November 21, 2007

What effect will the Supreme Court's gun case have on the '08 election?

Jack Balkin asks a great question. To answer his question, he predicts what the Court will say in its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller:
(1) that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right, (2) that this right applies against laws in federal territories like the District of Columbia, (3) that a relatively deferential standard of reasonableness applies, and (4) that, even under this relatively deferential statute at least one part of the D.C. gun control law is unconstitutional. That is to say, I predict a decision that tries to split the difference and is aimed roughly at the middle of public opinion, even if not the exact center.
That sounds right to me.

Will people get stirred up if the outcome is that hedged and bland? Balkin thinks the newspaper headlines will scare people — and they'll scare people into the embrace of the Democrats:
[I]f the Court strikes down any part of the D.C. handgun ban, the headlines in the newspapers will announce that the Court has protected gun owners rights and that gun control laws around the country are now constitutionally vulnerable....
So, just as a decision favoring abortion rights fires up pro-life politics, a decision recognizing gun rights will stir up the people who support gun control.
Obviously if I am wrong in my predictions, and the Court adopts the collective rights theory, conservatives will benefit. But I think there is very little chance that the Court would take this case if it a majority did not want to embrace the individual rights position. And even if members of a conservative majority understood that the appearance of a conservative result would help liberals and Democrats, I do not think it would change their decision in the case.
Is Balkin trying to mess with Justice Kennedy's head?

Anyway, Balkin's prediction is that the Court will slice it down the middle, but people, under the sway of inflammatory newspaper headlines, will misunderstand the case and vote for Hillary Clinton.

Very interesting. I think he's missing something, though.

The decision won't come for many months. (Oral argument should be in March.) During this time, it won't be a court opinion affecting voters minds, it will be a debate about gun rights and, more broadly, how to interpret the Constitution. Candidates will be asked all sorts of questions as this issue comes to the forefront.

The issue will get intertwined — I predict — with the abortion question. How should we interpret the text of the 2d Amendment, and how does that fit with the way you interpret the Constitution to protect the right of privacy? What kind of Justice will you put on the Supreme Court? If you support Roe v. Wade, you can't suddenly switch to strict constructionism to beat that pesky 2d Amendment into submission.

Things can get complicated, and it will be a difficult dance — more difficult for some that others. I'm not ready to assume Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate.

Barack Obama ought to see an opportunity here. He was a constitutional law professor. He may have the skill to speak elegantly about constitutional rights when asked questions that leave Hillary Clinton spluttering for answers that don't sound hypocritical. John Edwards has legal skill too, and he may find a way to speak clearly and persuasively to people about constitutional law.

Meanwhile, the Republicans can make progress promoting a coherent approach to constitutional interpretation and sound judicial appointments, but they too are vulnerable to stumbing over the complexities. Who will do the worst? There are lots of contenders! But it's quite likely Giuliani will do the best, given his extremely strong legal background.

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds assesses the effect on the election. Unlike Balkin, he concentrates on the pre-decision debate about the issue:
[T]he court has ensured that the gun-rights issue will move to the forefront this election season, at both the presidential and congressional levels. This is probably bad for Democrats, given that most Americans believe they have some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

It's also probably bad for Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, who have generally been less supportive of gun rights than the other GOP contenders. But maybe Hillary Clinton will prove flexible: Bill Clinton said that the gun issue cost the Democrats control of Congress in 1994, and Hillary no doubt remembers that.

81 comments:

Der Hahn said...

John Edwards has legal skill too, and he may find a way to speak clearly and persuasively to people about constitutional law.

You can write that after he claims that, as President, he could unilaterally suspend health insurance not only for Executive Branch employees but also for *Congress*?

Bob said...

He's definitely got it wrong. The last time that the Dems were in power and angered gun owners, back in '93 with the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, the very next election cycle the enraged gun owners turned control of Congress over to the Republicans. The MSM tried to spin this as having been caused by Hillarycare, but even Bill Clinton acknowledged that the gun control laws caused it; the Dems have conscientiously steered away from gun control rhetoric ever since.

rhhardin said...

So, just as a decision favoring abortion rights fires up pro-life politics, a decision recognizing gun rights will stir up the people who support gun control.

Stirring-up is always directed at women, and soap opera news junkies in particular (40% of women, a minority but a big one), because they're the news business model audience. You don't need actual news to get them to tune in, and so they come every day, news or no news, provided there is some soap opera story line. They pay the bills, owing to their daily presence.

Not through any preference in the news business, but it's all they can get. No other business model works.

