Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NY Times Supports DC Gun Ban

The NY Times recently published an editorial supporting the DC gun ban. Among its principle reasons for upholding the law were the change in times since the nation's founding and the violent reality of guns in homes.

The editorial can be found below:

"By agreeing yesterday to rule on whether provisions of the District of Columbia’s stringent gun control law violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court has inserted itself into a roiling public controversy with large ramifications for public safety. The court’s move sowed hope and fear among supporters of reasonable gun control, and it ratcheted up the suspense surrounding the court’s current term.

The hope, which we share, is that the court will rise above the hard-right ideology of some justices to render a decision respectful of the Constitution’s text and the violent consequences of denying government broad room to regulate guns. The fear is that it will not.

At issue is a 2-to-1 ruling last March by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that found unconstitutional a law barring handguns in homes and requiring that shotguns and rifles be stored with trigger locks or disassembled. The ruling upheld a radical decision by a federal trial judge, who struck down the 31-year-old gun control law on spurious grounds that conform with the agenda of the anti-gun control lobby but cry out for rejection by the Supreme Court.

Much hinges on how the justices interpret the Second Amendment, which says: “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.”

Opponents of gun control sometimes claim a constitutional prohibition on any serious regulation of individual gun ownership. The court last weighed in on the amendment in 1939, concluding, correctly in our view, that the only absolute right conferred on individuals is for the private ownership of guns that has “some reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well-regulated militia.” The federal, state and local governments may impose restrictions on other uses — like the trigger guards — or outright bans on types of weapons. Appellate courts followed that interpretation, until last spring’s departure.

A lot has changed since the nation’s founding, when people kept muskets to be ready for militia service. What has not changed is the actual language of the Constitution. To get past the first limiting clauses of the Second Amendment to find an unalienable individual right to bear arms seems to require creative editing.

Beyond grappling with fairly esoteric arguments about the Second Amendment, the justices need to responsibly confront modern-day reality. A decision that upends needed gun controls currently in place around the country would imperil the lives of Americans."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Gun Ban Case

A video recapping the soon-to-be contentious case over the DC gun ban. Given the Court's conservative leaning and the fact that the arguments on behalf of striking down the gun ban are based on the right to self defense, it's very likely that the Justices will rule in favor of striking down the law, setting a precedent that could change the course of gun control laws for a very long period of time.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Court Further Halts Executions


The Supreme Court has stopped yet another execution as the justices wait to determine the compliance of execution by lethal injection with the 8th amendment in a case later next year. This time, the Court has stayed the execution of child killer Mark Schwab. Schwab deceived a child's family into believing that he was a reporter from a local newspaper and used that relationship to kidnap and murder the child. While the decision will surely outrage many across the country, the move was expected of the Supreme Court, which has taken steps in a number of cases to halt executions utilizing the injection method of the impending case Baze V. Rees.

More information about Schwab can be found on the CNN website or in the New York Times article.  

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Homosexual Workers to be Protected by Boldest Civil Rights Legislation Expansion in Over a Decade

This past week the US House of Representatives passed the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. If also approved by the Senate and by President Bush, the legislation would extend for the first time the federal conception of equal protection to the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community. While the law would promise to prevent employers from failing or refusing to "hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, and conditions or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation," the bill has met disapproval from Democrats and gay rights advocates because of the conspicuously absent protection from discrimination over gender identity issues. Despite the drawbacks of the bill in current form, many still believe it represents great progress for the LGB community and the broad goal fought for over half a century to ensure equal rights in the workplace.

Read the New York Times article to learn more about the issue or track the bill's progress through the Senate and executive office.

Battle Over For Sale Sign Headed to Supreme Court

The USSC may hear a rather odd and relatively unknown case regarding free speech. The speech regulated in this case is one not seen very often in First Amendment cases: a "For Sale" sign on a used car. The car owner who sued his local town, Glendale, OH, has won the most recent appeal. Attorneys for Glendale are taking it to the USSC. It will be interesting to see if the Justices decide to take the case since categorization of a "For Sale" sign as free speech does not seem very compelling.