Saturday, October 09, 2004

Debate Supreme Court Ramblings

George Bush on a question about picking a Supreme Court judge.
GIBSON: Mr. President, the next question is for you, and it comes from Jonathan Michaelson, over here.

MICHAELSON: Mr. President, if there were a vacancy in the Supreme Court and you had the opportunity to fill that position today, who would you choose and why?

BUSH: I'm not telling. (LAUGHTER) I really don't have -- haven't picked anybody yet. Plus, I want them all voting for me. (LAUGHTER) I would pick somebody who would not allow their personal opinion to get in the way of the law. I would pick somebody who would strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States.

Let me give you a couple of examples, I guess, of the kind of person I wouldn't pick.

I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of Allegiance couldn't be said in a school because it had the words "under God" in it. I think that's an example of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the decision-making process as opposed to a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights.

That's a personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.

And so, I would pick people that would be strict constructionists. We've got plenty of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Legislators make law; judges interpret the Constitution.

And I suspect one of us will have a pick at the end of next year -- the next four years. And that's the kind of judge I'm going to put on there. No litmus test except for how they interpret the Constitution.

This goes to show you how much Bush does not understand the evolution of law in our country's history based on the Constitution. I could speak volumns on his simplistic ideas about the Constitution, but I'm going to focus on his desire for "a strict interpretation of the Constitution" on just one small part of the Constitution and why Bush actually does not believe in the strict interpretation ideal.

The Second Amendment reads, 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.

Whenever you hear Republicans and the NRA defend the right to bear arms based on the Second Amendment note that they never quote the first half of the amendment. They like to claim that bearing arms is for the protection of yourself or your property, to defend ones self. Where does it say that in the Second Amendment?

Take a minute, read it over carefully and find what reason is given to enable people to keep and bear arms. It is the first half of the amendment. It requires a well regulated Militia for the purpose of the security of a free State. Nothing about protecting or defending yourself, you are to allowed arms for the defense and protection of a free State.

The Supreme Court over these many years agrees with that. They have always allowed states to regulate the arms of its citizens based on the Second Amendment. The courts have recognized these key words, "well regulated," "militia" and "free State." They allow for any state to well regulate a militia for their own security.

They also understand why the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution. Early in our nations history the fear of repression from a central authority, the federal government, based on being newly freed from the repression of King George of England. The several Supreme Court decisions have always seen this connection.

In United States v. Miller (1939), the United States Supreme Court held that the "obvious purpose" of the Amendment was "to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness" of state militias. The Court added: "It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view." Miller made it clear that there must be some connection between arms bearing and the "well regulated Militia" to trigger constitutional protection.

The Supreme Court has indeed followed a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment. But George Bush and his NRA buddies reject this strict interpretation, they want a mythological or opinion driven interpretation that allows individuals to own arms to defend themselves.

Bush claimed in the debate "And so, I would pick people that would be strict constructionists." But that would be a lie when it comes to his desires about the Second Amendment, or he is lieing to the NRA, either way it's a lie. Another possibility is that George Bush simply doesn't understand the Constitution, the history of constitutional law and Supreme Court rulings. I believe it is a combination of his misunderstanding and a lie to the American people about the Second Amendment. For the Second Amendment he desires those evil activist judges he always rails about to reinterpret the amendment to exclude the first half of the amendement and to see in it a new "obvious purpose," to defend ones self.


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