The eyes of the stirred-up and frightened are sold to advertisers. They, not news stories, are the product in the news business. Every analysis has to include this if it's going to get anywhere.

Secondary is the outraged reaction of the non-tuners-in to the drumbeat of soap opera politics ; which is from no business model but merely disgust with the state of the country, done as a hobby.

It's an effect on the success of the soap news business. I don't think it could survive on its own.

Gahrie said...

I will disagree with the predictions on one point. I believe that they will impose a rather strict standard of scrutiny, especially if they rule that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states or ignore that issue completely.

Given the wording of the cert, I think there is a small chance that they will rule that the Fourteenth Amendment covers Second Amendment rights also.

Pogo said...

It is something of a recurrent dream for modern Democrats that a bunch of rednecked NASCAR yahoos in some southern holler are all that stand between the Wild West and a country without violent death.

They seem to view the democratic process as one that has no firm basis, no actual rights that exist themselves, prior to and despite any form of government. That is, they reject the natural law cited by the founders, and maintain instead that the State grants all rights.

The former are citizens, who have a claim against government interference, the latter are mere subjects, who must accept whatever rights the Soveriegn deigns to provide, mere supplicants in sufferance to their Platonic betters.

Richard Fagin said...

You would be surprised at how few people actually support outright bans on gun ownership. Massachusetts tried a handgun ownership ban in the 1970s, complete with editorials in the Boston Globe comparing gun ban opponents to babies wanting their "toys." On a statewide ballot, the gun ban failed 2 to 1. This was Massachusetts, mind you. Sure the newspapers will print scary stories. Few people will pay them any mind.

robert_m_sykes said...

Wasn't the 14th amendment equal protection clause used to apply the establishment clause against the states? Wouldn't the same reasoning apply the 2nd amendment against the state?

Simon said...

Gahrie, Robert, it seems to me that they have no reason to touch the incorporation question because it's irrelevant to the disposition of this case. Of course, this case has consequences for that question, but I see no reason for them to take that up (recall that the court has declined to approach incorporation the way that Justice Black urged, jot for jot, and instead practiced selective incorporation).

Ann Althouse said...

The Court had almost no analysis when it extended the Establishment Clause to the states. That would not happen today.

Simon said...

"I think there is very little chance that the Court would take this case if it a majority did not want to embrace the individual rights position."

That's assuming the answer. It's assuming that there's a majority for the individual rights position.

Simon said...

Ann, do you think there's any merit to the theory that the establishment clause is, if not quite sui generis, then at least a more difficult incorporation question than most of the bill of rights -- whether one gets there through P&I as I would or substantive due process as the court has -- in that it could be construed as a federalism provision, as Thomas suggested in Newdow and I think Cutter?

Hoosier Daddy said...

John Edwards has legal skill too, and he may find a way to speak clearly and persuasively to people about constitutional law.

Indeed. Maybe we can get him to channel one of the Founding Fathers and we can put this debate to bed once and for all.

Gahrie said...

Simon:

The cert asks, does the statute "violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes

1) The way they worded the cert seems to provide an opening to rule on whether the Second Amendment is a fundamental individual right similar to free speech. Such a decision would then allow the Court to rule that this right was incorporated by the Fourteenth amendment.

2) Given the way that the cert was worded, I think it is safe to assume there is a majority in favor of the individual rights interpretation. The cert seems to treat it as a settled issue. The question posed is not "is there an individual right....?", but instead "does this statute violate the individual right that exists?"

MadisonMan said...

I'd say the effect of Guns on the election will be minimal compared to the effect of the economy and Iraq.

George said...

I doubt most Americans look with enthusiasm at the likelihood that superlawyer candidates (Obama, Guiliani, Clinton, and Edwards) will shed light on the gun debate. Unless someone "misspeaks."

Zzzzzzz.....

Gahrie said...

MM:

I think the effect of this case on the election entirely depends on the stand that the candidates take on the issue.

That said, I expect Hillary and all of the Republican candidates to come out in favor of an individual right to own a gun, and against the Washington D.C. ban.

Simon said...

MadisonMan, I think if the court throws out the second amendment (functionally-speaking), it seems to me that the Democrats lose, period. Not that I think that's a likely outcome, but I disagree with Gahrie to this extent: it takes only four votes to grant, and we don't know how Kennedy or Alito will come out (we don't really know how Roberts will come out, but I think he's more likely to go for the individual rights interpretation).

