Skip to comments.W.'s Gun Battle (District of Columbia v. Heller case)
Posted on 03/14/2008 1:19:33 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Preparing to hear oral arguments Tuesday on the extent of gun rights guaranteed by the Constitution's Second Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court has before it a brief signed by Vice President Cheney opposing the Bush administration's stance. Even more remarkably, Cheney is faithfully reflecting the views of President George W. Bush.
The government position filed with the Supreme Court by U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement stunned gun advocates by opposing the breadth of an appellate court affirmation of individual ownership rights. The Justice Department, not the vice president, is out of order. But if Bush agrees with Cheney, why did the president not simply order Clement to revise his brief? The answers: disorganization and weakness in the eighth year of his presidency.
Consequently, a Republican administration finds itself aligned against the most popular tenet of social conservatism: gun rights that enjoy much wider support than opposition to abortion or gay marriage. Promises in two presidential elections are abandoned, and Bush finds himself left of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.
The 1976 District of Columbia statute prohibiting ownership of all functional firearms a year ago was called unconstitutional in violation of the Second Amendment in an opinion by Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, a conservative who has served on the D.C. Circuit Court for 22 years. It was assumed Bush would fight Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty's appeal.
The president and his senior staff were stunned to learn, on the day it was issued, that Clement's petition called on the high court to return the case to the appeals court. The solicitor general argued that Silberman's opinion supporting individual gun rights was so broad that it would endanger existing federal gun control laws such as the bar on owning machine guns. The president could have ordered a revised brief by Clement. But under congressional Democratic pressure to keep hands off the Justice Department, Bush did not act.
Cheney did join 55 senators and 250 House members in signing a brief supporting the Silberman ruling. While this unprecedented vice presidential intervention was widely interpreted as a dramatic breakaway from the White House, longtime associates could not believe Cheney would defy the president. In fact, he did not. Bush approved what Cheney did in his constitutional legislative branch role as president of the Senate.
That has not lessened puzzlement over Clement, a 41-year-old conservative Washington lawyer who clerked for Silberman and later for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Clement has tried to explain his course to the White House by claiming he feared Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court's current swing vote, would join a liberal majority on gun rights if forced to rule on Silberman's opinion.
The more plausible explanation for Clement's stance is that he could not resist opposition to individual gun rights by career lawyers in the Justice Department's Criminal Division (who clashed with the Office of Legal Counsel in a heated internal struggle). Newly installed Attorney General Michael Mukasey, a neophyte at Justice, was unaware of the conflict and learned about Clement's position only after it had been locked in.
A majority of both houses in the Democratic-controlled Congress are on record against the District of Columbia's gun prohibition. So are 31 states, with only five (New York, Massachusetts Maryland, New Jersey and Hawaii) in support. Sen. Obama has weighed in against the D.C. law, asserting that the Constitution confers individual rights to bear arms -- not just collective authority to form militias.
This popular support for gun rights is not reflected by an advantage in Tuesday's oral arguments. Former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, an old hand at arguing before the Supreme Court, will make the case for the gun prohibition. Opposing counsel Alan Gura, making his first high court appearance, does not have the confidence of gun-owner advocates (who tried to replace him with former Solicitor General Ted Olson).
The cause needs help from Clement in his 15 minute oral argument, but not if he reiterates his written brief. The word was passed in government circles this week that Clement would amend his position when he actually faces the justices -- an odd ending to bizarre behavior by the Justice Department.
bump for later.
OK. So let me understand this correctly. They were against the gun ban before they were for it?
This is outrageous!
The administration fighting itself in court!
What a bunch of idiots.
What is wrong with the Attorney General to permit this?
What is wrong with the president?
The president could easily have ordered Attorney General Mukasey to order Solicitor General Paul Clement to retract his brief supporting the gun control laws.
He could have ordered him to appoint an experienced lawyer to argue the case instead of one who is making his first argument to SCOTUS.
If he was paying attention.
If he had the gonads to confront the democrats.
But he let the whinig democrats back him down once again.
Who the heck is in charge here anyway?
It looks like the President has finally given in to the Clinntonites in the Justice Department that he never had the balls to fire.
He is letting them run the government while he and Condi figure out ways to sneak more support to the Palestinians.
The lunacy of this situation is beyond belief.
Each time It looks like Bush has finally hit bottom he manages to dig a little deeper.
Is he determined to destroy the last little bit of respect he still has?
It may be incompetence, lack of guts, or intentional but the effect is the same.
Why Fenty’s position would have ANY support in ANY Republican administration is beyond belief.
We put this guy (the current POTUS) in office why??????
Amen brother. I can’t wait until the day Geroge “Nixon””Carter” Bush leaves. History will judge him as a “joke”. He started off with some fire but he’s faded like a “fart” in the wind. I’m a independent because of this idiot. He’s taken the Republican Party to the socialist side. The sad part is we have nothing to look forward to over 4 years.
What amazes me is how many people screamed and typed in capital letters on the internet that the N.R.A. was a gang of weenies because they didn’t push the Heller case; now they’re screaming and typing in capital letters that the government is defending what it did.
It seems that people thought that if a second amendment case got to the supreme court, the government was going to write a letter of apology that said, “We were wrong and we knew it. Oops. Please rule against us.”
What did you people think was going to happen?
Regardless of what individual employees might personally believe, the Justice Department as a body is not going to admit that they purposefully prosecuted criminal cases knowing the law to be wrong. If they admit they were wrong, they put thousands of cases and convictions at risk. They would have to write that they knew the gun laws were unconstitutional and used them anyway. This leads to honest accusations of false arrest, malicious prosecution, and false imprisonment.
