Friday, January 07, 2005
After four years of Bush, the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments are all pretty much in the toilet, but so what? -- they got in the way of our Security. However, of the original ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, there is one remaining that apparently does not interfere with our Security in any meaningful way, and you will be delighted to learn that the DoJ is committed not just to upholding, but to expanding, the rights set forth therein. Is it the third? -- No. Is it the seventh? -- No. If the math is beginning to intimidate you, just read the following item from the Wall St. Journal, courtesy of Zemblan patriot M.F.:
Readying for a constitutional showdown over gun control, the Bush administration has issued a 109-page memorandum aiming to prove that the Second Amendment grants individuals nearly unrestricted access to firearms.Well, huh. When you put it that way . . . .
The memorandum, requested by Attorney General John Ashcroft, was completed in August but made public only last month, when the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel posted on its Web site several opinions setting forth positions on various legal issues. Reaching deep into English legal history and the practice of the British colonies prior to the American Revolution, the memorandum represents the administration's latest legal salvo to overturn judicial interpretations that have prevailed since the Supreme Court last spoke on the Second Amendment, in 1939. Although scholars long have noted the ambiguity of the 27-word amendment, courts generally have interpreted the right to "keep and bear arms" as applying not to individuals but rather to the "well-regulated militia" maintained by each state . . . .
The memo's authors, Justice Department lawyers Steven Bradbury, Howard Nielson Jr. and C. Kevin Marshall, dissect the amendment's language, arguing that under 18th century legal conventions, the clause concerning "a well-regulated militia" was "prefatory language" without binding force. "Thus, the amendment's declaratory preface could not overcome the unambiguously individual 'right of the people to keep and bear arms' conferred by the operative text," they write.
They write that the drafters of the amendment envisioned a militia consisting of "all able-bodied white men" in a state, and suggest that they would be expected to keep arms not only if called up by the government but also on their own initiative, perhaps to fight rulers who threatened their liberties.