Lastly, Gahrie, anything that they say about the Fourteenth Amendment in this case will be dicta at best, and I think Roberts has made it quite clear that he thinks that one shouldn't try to decide everything in one case, particularly when that might endanger a majority. Suppose that Alito, for example, agrees that the 2d Amendment precludes this law, but doesn't think it's incorporated. During the Rehnquist court, one might have expected to see an opinion talking about the Fourteenth Amendment anyway, prompting a concurrence saying it wasn't going to go that far (see Kennedy opinions passim, prototypically Lujan and Lopez), but I think Roberts would prefer to simply delete some dicta and spare the concurrence.

titusbk said...

Any outcome on any topic here favors Rudy.

titusbk said...

I want another vlog now!

Gahrie said...

Simon:

So do you think their is a chance that there will be a concurring opinion advancing the incorporation issue in order to encourage a case in which the Court could rule that way (a la Justice Ginsburg0?

Simon said...

I phrased that badly, I don't mean endanger a majority, what I meant was that I think Roberts wants as many votes for the majority opinion and as few concurrences as possible, and if keeping mum on the incorporation question gets him a 6-3 vote with an opinion and a dissent rather than a 5-4 with a majority opinion, a concurrence and a dissent, I think he'll do that. He's not Bill Brennan of course, but I think he's happy with something that's not quite minimalism so much as a kind of functional minimalism - decide what needs to be decided in a way that's efficient as possible and can gain as many votes as possible, and go as far as is efficient without losing votes.

titusbk said...

I am off work today and I am horny.

I woke up with a morning woody.

titusbk said...

The rare clumbers are looking at me and ready for there walk. You should see their little eyes right now watching my every move.

I pinched my morning loaf and I had a rare clumber on each side of the throne. That's how close I am to the rare clumbers.

ricpic said...

Well, single and single mother urban females are in the Democratic camp as is, and they're the demographic that would most likely be vulnerable to scare tactics about out of control gun totin' redneck males, so I don't see how a pro gun SCOTUS decision would benefit the Dems all that much.

Simon said...

Gahrie: I think Roberts will try to avoid it, but it's down to each individual justice. He doesn't always get his way - you could look at the Thomas concurrence in Carhart or the Alito concurrence in WRTL, I suppose, as recent examples of Justices tipping their hand and inviting cases that extend the result in the instant case, so it's certainly possible.

titusbk said...

As a single female I don't think many of us care much about the gun thing one way or another.

The guns are in neighborhood's that we don't go to and they are usually shooting each other.

I don't believe it will have any impact on the election.

titusbk said...

Uh Oh. I am crowning again.

I guess I didn't finish my morning pinching of the loaf.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon: "Ann, do you think there's any merit to the theory that the establishment clause is, if not quite sui generis, then at least a more difficult incorporation question than most of the bill of rights.."

Yes, but I think the precedent is too well-established to be overturned. At most, it works as a reason to narrow the interpretation of the clause.

titusbk said.."I want another vlog now!"

Well, since I'm sitting in an airport waiting area, recording a vlog would make me more annoying than that baby over there. I'm annoying enough sniggering over "rare clumbers," etc. But maybe this evening. What do you want me to talk about guns 'n' Rudy?

titusbk said..."The guns are in neighborhood's that we don't go to and they are usually shooting each other."

I want the criminals to worry that the guns could be in any house. That protects us all.

Roost on the Moon said...

Who will do the worst? There are lots of contenders! But it's quite likely Giuliani will do the best, given his extremely strong legal background.

What about given his unique position on gun control? His unconvincing shift from zealot to quiet convert may be his biggest vulnerability.

If I were any of the other GOP candidates, I'd be pounding his record on gun rights at every opportunity. It is the perfect primary issue, becuase it does real damage to Giuliani among the base in the short term, but if he survives and wins the nomination, it has given his opponents no ammunition for next November.

titusbk said...

I am all for gun ownership. I have no problem with it.

You forgot Althouse that I was an "avid" hunter when I was young. My father made me put on that ridiculous awful fitting orange contraption for years and propped me in a tree. I never killed anything but a clay pigeon because my aim was so bad. My father actually has a "hunting room" in our house filled with Antelope, Deer, Elk heads, all kinds of "racks" and three huge gun cases.

Funny story when I was young I had some friends stay over and one of the truth or dares was to have the other boy stick his penis in the antelopes mouth. Of course I was wishing it was my mouth. But still is was a turn on for me. Also another truth or dare was to french kiss the rainbow trout who is also in the gun room.

I like the song Man With the Golden Gun by Lulu...I love Lulu. I have the best of Lulu and the songs are great.

Jonathan said...

