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Thu May 16, 2019, 02:42 PM

John Paul Stevens: The Supreme Court's Worst Decision of My Tenure

District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized an individual right to possess a firearm under the Constitution, is unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Supreme Court announced during my tenure on the bench.

The text of the Second Amendment unambiguously explains its purpose: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” When it was adopted, the country was concerned that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several states.

Throughout most of American history there was no federal objection to laws regulating the civilian use of firearms. When I joined the Supreme Court in 1975, both state and federal judges accepted the Court’s unanimous decision in United States v. Miller as having established that the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to bear arms was possessed only by members of the militia and applied only to weapons used by the militia. In that case, the Court upheld the indictment of a man who possessed a short-barreled shotgun, writing, “In the absence of any evidence that the possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.”
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It also represents my greatest disappointment as a member of the Court. After the oral argument and despite the narrow vote at our conference about the case, I continued to think it possible to persuade either Justice Anthony Kennedy or Justice Clarence Thomas to change his vote. During the drafting process, I had frequent conversations with Kennedy, as well as occasional discussions with Thomas, about historical issues, because I thought each of them had an open mind about the case. In those discussions—particularly those with Kennedy—I now realize that I failed to emphasize sufficiently the human aspects of the issue as providing unanswerable support for the stare decisis argument for affirmance. After all, Kennedy had been one of the three decisive votes that had saved Roe v. Wade from being overruled in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/john-paul-stevens-court-failed-gun-control/587272/

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Reply John Paul Stevens: The Supreme Court's Worst Decision of My Tenure (Original post)
SunSeeker Thursday OP
zipplewrath Thursday #1
Bleacher Creature Thursday #3
PoliticAverse Thursday #4
PoliticAverse Thursday #2
happybird Thursday #5

Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 02:53 PM

1. Nope

That'd be Bush v. Gore.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #1)

Thu May 16, 2019, 02:57 PM

3. This

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Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 02:55 PM

2. So based on Stevens arguments here, the federal government can't regulate private ownership

of military arms (like machine guns such as the M16).

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Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 03:07 PM

5. Citizens United is far worse than DC v. Heller

+1 for Bush v. Gore, as well.

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