Don’t be surprised if Ginsburg goes along with the majority, then writes a non concurring decision to prevent the case from becoming a national rule. Even is she remains asleep when Thomas calls her a dolt, expect every blue state in the Union to “interpret” the decision as if it was written in Play - Doh. You have a right to keep and bear arms, but . . .
Let’s look at two towns in New Jersey to see how that right operates. In West Milford, the town makes you undergo the background check mandated by law and issues your permit. If you want a permit to get another gun, the town makes you pay the two bucks mandated by law, checks your background on the N.C.I.C. and issues the permit within a few days. In Hackensack, the town makes you pay for the $60.00 background check each time you apply for a permit (illegal), makes you wait six months for the permit (illegal), issues a permit that is effective for ninety days and doesn’t tell the permitee about it for thirty days, requires each apllicant to have a meeting with the chief of police to explain, “Why do you want it?” (illegal) and mandates the purchase of a safe if the applicant already owns, “too many guns,” (illegal.)
Which standard is allowed under Heller? That will be another case, and we have to hope that there is a conservative majority on the court when it gets there.
That sounds like a gigantic pile of horsecrap to me.
But under congressional Democratic pressure to keep hands off the Justice Department, Bush did not act.
First, they went after Ashcroft. Using the propaganda arm of the DNC, er, I mean the national media, they demonized Ashcroft until he left. Who on our side fought for Ashcroft?
Next, we had the Plame affair. Once again, the driveby media stood shoulder to shoulder with the Rats and fed the public the falsehood that someone in the administration broke the law by revealing her CIA creds, thus exposing an agent to harm's way. Well five minutes of research shows it was her HUSBAND, the liar Joe Wilson, who did that.
So over the years we've had "He used 9/11 for political gain" and "What did he know and when did he know it" (as if all of Clinton's mistakes were his), "He lied about WMD", "He dissed our allies and the world by unilaterally invading Iraq", "He disobeyed orders while avoiding the draft in the Texas ANG", "His administration purposely exposed a CIA agent to danger for political gain", "He secretly met with Oil companies to plot to screw us all", etc, etc, ad nauseum and I could go on for hours.
I remember during the Clinton days, when he got in trouble over the Lewinsky thing, there was a literal line of democrat congresspersons and ex-democrats waiting to go on TV to declare Clinton innocent and the Republicans and Ken Starr evil. The same type wrote letters and op-eds to the newspapers stating the same daily.
When Bush was assailed, almost constantly now for 8 years over every single issue, where were the Republican congresspersons lined up to go on Chrissy Matthews', Greta Van Susterns's, Wolf Blitzer's, etc, shows? Crickets.
Oh, we did hear tut-tuts from the likes of Arlen Specter, John McCain, John Warner, and other RINOs, but with "friends" like thse, who needs enemies?
No, the Bush admin has to worry about dems in Congress because no conservatives in this country will lift a finger to take on the DNC/DBM and once and for all FIGHT BACK. We've missed so many opportunities to educate and explain, to get indignent and fiery, to persuade, cajole and defend, it's just a shame!
I've heard so many brilliant, passionate, and positive things from FReepers over the years taking on the media, defending the conservative position, attacking the democratic/liberal whine of the day, etc, that could have, should have made it into the body politic but didn't because no conservative horse on our side understands that you've got to fight, loudly and constantly, the leftist bias that is the DBM. We haven't had such a conservative since Reagan.
And now we have a bunch of us who want to blame Bush himself for not single-handedly taking on all of this entrenched leftwing power, with no one at his back and side for 8 years? In a way, I'll be glad when he's gone from the White House just so he can get some rest.
Political maneuvering will neither justify nor excuse the Supreme Court if it should choose to rule that the Second Amendment doesn’t mean what it clearly says.
Nothing in the Constitution grants any rights to any government, only specific, enumerated powers.
Nowhere in the Constitution is the expression “the people” used to mean “the government”.
Any government which would deny any citizen the protection of any provision of the Bill of Rights would do so without authority or legitimacy under the Constitution, and any judge worth a tinker’s damn knows that quite well.
The question is not one of a fictional, oxymoronic doctrine of “collective rights” — which has no rational foundation, let alone a constitutional one — but whether the justices of the current Supreme Court will choose to uphold the Constitution, as they have sworn to do, or abandon it, which would invalidate their own authority.
I pray they choose wisely.
Maybe it's time.
Humm. Will you die for your neighbor when they come for his? Will he die for you when they come for yours? If not all else is mental masturbation.
Yes I agree. Bush haters have poisoned this site also.
These United states as we once knew them are dead. There is no freedom. The politicians have sold every red blooded American down the river. The Bill of Rights means nothing to these people. You don’t have any rights. It’s all over. To quote the Dead Kennedys...”Welcome to 1984...Knock Knock Knock on your front door...” Say goodbye to your firearms. Say goodbye to the rest of your rights after this one falls. Thank You, G W!
The phrase, "We had better hang together, or surely we will hang separately" applies here.
Spoken like a bushbot.
Let me be clear about this. We like Bush when he does the right thing. We scream when he does the wrong thing.
It's about principles.
That's what separates us from the Dims. We have a duty to speak out against Bush when he does the wrong thing. They support their own no matter what. With us it is principles over party. With Dims it's the other way around.
I think the problem is the longer he is in office, the more he does the wrong thing. The list of wrong things seems to be growing lately, thus the increased level of screaming about him.
Yes it does and I am skeptical that enough would/could to gather to make an effective force.
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