I don't think the abortion parallel fits guns as closely as some other commenters seem to think. Many pro- and anti-abortion people treat abortion as their main political interest, but among people who have strong opinions on gun-rights it is mainly pro-rights people who treat the gun issue as their main political interest. This tends to make the pro-gun people more effective politically. Also, many people who initially oppose gun rights are not knowledgeable about the issues and change their minds as they learn more. This tends to mean that American politics on gun issues tends to favor gun rights to the extent that voters get accurate information. Which, in the Internet age, they increasingly do.

titusbk said...

I also went to Horicon Marsh to hunt geese. I also hunted ducks, pheasants, quail, partridge, white tail deer, elk, antelope (in Montana). I never shot anything.

The target would be right in front of my face and I would always miss. I would look at the disappointment in my father's face. Eventually, he relented and let me go to the mall with mom where I was incredibly valuable. At the age of 15-16 (when I should of been at Exeter) I would be at Petite Sophisticate picking out outfits and making my mom try them on. Matching the outfits with scarves, jewelry etc. As would be expected my mother soon started receiving many compliments on her fashion sense and started participating in fashion shows in Madison. So I guess you can say I made her a star. She still brings that up to me.

Bruce Hayden said...

Keep in mind that any mention of the 14th would be dicta. This is pure 2nd Amdt., which is why it is so pivital. No incorporation issues because no state laws are involves.

Bruce Hayden said...

Attempting to answer Ann's original question:

- If the appeals court is affirmed, not much.

- If the appeals court is reversed, gun rights people will be fired up.

- Anti-gun Republicans are at a disadvantage in this one, but..

- The Supreme Court isn't going to rule on this until well after the two nominations are set. Thus, while a reversal would hurt a primary candidacy of Guliani or Romney, it would not likely hurt them as the nominee, since no matter how strong their gun control views are, they can still argue nuance. All the major Democratic candiates are to the left of them on this issue.

Roost on the Moon said...

And attacking Giuliani on guns is all the more attractive option because it looks like lots of voters simply aren't aware of his record. But until, what, 2003 or so, he was a Big Government Liberal on this issue, arguing not just for the states to be able to liberally interpret the 2nd amendment, but also for new federal restrictions. And that lawsuit! He sued the gun manufacturers for selling too many guns, yet we still here supporters talk about his conservative values.

If I was Romney, it would be varmint-hunting time.

Richard Dolan said...

Balkin wonders whether this case will have any impact on the 2008 election. But for this purpose it doesn't make sense to think of the "election" as a unitary event; you have to think of it as a simultaneous event in 51 jurisdictions. So, if the potential electoral impact of the case is the question, what states will it put in play that wouldn't have been in play without this issue? It's not much of an "impact" if the net result of the case is that the Dems carry, say, DC by 82% rather than by 79%; or if the Reps win Wyoming by 69% rather than only 66%.

I suspect that an issue like this has an "impact" mainly on one-issue voters, or where some local event makes it a hot topic. As an example of the latter phenomenon, for example, Carolyn McCarthy (Dem) was first elected to the House from a previously Rep district on Long Island in 1996, in large part because her husband and son were injured (perhaps killed, I don't remember the details) in the Long Island RR shooting that had horrified the district shortly before. She was a neophyte (and a former Rep) as a candidate, but the issue and her focus on gun control carried her in (and she's still in). But apart from a situation like that, the one-issue voter on gun rights is more likely to be a gun owner rather than the opposite.

As for the comparison to the abortion cases, I'm even more skeptical. If the point is that the selection of possible SCOTUS judges will be important in the 2008 election, that is certainly true. But in the polling in past elections, the "judges" issue has usually worked in favor of the Reps, not the Dems. In the states that may be in play in 2008 that the Dems will be targeting or trying to hold (OH, FL, AZ, CO, NM, perhaps PA), it's hard to see the gun case helping the Dems. Any such potential impact of the gun case on voters is complicated by the obvious fact that gun case has an obvious basis in the constitutional text, while the abortion case has none. Whether the 2d Amend's introductory phrase is precatory or limiting, the amendment says that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Try as one might, I can find no comparable provision stating: "The ineffable sweetness of life being founded on a personal control of gender-specific bodily functions, the right of women to an abortion shall not be infringed except during trimesters and under circumstances to be defined later on." I think a candidate like Giuliani, Romney, McCain or Thompson would be able to explain that point if they had to, and relate it to the general idea that judges should at least try to find some textual basis in the Constitution for whatever they are doing when they purport to be applying it.

titusbk said...

You laugh at the rare clumbers but they do receive more attention than I could ever dream of.

