Opinion Review June 2008

DC v. Heller (The handgun ruling)

Here the issue is whether an outright ban on individual possession/ownership of handguns in DC was constitutional. They ruled against it. I have to agree with them. I do believe in the right to regulate firearm ownership, but a wholesale ban obviously violates Constitutional Amendment Two on its face.

The main problem with firearms isn’t a problem with firearms, but a problem with poverty. They make things worse, but they aren’t going to go away. Efforts should be focused on limiting their availability in sensible ways that still allow ownership for self-preservation and recreational (hunting, marksmanship competitions, and rich-middle-age-white-guy ten-pace-and-turn dueling) purposes.

The real focus should be on eliminating poverty.

Rothgery v. Gillespie County

In this case the court rightly affirms that a person has the right to counsel upon first restriction of rights. It can’t work any other way and any court that thought otherwise doesn’t understand the founding principle of justice.

Greenlaw v. US

This case centered around a convicted party’s appeal that resulted in the appellate court increasing his sentence. That don’t make no goddamn sense. It was vacated.

The best analogy here is one of physics. If I push up against a wall, the worst that should happen is it should stay still, the best I budge it forth. If, however, someone else pushes the other side, I may lose ground. Makes sense in physics, makes sense in law.


Guantánamo Detainees in Federal Courts

I’ll keep this brief and avoid delving into the actual legal arguments set forth by the majority and minority.

What I would like to address, however, is the dissents demeanor in their opinions. Particularly Justice Scalia, but it applies to C.J. Roberts as well.

First and foremost, Scalia explicitly assumes that the detainees held at Guantánamo Bay are enemies of the United States. But both seem to take a very weird bent with regard to the decision. Namely, they seem to imply that the legal system of the United States of America (the same one that they themselves are in the business of judging the law of) is inadequate, and in fact broken.

Scalia in particular seems to believe granting access to the Federal Courts of the United States of America will inevitably lead to the freedom of men who will immediately return strapped with nuclear arms and blow us all to kingdom come.

Let me say that again with a tad less rhetoric: Scalia believes that the US legal system is crap.

And that’s prominent in his arguing. He does argue the issues too, but, to quote as the NYTimes does:

The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.

I’m sorry, but if the terrorists are this bad, that we must destroy all that we have stood for, then we truly face an enemy from which there is no escape and we might as well all go for ice cream immediately. It’s just that simple. If we cannot stand upon our principles when facing the worst enemies, we have no principles upon which to stand.


Worst Consensus Ever.

SOUTER, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the
opinion of the Court, except as to Part III–B. STEVENS and BREYER, JJ.,
joined that opinion in full; ROBERTS, C. J., and GINSBURG, J., joined all
but Part III–B; and SCALIA, J., joined all but Parts III–B and IV. STE-
VENS, J., filed a concurring opinion. ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, J., filed
opinions concurring in part. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in
the judgment. KENNEDY, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ALITO,
J., joined. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion.