centrism which are not leftist.

2. Yes, I am aware of classical liberalism. And I don't begrudge those libertarians and free marketeers who want to describe themselves in that way. But the modern usage of liberalism in politics is to refer to the ideology described above, i.e., an ideology that rejects government ownership of the means of production or repression of civil liberties but supports government programs to help the poor and disadvantaged.
3.18.2008 11:48pm
Brett:
Ah, argumentum ad Websteram. Generally people flip open the dictionary on their desk when they've lost the definitional argument: it's the last resort of someone trying to torture their preferred meaning out of a word, rather than conceding the common usage.

And "leftism", in common usage, encompasses but is not exclusive to socialist radicalism: though they are ideologically distinguishable, Che Guevarra, Noam Chomsky, and Dilan Esper are all men of the left; hence, leftists. Pretending otherwise -- to the point of claiming that those of us using the language correctly are arguing in bad faith and peddling a smear -- is laughable, no matter what Webster's says.
3.19.2008 12:09am
Jay:
I doubt this will change anyone's mind, but I'm fairly conservative and agree with Dilan. "Leftist," seriously used, implies something more than just mainstream Democratic party liberal; I don't think saying it means at least socialist is unreasonable. Likewise, I'm happy to be called a conservative, but would not especially appreciate being called a "rightist," which brings to mind uniformed Latin American dictators. On the other hand, I think "leftist" is sometimes used in an obviously jocular way to refer to American liberals, so I'm not sure it's really worth getting upset about.
3.19.2008 1:03am
TDPerkins (mail):
Jay, they want to openly nationalize 1/5th of the economy. There exists no ideological barriers in their party to nationalizing the entire economy.

Esper's definitions of liberal and leftist are outdated:
"the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties"
Lefties and liberals do not believe in the autonomy of individuals, they believe in the power of government to get things right more often than individuals, therefore government should have in hand in everything.

Liberals show no limits to their grasp but what they recognize they can't get away with yet, or what isn't personally popular with them.

Leftists are the more openly and radically ideological liberals.

Neither category of person has classical liberalism inhering to their schools of thought.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.19.2008 7:23am
tarheel:

Ah, argumentum ad Websteram. Generally people flip open the dictionary on their desk when they've lost the definitional argument: it's the last resort of someone trying to torture their preferred meaning out of a word, rather than conceding the common usage.

You listening Scalia?
3.19.2008 7:50am
Brett Bellmore:

I had not heard this interpretation of the first clause before, it makes perfect sense.


You hadn't heard it before because it's obviously silly: You don't amend a constitution in order to make clear what is already clear, AND hasn't yet been deliberately obfuscated, having been adopted only a few years prior.

The preface is there to make clear that it's a right to military arms, because the point of guaranteeing the right is that the people will ALREADY possess them, and be experienced in their use, when called up to join a militia. But Kennedy, who doesn't want to kill the amendment off entirely, can't bear the thought of upholding it in it's original sense, either. (Which is why he dissed Miller, which got it right.)

So he remakes it as a right to own whatever firearms the government decides are suitable for civilians, (Let's hope they don't decide it's supersoakers.) while the good stuff gets reserved for the military. Only, having remade it into something he can tolerate, he has to explain that pesky preface, can't leave it just dangling there.

So we get this hokey explanation, which honestly makes no sense.
3.19.2008 8:10am
NaG (mail):
You have your Webster's, I have my Wikipedia: "In politics, the left refers to those who prioritize social equality as a political end, in opposition to the right wing, which view this pursuit as a threat to liberty (in particular the liberties of a civil society) and/or existing traditions." A leftist, thus, is a member of the left-wing. I didn't say "leftism" at any time, mind you. Frankly, that term isn't really in common use, and neither is "rightism."

Oh, and for liberalism: "Liberalism refers to a broad array of related ideas and theories of government that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal."

Needless to say, Wikipedia will have the more modern usage of the word than the dictionary.
3.19.2008 8:18am
David Schwartz (mail):
Scalia's parsing of the second makes the most sense to me:
I don't see how there's any contradiction between reading the second clause as a personal guarantee and reading the first one as assuring the existence of a militia, not necessarily a State-managed militia because the militia that resisted the British was not State-managed. But why isn't it perfectly plausible, indeed reasonable, to assume that since the framers knew that the way militias were destroyed by tyrants in the past was not by passing a law against militias, but by taking away the people's weapons -- that was the way militias were destroyed. The two clauses go together beautifully: Since we need a militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
3.19.2008 10:40am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
In addition to Jay's point, there's a point about motivation here. You guys call liberals "leftist" because it allows you to imply that we are radicals rather than in the mainstream (see TDPerkins' claim that we want to openly nationalize 1/5 of the economy).

In other words, you KNOW that "leftism" connotes socialism, but you CLAIM that you are really being neutral. But if you were really being neutral, you wouldn't have any great desire to use the term.
3.19.2008 5:12pm
NaG (mail):
My motivation for describing Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer as "leftists" is precisely the same as those who refer to Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Kennedy, and the Chief Justice as "conservatives." I'm not understanding your hysterics over this.

And again, the Left has lost its claim over the word "liberal." True liberals do share some causes and beliefs with the Left, but are a separate breed completely.
3.19.2008 6:51pm
Guest!:
This is reading an awful lot into oral arguments, but is it possible that Kennedy would support an individual rights reading but not support incorporation against the states? If so, that's not a big win for 2nd amendment supporters. See this statement made to General Clement:

JUSTICE KENNEDY: So in your view this amendment has nothing to do with the right of people living in the wilderness to protect themselves, despite maybe an attempt by the Federal Government, which is what the Second Amendment applies to, to take away their weapons?
3.20.2008 12:31pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
And again, the Left has lost its claim over the word "liberal."

That's silly. For 95 percent of Americans, the opposite of conservativism is "liberalism", not "leftism".

You are just being dishonest. You love making it sound like everyone who doesn't agree with you is a radical. And that's why you use the term "leftist".
3.20.2008 6:49pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
As to the where are the grizly bear question... there were 262 murder victims in DC last year despite the most stringent gun control in the country. Im not sure if they would have preferred death by bear, but i am sure a firearm would have given them a better chance against either.
3.21.2008 7:45pm