INTEGRITY OF JUSTICES – AT 8:37 A.M. ET: The Washington Times reminds us this morning of why we regard these Supreme Court confirmation hearings with some skepticism. Consider yesterday's Supreme Court ruling extending the protections of the Second Amendment to all 50 states, meaning no state can violate those protections:
It is worth noting that Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined in the dissent penned by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, which explained that they "can find nothing in the Second Amendment's text, history or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as 'fundamental,' insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes." Compare that to Justice Sotomayor's claims before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation process. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, asked if she agreed that "the Supreme Court decided in Heller that the personal right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution against federal law restrictions." Ms. Sotomayor answered: "It is."
Of course, the way judges and others weasel out of this is to say that they answered honestly, but that they didn't agree with the way the Court had decided. Of course, they never volunteer that disagreement during confirmation hearings.
As they did back in 2008, the gun grabbers are warning once again that striking down gun-control laws will result in blood on our streets. They have no evidence to back up the claim. Murders in the District fell after the 2008 ruling, both in absolute terms and relative to other cities. There were 43 percent fewer murders in D.C. in the first five months of 2010, compared with the same five months in 2008. By contrast, Chicago's murders fell by just over 5 percent during that period, despite having strict gun-control measures.
It doesn't matter. To the gun grabbers, this is a matter of the most profound ideology, an ideology that begins with this thought: "We don't like you. You're not a member of our culture. Our culture is superior, and we have a right to impose it on you." Ruth Bader Ginsburg, probably the most liberal member of the Court, has pretty much implied just that.
The story is the same throughout the country, and the explanation is all too simple: Law-abiding citizens are much more likely to obey gun-control laws and be disarmed than criminals. Instead of making potential victims safer, gun control makes the criminals safer. To the extent that this ruling discourages state and local governments from infringing on the rights of Americans, the country will be safer as a result.
COMMENT: Cities like Chicago will respond to the ruling by imposing new "procedures" for obtaining a gun, procedures that will make it virtually impossible. Then they'll resist court challenges for years.
We are one vote away from losing basic Second Amendment rights. Yesterday's decision was 5-4. Overturning basic rights will be one step away from confiscation, which has happened in other countries. Then, only a Constitutional amendment might save us from those who would disarm the citizenry and arm the criminals.
June 29, 2010