Skip to comments.Why the 14th Amendment and the McDonald Ruling Matter
Posted on 06/30/2010 7:24:35 AM PDT by timesthattrymenssouls
"It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is." William Jefferson Clinton, 1998 testimony to the Grand Jury on the question of his relationship to Monica Lewinsky prior to his impeachment
It should not be lost on any of us that the recent Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. Chicago was more than a referendum on our right to bear arms, it was confirmation of the critical importance of the Fourteenth Amendment to the protection of our individual rights. In particular, the Privileges or Immunities Clause and the Due Process Clause.
In short the court held that the Fourteenth Amendment protects our right to bear arms against the State legislation to the contrary. Why is this important?
Consider that the opposing argument--the one that FOUR justices voted to support--argues that the Bill of Rights applies only to our national rights. That is that the Bill of Rights protects Americans against the Federal government usurping the rights protected under the B of R but not against the States. If this were true then the state in which we live could impose laws that deprive of us the rights enumerated in the B of R. Previous court rulings have safeguarded some of the rights against the states, but not all. And it was under the Due Process Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment that the court recently ruled affirmatively for McDonald--that is, against local and state bans of firearms.
More important than the verbal gymnastics the opponents engaged in and FOUR Supreme Court Justices supported in dissenting the Court's opinion is the very clear intention of the original sponsors of the Amendment in 1866 when it was introduced. From the Court's June 28, 2010 Opinion, footnote 9:
Senator Jacob Howard, who spoke on behalf of the Joint Committee of Reconstruction and sponsored the Amendment in the Senate, stated that the Amendment protected all of "the personal rights guarantied and secured by the first eight amendments of the Constitution" (14).
This understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment was widely understood at the time, published extensively and "not a single senator or representative disputed (the incorporationist) understanding" of the Fourteen Amendment during debates. How then could FOUR justices voted against McDonald?
Words matter. The meaning of words matter. If not then nothing matters. Without the veracity of Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers to guide our understanding, we are at the mercy of the very same arbitrary and capricious actions of the ruling class the Founders rejected when they declared independence from the King of England. Bill Clinton sat before a Grand Jury and dissected the meaning of the word "is." He did this with a straight face. He was impeached by the House of Representatives and disbarred. Yet he is still an influential leader of the Democrat party. If truth doesn't matter. Liberty is just a slippery slide away from extinction.
critical importance of the Fourteenth Amendment to the protection of our individual rights”
a mixed bag legacy, though, that’s for sure.....
The 14th should have nothing to do with the second. Bunch of BS.
The passing of the 14th amendment is used as a proof that the 2nd Amendment is a privilege (in today's meaning, a right) of U.S. Citizenship. Read Justice Thomas' opinion from McDonald v. Chicago handed down the other day. It is excellent.
The right to keep and bear arms is a FUNDAMENTAL—God given—right of all Americans, with the exception of criminals, the mentally deficient and traitors. You know...the majority of Washington, DC.
This is the ass-backward argument used to justify the existence of the 14th, which would be struck as an anaethema without it.
In point of fact, the ONLY purpose of the original "national" Constitution and Bill of Rights is to enumerate rights which States CANNOT infringe upon against "the people." It's the bottom line States cannot cross in the creation of their own laws.
So the Constitution "applies the the States and not the people" ONLY in the sense that it is protecting the people from the States - NOT in that it doesn't apply to the people directly, but rather because it applies to the people through it's restrictions on the States' legal abilities to deny the rights of the people.
Since the 14th, the whole constitution has been folded so many times it looks like origami.
Nonsense. Thomas merely indicated his ruling was being made under 14th Amendment privilege-assessment of administrative law, rather than the original, direct RIGHT declared by the 2nd Amendment.
In other words, Thomas did not rule on the 2nd Amendment alone, as it is, applied to "the People" in it's original jurisidiction, but rather as the 2nd applies to those individuals under 14th Amendment administrative jurisdiction.
Interpreting this as somehow "proof" that the 2nd Amendment is a privilege rather than a right is a complete misunderstanding of what Thomas did - he made no argument that it is a right, he merely affirmed that it is ALSO an allowable 14th Amendment administrative privilege.
Rereading his opinion. bookmark
Are you suggesting that the conditions during Reconstruction after the Civil War did not warrant a prohibition against states infringing the right to keep and bear arms? What do you think the Fourteenth was intended to do?
And that means that it is alright for Kalifornia to infringe my right to keep and bear arms?
I'm trying to make sense out of what you are saying.
Certainly the recently freed blacks during Reconstruction were being denied their civil rights by their states.
Certainly one of those rights was the right to keep and bear arms.
Certainly it was the intention of those who passed the Fourteenth Amendment to prohibit that infringement by the states.
Is there something in what I just said that you disagree with? Perhaps you could be a little more specific about how you know that the Fourteenth Amendment "should have nothing to do with it".
Since the Second Amendment is a prohibition against federal infringement of a pre-existing unalienable right, how is it not relevant to the Fourteenth which was intended, among other things, to protect that same pre-existing right from infringement by the states?
What exactly is your concern about mentioning the Second Amendment along with the Fourteenth? I'm still not understanding what concerns you.
You answered your own question, "Pre-existing" rights, they existed before the irrelevant 14th amendment and they were not in question by 44 of the 50 states that have the same protection. A mundane statement is not an argument. The 2nd existed and was accepted long before the irrelevant 14th, bringing it, the 14th into the discussion is a weakening of the original intent..
You think at the time of the Civil War there were only six states which were denying people civil rights? There are more states than that TODAY which are infringing my right to keep and bear arms.
WHAT is "not about civil rights"?
The Second Amendment?
The Fourteenth Amendment?
The right to keep and bear arms?
If you wish to end the discussion that is fine; but I'm not sure that it qualified as a discussion since I still don't understand what your posting meant. It seems nonsensical to me to equate my right to keep and bear arms with wanting to restart the "War of Northern Aggresson".
Your opinions about the Second Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment must be quite complicated if you are unable to explain it any better.