Sunday, February 14, 2016

Brilliant Legal Scholar

With a life long commitment to following the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

Yes, you know who I am talking about: one of the greatest legal mountebanks of all time, the recently departed Antonin Scalia.

I periodically assembled material from some of his opinions to demonstrate what a farce that piece of right wing propaganda was.  I never got around to assembling it all into a post.  I'd like, today, to deal with just one of the court decisions in which Scalia was the prime mover, that in District of Columbia v. Heller, which vastly expanded gun "rights" in the United States.

The material I am quoting comes from Wikipedia, but can be found many other places.  But first, let us remember what the second amendment actually says:

Amendment II

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.

So, on to Scalia's basis for his opinion:

"The Supreme Court held: 

(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. 

(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Please observe what Scalia has done here, because it was really quite remarkable.  Using a pathetic sort of grammatical argument, he has asserted that the first half of the second amendment means absolutely nothing, and the only part that counts is the one giving everyone a right to own a gun, regardless of the actual words of the founding fathers whose intent is supposedly all Scalia cares about.

This one example alone (ignoring things like his utterly corrupt and fact free decisions in Bush v. Gore and Citizens United)  should be enough to convince any fair minded person that Scalia never gave a damn about the founding fathers or the Constitution, or about anything but advancing the corporate and wealthy interests that he was put on the court to nurture.

But lets go a little farther:

"...the Court ruled a total ban on operative handguns in the home is unconstitutional, as the ban runs afoul of both the self-defense purpose of the Second Amendment – a purpose not previously articulated by the Court – and the "in common use at the time" prong of the Miller decision"

And let's be clear here that this purpose- "not previously articulated by the Court"- was not previously articulated because (read it again if you doubt me) it is mentioned nowhere in the Second Amendment.  Furthermore, a quick reading of the relevant Federalist Papers, written by the authors of the Constitution to explain what they meant, will quickly confirm that the notion of individual self defense played absolutely no part in their thinking.  That is why Scalia, who knew every word of this material, had to use his pathetically transparent and disingenuous ruse to deny the existence of the first half of the amendment.

This one example serves to completely devastate the claim that Scalia was a brilliant jurist defending the Constitution, and reveals him to be nothing but a corrupt partisan hack.  Enough with the propaganda; Scalia was the best they could come up with, and he was utterly lacking in the sort of honesty that you might think we want on the court.

And this is all for a very clear reason:  Conservative history, Conservative economics, Conservative politics- it is all a gigantic charade designed to further the interests of the hyper rich.  None of it has a shred of substance, so it is impossible for the most brilliant, knowledgeable jurist to come up with a defense of it that can withstand scrutiny.  A "Conservative" Supreme Court is a lawless Supreme Court, and that is really the whole story of the career of Antonin Scalia.


joseph said...


The Framers were talking about MUSKETS. There is no evidence that they though that every citizen had the right to every weapon, in the 1780s that would have been cannons. Furthermore, the second amendment guarantees the right to arms, not ammunition. In their time, cop killing bullets would have been prohibited without objection.

Bob Conner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Conner said...

Oh how easy it is to ignore the parts you don't like - that's what I did all through high school and I ignored the entire program :-)

40 years ago, this "battle" would have been considered juvenile and dangerous by the very organization now promoting arms proliferation.

And here I thought religion was the only thing able to return us to the dark ages. At least now we can go there with as many weapons as we can assemble.

I hear nukes are going on the government surplus market soon - the Cold Wart just ain't what it used to be and they gotta warm it all up with neighbors duking it out with tactical nukes - it's their RIGHT, don't ya know?