U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Right to Bear Arms in 5-4 Decision

Four members of the United States Supreme Court (USSC) in the case of McDonald v. Chicago yesterday preferred to strip the American people of their God-given, constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms:  Justices Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor.

Thankfully, the champions of freedom and liberty on the court still outnumber the statists.

The five justices affirming the Second Amendment:  Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas.

The full case can be found here on the USSC website.

What stood out in the McDonald v Chicago case was the challenge to the city’s gun ban which claimed it was not an out-and-out ban.  Citizens were still allowed to own a handgun, but had to seek a permit.  The permitting process bans most handguns in effect instituting a ban.

Generally speaking, the court found this ban unconstitutional, saying — to put it very simply — the right to self defense is a fundamental right, and the decision bound the states and local jurisdictions to recognize the federally protected Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in a process known as “incorporation.”

The dissenting justices argued you have a right to defend yourself but you don’t get to choose in what manner you can defend yourself.  Ahem.

Given the very liberal Elena Kagan seeks to replace the very liberal Stevens, the balance of the court would not appear to change on this one fundamental area of the Bill of Rights.  Yet a Republican filibuster of Kagan’s nomination is still “conceivable” should Kagan actually let slip her hard-left agenda during the confirmation process. 

Republicans praised the Supreme Court decision yesterday as the news broke.  Some of the highlights from the House.

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio):

“The Supreme Court’s decision today that every American has Second Amendment rights is a triumph for common sense, our Constitution, and the proper role of the Supreme Court in our Republic.  It should remind us that the job of the Supreme Court is enforcing and protecting our rights and the clear meaning of our Constitution – not inventing new ways to advance liberal public policy goals by legislating from the bench and straining to discern previously undiscovered partisan advantage in the ‘penumbras’ of our laws.

“That is why the hearings in the Senate this week on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan are so crucial.  Since she has no record as a judge – only as an academic and political lawyer – she must be prepared to honestly and clearly answer detailed questions about her views on the role of the Supreme Court.  The American people deserve an advocate for the Constitution on the highest court in the land – not an advocate for liberal ideology or the Democratic Party.”

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.):

“The Supreme Court’s decision today reinforces the power and vitality of our Constitution as a bulwark against the encroachment by government on our fundamental rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.  As Americans, the protection of our Constitutional rights shouldn’t depend on which state or which city we reside in.  Today’s decision reflects what the Supreme Court and the legal system is supposed to be all about: strictly interpreting the words of the Constitution, not bending them or deviating them for ideological or political ends.

“I am disappointed that President Obama’s first appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor, joined the dissent in trampling this important right today, after previously claiming to understand the right the court upheld in the Heller case.  I hope that as the Senate reviews the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, Senators will be sure to discern exactly where she stands on the plain words of the Constitution.”

House Republican Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.):

“In its ruling today, the Supreme Court has affirmed a fundamental point of federalism: No state has the right to legislate away the blood-bought Constitutional right of every law-abiding American to protect their person, their family, and their liberty.  

“This decision is a victory for the Second Amendment, but as a 5 to 4 ruling among the justices it also sends a warning. The Supreme Court is closely divided and at least four of its members would not extend a basic constitutional right to all fifty states. For that reason alone, the nomination and confirmation of any Supreme Court Justice requires careful deliberation to ensure that the members of the high court will protect the rights handed down by our Founding Fathers.”

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas):

“Today’s decision affirms for all Americans the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  This is a resounding victory for the American people and sets a strong precedent that the right of the American people to use firearms cannot be unduly restricted.  

“Following the Court’s decision two years ago to overturn the D.C. gun ban, it is disappointing that states continue to unconstitutionally place limits on Americans’ gun rights.  Today’s decision should put an end to any government seeking to limit or extinguish the Second Amendment rights of its citizens.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) of the House Judiciary Committee:

“The Second Amendment to the Constitution clearly states that we have a right ‘to keep and bear arms.’ This right was enshrined in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers and must not be infringed. Today’s Supreme Court decision was a victory for the Second Amendment. The Court upheld the Constitution and affirmed our right to bear arms at the federal, state and local levels.”
“At the same time, today’s 5-4 decision reveals that our second amendment rights are one vote away from being lost, and it highlights the need to put strict constructionists on the court instead of activist liberals like Elena Kagan.  Obama would not nominate a justice to any federal court who holds the conviction that the Constitution means what it says, including Kagan."