We went for our walk today. So this all happened in a matter of 15 minutes which is common. In the elevator the parents of one of the tenants got in and couldn't stop talking to them; kids in the park wanted to play with them today; a woman running by yelled "clumbers; another guy walked by and asked what kind of dog they are; and another woman asked me where the breeder was and how long of wait it was to get this them. Mind you this all happened just this morning in the timespan of 15 minutes.

This is common every day. I don't care for it much because than I have to speak to people and I hate that.

titusbk said...

Any time another queen asks about the rare clumbers I am incredibly icy. The queens are very visual and they like what they see in the rare clumbers.

The last thing I want is the rare clumbers to be some new gay "must have". I am always on the lookout for another rare clumber in the hood and thankfully never see them. I am fine seeing one in the upper west side or another part of the city if it is infrequent which it is.

I generally tell the queen some BS about the dogs and then walk away.

Queens getting a hold of this breed would be the worst possible thing. Just look what the queens did with the barkless basenji.

Roost on the Moon said...

Clumbers are in fact hunting dogs, aren't they?

titusbk said...

I have decided not to speak about rare clumbers anymore on this site. I just googled rare clumbers and saw all the althouse postings.

To be honest the clumber world would be mortified by all this attention.

Clumber owners are deeply private and suspicious of outside interest in the breed. I could be excommunicated from the clumber establishment as a result of my recklessness.

So from now on I will refrain from saying rare clumbers. In it's place will be rare dogs. Discretion is important to me and I have made a mistake. Also, I used my rare dogs names in one of my posts and most clumber owners/breeders know the names of all the clumber dogs-that's how rare they are. So they can pinpoint my posting to me as the one who exposed and may have even (god forbid) popularized the breed.

Please fellow republicans lets all respect the rare dogs and never mention the breed again. I appreciate your abiding by my request.

former law student said...

The Democrats should consider the many pro-gun members of their own party who voted for Bush in 2000. In the wake of Columbine, Gore as VP voted in favor of a gun control law, to break a tie. Hunters and shooters, tired of having some of their rights taken away every time some psycho used a gun to injure or kill someone, remembered this. The NRA bound "Sportsmen for Bush" bumperstickers in their magazines, and the membership pasted them on their vehicles, even in my solid Democratic part of the world.

Roost on the Moon said...

(temples fingers like Mr. Burns)

Excellent.

former law student said...

C---bers are in fact hunting dogs, aren't they?

All spaniels are bird dogs, but a c---ber is probably as useful as a basset hound in terms of hunting.

titusbk said...

Former Law Student, you are the best.

Thank you so much for your willingness to do what is right.

A special c.....er hug is going your way.

Antonio said...

What if it is one of those "hydra-headed" opinions that doesn't command a majority at all. Think about all the obscenity cases that had six different opinions with no one commanding a majority. It took years for the Court to finally agree on a standard.

Palladian said...

It's the same thing with my favorite dog, the Boston Terrier. They're about as much "terrier" as c-----rs are "spaniels"

Palladian said...

I'm starting a C-----r mill! I'm going to C-----r the whole fucking world!

jeff said...

These dogs who's name we dare not speak, seem to be pretty large dogs. Is that correct? How are they with city living?

MadisonMan said...

How will the sudden influx of rare c____ers that Palladian proposes affect the '08 election. That's my question.

But I also want to know how big they are. Cocker Spaniel sized? Springer Spaniel Sized?

titusbk said...

Mine each weigh about 100 pounds. They are great in the city. They tend to be fairly docile and lethargic.

Please Palladian, I beg of you, for the good of the breed, no c.....r breeding by and inexperienced individual. It is incredibly important to understand the lines, history and temperment of the breed before making that type of commitment.

I will let you pet my c.....r if that will change your mind.

titusbk said...

They are about twice the size of a cocker or springer but much slower. They hang long to the ground (hee hee) and have what is called the c.....r gait.

They are aloof to strangers (love that) but very good natured. They would not hurt a flee. They would rather be with other humans rather than dogs (at the park they sniff a dog's ass and are on their way). Other dogs want to play with them but they generally don't give them the time of day. They are very oral (hee hee). The constantly want something in their mouth, particulary balls. Two balls is no problem and three balls is a a major accomplishment. Once they have the balls in their mouth they parade around with them and like to show everyone. Kind of like their owner.

titusbk said...

Just a couple more attributes of the c......s. They are incredibly clean, fart all the time, drool and snore loudly. I am going to spoon with them right now. Jealous?

titusbk said...

Oh and they have huge heads. The head is the most important body part of the c.....r

Trooper York said...

Isn't interesting that not using the "c" word means something totally different on Althouse than the rest of the internets.

Revenant said...

