“Even if the textual and historical arguments on both sides of the issue were evenly balanced, respect for the well­settled views of all of our predecessors on this Court, and for the rule of law itself, would prevent most jurists from endorsing such a dramatic upheaval in the law”…..District of Columbia v. Heller/Dissent Stevens


In his dissent to Citizens United, Stevens delivered a knockout blow to the majority opinion, as I thought, but in Heller, I’d say he won by a split decision…

I’d like to read all the opinions involved again, but one point I wish Stevens had stressed, which I don’t think he did, was all the things the preamble to the second amendment doesn’t say.

The preamble doesn’t say, for example, that “Because hunting and fishing are essential to the American way of life, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed”; and it doesn’t say that “Because all people have a right to defend themselves and their family and property, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.”

In fact, the need to protect oneself and ones family is so much more universal than the need for state militias, one would have thought the founders might have used that in their preamble to an amendment in defense of gun ownership, if that’s what they really had meant.

Instead, what they really meant would appear to be something entirely different from what I imagine many of today’s defenders of gun rights have in mind –it involves this obscure and long superseded organization once known as a state militia.

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