Cass Sunstein: An Historical Analysis Of The Second AmendmentRoundup: Historians' Take
It is impossible to understand the current Second Amendment debate without lingering over Burger's words. Burger was a cautious person as well as a conservative judge, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court is unlikely to offer a controversial position on a constitutional question in an interview on national television. (Chief Justice John Roberts is not about to go on Fox News to say that the claimed right to same-sex marriage is a fraud on the American people perpetrated by special interest groups.) Should we therefore conclude that Burger had a moment of uncharacteristic recklessness? I do not think so. Burger meant to describe what he saw as a clear consensus within the culture of informed lawyers and judges--a conclusion that was so widely taken for granted that it seemed to him to be a fact, and not an opinion at all.
Flash forward to this past March, when the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit enthusiastically embraced the very view that Burger had described as a "fraud." In the process, the court struck down several handgun restrictions in the District of Columbia. And so the Supreme Court is now being asked to decide whether the Second Amendment creates an individual right to own guns. There is a decent chance that the Court will say that it does. Whatever the Court says, we have seen an amazingly rapid change in constitutional understandings--even a revolution--as an apparently fraudulent interpretation pushed by "special interest groups" (read: the National Rifle Association) has become mainstream. How on earth has this happened? Was Chief Justice Burger just wrong?...
comments powered by Disqus
Arnold Shcherban - 11/28/2007
The title hardly calls for any comments... when thought of by any intelligent folks, who know the facts of contemporary societal life.
David T. Hardy - 11/27/2007
1. I have no doubt that Prof. Sunstein and I would agree that Warren Burget got a LOT of constitutional issues wrong, even when he (or his clerks) studied them.
2. I rather doubt he put much study into that statement.
3. The argument, no reasons given, is purely one from authority. If that is the case, I'll take William van Alstyne, Akhil Amar, Michael Kent Curtis, and Sanford Levinson over Warren Burger, any day.
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Transcribed Document: Soviet Politburo Discussed CIA Billion Dollar Spy Adolf Tolkachev
- Pentagon withholds Iraq War photos showing detainee abuse
- These Rebels Have Amassed A Library From Syria’s Ruins
- Was 1916 fire at Canadian Parliament set by German saboteur?
- United Nations Calls On U.S. To Pay African Americans Reparations For Slavery
- Juan Cole says America’s inclination to turn to the military started with Manifest Destiny
- History Jobs Drop
- Paul Krugman gives credence to Robert J. Gordon's pessimism about American economic growth
- Harvard President Drew Faust Condemns Free Tuition Proposal from Outsider Overseers Ticket
- Andrew Roberts says Trump is the Mussolini of America with double the vulgarity