Ann,

Yes, but I think the precedent is too well-established to be overturned.

Is it really any better established than the "separate but equal" doctrine was? We can't always hope for the Supreme Court to correct long-standing mistakes, but it has happened before. This seems like an area in which they might be willing to do that, since the impact would be fairly limited.

titusbk said...

I have a tasting now with my chef for my thanksgiving dindin. Hope he is hot.

With Althouse's permission, I will be vlogging my holiday dindin here for all of your enjoyment. The c.....s will be blackened out. I feel the need to protect them.

Cedarford said...

The Court decision will not be out until the nominees are set, as another poster noted.

In the meantime, Romney&Huckabee should have a good time going over Rudy's antigun, anti-2nd Amendment amicus briefs and Hillary's (as an executive running the White House) good friends Reno and Gorelick asserting through DOJ that the 2nd is a right that only applies to government ownership of guns.

And while Hillary may say that she is pro-individual 2nd Amendment rights - that does leave an opening for Obambi and the lesser lights in the Dem race to then ask:

If you are for invidual rights, why when you were Co-President were all yout DOJ picks attempting to wipe out private gun ownership and assert that firearms would only be allowed to law abiding people if a police high mucky-muck or state bureaucrat consented there was a need and large amounts of time and money were spent to give the gunowner the permit showing government "allowed" them to own a gun.

Who knows what Hillary might say in return?

1. It could have been all Bill's fault...since gun rights were one of the rare areas where she didn't exert "hands-on" executive leadership as Co-President...

2. That she has always secretly loved responsible firearm use and ownership..in fact, her Dad took her out shooting because she could not go and watch her beloved NY Yankees play while living outside Chicago.

3. That she always believed in gun rights, but that they have to be responsive to concerned local leaders and local ordinances meant to keep "helpless minority children" and her wonderful friends - the police - safe from killer bullets.

jeff said...

I know the Korean grocery store owners in LA were pretty happy to have guns a few years ago, and everyone else who lived there found out exactly what sort of hardship that waiting limit was. Someone refresh my memory of how helpful the police were during that point in time.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Glenn Reynolds writes: [T]he court has ensured that the gun-rights issue will move to the forefront this election season, at both the presidential and congressional levels. This is probably bad for Democrats, given that most Americans believe they have some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

I can only conclude from this that Glenn Reynolds is an idiot. I know of no national Democratic politician who does not believe that Americans have some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

Revenant said...

I know of no national Democratic politician who does not believe that Americans have some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

A clue for the clueless: "you should be able to have any guns the government wants you to be able to have" is not "a right to arms", Cyrus. A right to arms means you get to have them even when the government would prefer you didn't.

jpr9 said...

In all this commentary, Fred Thompson was left out. I'll wager he is the only Presidential candidate who mentioned Blackstone in his response the SCOTUS granting certiorari to the Heller case.

http://fredfile.fred08.com/blog/2007/second-amendment-a-citizens-right/

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Revenant,

Your comment is simply not responsive to mine.

If you think I'm wrong in what I've written, name a single national Democratic politician who does not believe in some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

Also, while you're at it, why don't you try to name any national politician who believes the right to bear arms is absolute (i.e., not subject to any regulation whatsoever).

Gahrie said...

Cyrus Pinkerton:

Wow..two strawman arguments in one post, that might be a record.

The issues are:

1) Is the right to own a gun an individual right, or a collective right?

Most Democrats and leftists have insisted that the right is a collective one. Most Republicans and those on the right believe it to be an individual one. This fundamental difference in ideology goes back decades.

2) Is the Second Amendment incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment with our other rights?

The left has traditionally said no, the right has traditionally said yes.

3) What level of judicial review should gun regulations endure?

The left has come down on the side of rational basis, the right thinks it should be strict scrutiny.

There have long been differences in the positions that the two parties have taken on gun ownership and gun control, and any attempt to deny this is ludicrous.

Revenant said...

If you think I'm wrong in what I've written, name a single national Democratic politician who does not believe in some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

All you said was "I know of no national Democratic politician who does not believe that Americans have some sort of right to arms under the Constitution."

I fully accept your claim that you are unaware of something. You usually are.

Now, if you want to go beyond that, and make a positive claim that there are no Democratic politicians who lack belief in a right to arms beyond those the government wishes them to own -- then, as the person making a positive claim, it is up to you to provide the proof. I eagerly await the evidence that, say, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden believe in a right to keep and bear arms.

But if you'd rather just stick to your usual passive-aggressive "I am unaware of X" strategy, then by all means feel free to remain unaware. Your ignorance is, after all, not my problem. :)

Revenant said...

Oh, one more thing:

Also, while you're at it, why don't you try to name any national politician who believes the right to bear arms is absolute (i.e., not subject to any regulation whatsoever).

No right, including the right to life, is absolute. But anyone who wishes to limit a right must first prove that the limitation is absolutely necessary and that no practical alternatives exist. That is why the government can't pursue "sensible restrictions" on free speech like, say, fighting terrorism by banning Islam from the United States, or forbidding people from criticizing the war in Iraq.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie,

Although it is interesting to read your thoughts, your post is entirely unresponsive to mine.

Also, I've presented no strawman arguments. If you believe otherwise, identify them.

Finally, I'm curious what your source is for how Democrats and "the left" think about gun rights issues. Would you care to name to polling source on which you base your claims?

Gahrie said...

Finally, I'm curious what your source is for how Democrats and "the left" think about gun rights issues. Would you care to name to polling source on which you base your claims?

I repeat:
There have long been differences in the positions that the two parties have taken on gun ownership and gun control, and any attempt to deny this is ludicrous.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Revenant,

I asked two questions; you were unable to answer either. Another typically poor performance by you.

Because you are a poor reader and seemingly incapable of critical thinking, I'll remind you that the quote from Reynolds that I challenged refers to "some sort of right to arms under the Constitution."

Now, I'll rephrase my questions so the dim-witted will have a better chance of responding.

1. Do you know of any national Democratic politician who believes there is no right to arms under the Constitution? If so, who?

2. Do you know of a national politician who believes the right to arms is not subject to any regulation whatsoever? If so, who?

Acceptable, direct answers to these questions include these two options:

- No
- Yes, followed by the name of at least one national politician.

Please note that if your answer to the first question is "no," then it follows logically that, based on what you know, national Democratic politicians believe in "some sort of right to arms under the Constitution." It also follows then that Reynolds statement is idiotic.

Based on your previous performances (and I'm being generous by calling them "performances"), I predict you will not give a clear, direct answer to either question. Instead I suspect you'll weasel and try to insult as you so generally do.

I'm hoping for the surprise of an intellectually honest answer from you. Will today be the day when you cross that bridge?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie wrote:

There have long been differences in the positions that the two parties have taken on gun ownership and gun control, and any attempt to deny this is ludicrous.

In other words, you have no source.

Thank you for at least being honest about the fact that your claims are not based on data or objective findings.

Also, your nonresponse to my other challenge to you is noted.

Gahrie said...

Cyrus:

1) Your strawman were in the fact that you set up absolutes. The issue isn't about absolutes. No one has said that the Right wants no regulations on guns, and generally Democrats are smart enough not to say they want to take away all guns.

Do you seriously think the NRA has supported the Republicans and opposed the Democrats for no reason?

Who do you think supported Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine?...the right or the left?

2) As to your charge of not supplying citations to support my assertions. If I claim the sky is blue and that water is wet, don't expect me to suply citations for those assertions either.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie,

1. In fact, I did not "set up absolutes." I addressed very specifically the following claim by Reynolds:

This is probably bad for Democrats, given that most Americans believe they have some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

The clear implication of Reynolds' claim is that Democrats don't support "some sort of right to arms under the Constitution."
This is why, in my original post, I wrote:

I know of no national Democratic politician who does not believe that Americans have some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

This is why, after getting a typically daft reply from Revenant, I challenged him with this remark:

If you think I'm wrong in what I've written, name a single national Democratic politician who does not believe in some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

Of course, as is to be expected, I have yet to see a relevant response.

It seems to me that your problem in terms of "absolutes" is with Reynolds, not with me. I suspect you agree with me that his statement is idiotic. At least to this point, your comments suggest that you agree with my position that Democrats support "some sort of right to arms under the Constitution." However, if you don't agree with me, please give specific, relevant examples.

In the meantime, I'm going to assume that you agree that Reynolds' statement is simply not consistent with the position of national Democratic politicians on this issue.

2. If I claim the sky is blue and someone challenges it, I am prepared to explain the scientific basis for a blue sky. It's completely straightforward.

On the other hand, you make an assertion that you cannot (or will not) support by directly citing relevant data or an objective finding. When challenged, you dodge. You certainly can (and should) do a lot better.

If you can't provide evidence, tell me why you can't provide the evidence. If the evidence doesn't exist, tell me on what basis you've come to know what you assert is true. If you claim your "knowledge" is based on "observation," tell me how you establish that your "observation" sample is representative and clear of bias. In other words, show good faith in supporting your claim. Otherwise, why not just downgrade your claim from "fact" to personal "observation" or "belief?" Then you wouldn't have to deal with the problem of having to establish the factual basis for your assertions.

