Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the landmark 5-to-4 decision, said the Constitution does not allow “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.”...Stout informs us that Scalia "clearly takes pride in his writing as well as his reasoning" and in the same sentence writes that he applied "adjectives like 'frivolous' and 'bizarre'" to the dissenting opinion.
But the court held that the individual right to possess a gun “for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home” is not unlimited....
The ruling does not mean, for instance, that laws against carrying concealed weapons are to be swept aside. Furthermore, Justice Scalia wrote, “The court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”...
“The amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second clause,” wrote Justice Scalia. “The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
Not at all, Justice Stevens countered, asserting that the majority “stakes its holding on a strained and unpersuasive reading of the amendment’s text.”
I wonder what "adjectives like 'frivolous' and 'bizarre'" Scalia used. Empty-headed? Featherbrained? flighty? Frothy? Giddy? Harebrained? Lighthearted? Scatterbrained? Silly? Gaga? Birdbrained? Dizzy? Cranky? Curious? Eccentric? Erratic? Freakish? Idiosyncratic? Odd? Outlandish? Peculiar? Quaint? Queer? Quirky? Singular? Strange? Unnatural? Unusual? Weird? Kooky? Screwball?
Oh... you mean he actually used the words "frivolous" and "bizarre"? I see.
Well, then I wonder how Stout knows Scalia "clearly takes pride in his writing as well as his reasoning." Did the use of the words "frivolous" and "bizarre" somehow imply that pride or is the evidence elsewhere and we're just supposed to know it? (Or do you just not want to plug his book?)
Oh, no! Reading Stout (and Liptak) today, I'm nagged by the question What would Greenhouse have written? Would Linda Greenhouse have inserted commentary about Scalia pride?
Not to be outdone, Justice Stevens called the majority’s interpretation of the Second Amendment “overwrought and novel” and said it “calls to mind the parable of the six blind men and the elephant”...Would Linda Greenhouse have imputed that competitive motivation to Stevens's choice of words? Stout's writing has something of the problem that plagued Jeffrey Toobin's book "The Nine." For narrative effect, the Court is portrayed as a psychodrama. [UPDATE: Since my link now goes to the Linda Greenhouse report, you can read it and answer my question! The answer is: No.]
Stout tells us how McCain and Obama reacted to the case:
“I applaud this decision as well as the overturning of the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns and limitations on the ability to use firearms for self-defense,” Mr. McCain said in a statement, which contained a reminder that his Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, refused to join him in signing an amicus brief in support of overturning the district’s law.More nuanced!
Indeed, Mr. Obama’s view, expressed in a statement, was more nuanced than Mr. McCain’s.
“I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures,” Mr. Obama said, predicting that the ruling would provide needed guidance for lawmakers.Is that nuance or the same point Scalia acknowledged, that the rights don't preclude regulation? What I think is telling in Obama's statement is the mismatch between concern about "crime-ravaged communities" and "violence" on the one hand and, on the other, the desire for "safety measures."