Of all the ways this court could have affirmed their decision to choose this, and Justice Thomas' opinion on this, as I say, is a genuine momentous history lesson. What liberal can argue with this? In a Chicago case, no less, in a Chicago case. Now, here's page 28, the court's opinion. "In debating the Fourteenth Amendment, the 39th Congress referred to the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental right deserving of protection. Senator Samuel Pomeroy described three 'indispensable' 'safeguards of liberty under our form of Government.' 39th Cong. Globe 1182. One of these, he said, was the right to keep and bear arms: 'Every man . . . should have the right to bear arms for the defense of himself and family and his homestead. And if the cabin door of the freedman is broken open --" freedman is a new freed slave. "If the cabin door of the freedman is broken open and the intruder enters for purposes as vile as were known to slavery, then should a well-loaded musket be in the hand of the occupant to send the polluted wretch to another world, where his wretchedness will forever remain complete." That's in today's ruling! And that is, again, from Samuel Pomeroy from the 39th Congress.
Well, okay. "In debating the Fourteenth Amendment, the 39th Congress referred to the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental right --" I'm reading directly from page 28 of the ruling here. "In debating the Fourteenth Amendment, the 39th Congress referred to the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental right deserving of protection. Senator Samuel Pomeroy described three 'indispensable' 'safeguards of liberty under our form of Government.' One of these, he said, was the right to keep and bear arms: 'Every man . . . should have the right to bear arms for the defense of himself and family and his homestead," meaning house. "If the cabin door," the front door, "of the newly freed slave is broken open," somebody storms in, "and the intruder enters for purposes as vile as were known to slavery," as in a lynching, "then should a well-loaded musket," meaning a fully loaded shotgun "be in the hand of the [freed slave] to send the polluted wretch--" i.e., the intruder "--to another world," -- i.e., hell "--where his wretchedness will forever remain complete." That is quoted page 28 in the ruling of the Supreme Court today.
Page 29: "Evidence from the period immediately following the Amendment’s ratification confirms that that right was considered fundamental. In an 1868 speech addressing the disarmament of freedmen..." newly freed slaves. Freedmen, by the way, one word, it's an actual term used back then "... Representative Stevens emphasized the necessity of the right: 'Disarm a community and you rob them of the means of defending life. Take away their weapons of defense and you take away the inalienable right of defending liberty.' 'The fourteenth amendment, now so happily adopted, settles the whole question.” And in debating the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Congress routinely referred to the right to keep and bear arms and decried the continued disarmament of blacks in the South." Page 28-29 of the Supreme Court ruling today. So the Supreme Court not only confirmed that the Second Amendment means what it says but it used or uses discrimination and abuses against blacks post-Civil War, newly freed slaves to make their point. I hope somebody asks the solicitor general Elena Kagan about this today or at some point. Her confirmation hearings, otherwise known as the rubber-stamp committee, gets underway in about 11 minutes.
The rest of the transcript is here.
At this point I'm going to borrow from Kevin(again) on this particular matter:
"Just to insert, the Dred Scott court listed "those liberties that are fundamental to a democratic society and rooted in the traditions of the American people" and here I repeat Chief Justice Taney's listing of the rights that could not be conferred upon blacks, free or slave:
(Citizenship) would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.Those liberties. In 1856 the Supreme Court wasn't yet willing to reinterpret a "living Constitution," so instead the Court's members decided that excluding an entire race of people from its protections was perfectly valid. It's only a little damage, and it's for public safety, you know."
And let it not be forgotten that the man this case was about, Mr. McDonald, is black. Prevented by the laws of Chicago from owning a handgun.
Let's rejoice that a majority of the Court recognized the importance of the 2nd to freedom and individual liberty, and despair that four of the Justices would rather see rights decided by what they personally feel, no matter how many suffer for the sake of their feelings.