Gahrie said...

Cyrus:

I will say this. I have to give you points for originality.

You're the first person I've ever encountered who has tried to argue that the left is pro-gun ownership, and against strict gun control laws.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie wrote:

You're the first person I've ever encountered who has tried to argue that the left is pro-gun ownership, and against strict gun control laws.

That isn't my claim, of course.

My claim is that Democrats support gun ownership and, as Reynolds puts it, "some sort of right to arms under the Constitution."

I also claim that Republicans support some sort of regulation of the right to arms under the Constitution.

Lastly, I claim Reynolds' statement is idiotic, which was really the point of my original post.

Revenant said...

I asked two questions; you were unable to answer either.

Cyrus,

I didn't claim that there were Democrats who lack a belief in a right to keep and bear arms. So why should I trouble myself to name one who does? Maybe they all have such a belief. Maybe none of them do. You've offered no evidence for either position; you've simply stated that you don't know of any who lack such a belief. Like I said, I completely accept your claim that you lack awareness on a subject. You usually do. But your lack of awareness doesn't really mean anything, of course.

Now, you appear to be claiming that all national-level Democratic politicians believe in some sort of right to keep and bear arms. If you are in fact claiming that, you'll need to provide proof as to the positions of each of the 300 or so national-level Democratic politicians. I'll be waiting patiently for that.

If, on the other hand, you're not really claiming that... then what exactly are you babbling about? :)

I'll remind you that the quote from Reynolds that I challenged refers to "some sort of right to arms under the Constitution."

Of course. Although, as I pointed out, if you believe the government has the right to ban ownership of whichever guns it wishes to, you don't believe in a right to arms.

Acceptable, direct answers to these questions include these two options:

You missed option three, which is to grin and continue stringing you along.

I'm hoping for the surprise of an intellectually honest answer from you.

Cyrus "Mr Grumpy" Pinkerton, insisting on intellectual honesty? I'm sure we all got a nice chuckle out of that one. :)

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Revenant,

More mindless babbling from you and still no intellectually honest response. Then again, why should your posts today be any different than any other day?

It would be nice, for a change, to read a thoughtful and relevant comment from you. Since you cannot answer either of my questions, it's clear that you have nothing more to offer on the subject I raised. All of which makes me wonder why you are still babbling. Why not give your fingers the same rest that you give your brain?

You've taken a beating, Revenant. Stay down.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Speaking of irrelevant and stupid comments, this one by Revenant is a prime example:

Although, as I pointed out, if you believe the government has the right to ban ownership of whichever guns it wishes to, you don't believe in a right to arms.

Revenant, would you care to name any national politician who believes "the government has the right to ban ownership of whichever guns it wishes to?" Why do you raise idiotic, irrelevant points like this?

Oh, on second thought, don't bother. Your best option is to stay down.

Gahrie said...

1) "Banning guns is an idea whose time has come."
--U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden Associated Press 11/18/93


2)"Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe."
--U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein Associated Press 11/18/93


3)"Mr. Speaker, I still believe that the best way to control handguns is to ban them outright."
-- Rep. Cardiss Collins (D-IL

Revenant said...

You've taken a beating, Revenant. Stay down.

What a silly little man you are.

I haven't made any claims here, Grumpy McPinkerton -- so how could I have "taken a beating? Being whined at by left-wingers is hardly going to do me any damage.

Besides, Gahrie -- who unlike me prefers to actually treat your questions like they were intellectually serious attempts at conversation -- has already pimp-slapped your silly claim that all Democrats have a belief in a right to keep and bear arms. So even if I felt the urge to do so, my work's already been done for me.

And all I had to do was make fun of you a little and enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner. :)

Fen said...

Cyrus: would you care to name... Oh, on second thought, don't bother. Your best option is to stay down.

Easy Tiger. It only took Gahrie 30 mins to post 3 examples of Democrats wanting to ban handguns.

"A well-educated Congress, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."

Nothing in there about public libraries or the Library of Congress; likewise, nothing in the 2nd about militia or weapon's barracks.

Ernst Blofeld said...

The very law under review is a complete ban on handguns and a ban on keeping long arms in a state that is usable for self-defense.

As for effects on the election, the passion is all on the gun rights side. Gun owners organize and vote based on the issue. Gun control advocates, not so much.

Revenant said...

I like how Cyrus mysteriously hasn't been heard from since Gahrie answered his demands. Not that that wasn't entirely predictable based on his past performance, of course.