John Paul Stevens, a retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, argued, in a New York Times op-ed today, that Saturday’s demonstrators should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment. Whether he’s right from a strategic political perspective, I’m not so sure (actually, I suspect he’s not). But I am confident he’s right from a legal and constitutional perspective.
For reasons outlined in the former justice’s op-ed, the Second Amendment was never intended to afford the rights ascribed to it by the modern conservative court in the Heller case. It was a political not a constitutional decision — albeit hardly the first or the last. So if the framers’ intent was the issue, then a repeal of the amendment would bring us closer to the 1791 adoption of the Bill of Rights than the Heller decision. But, of course, it’s well established by now that conservatives care about original intent only when it serves their cause; they are quick to discard it at all other times.
I suspect the day will come when the Second Amendment is repealed. But it might be a long time in coming. I’m not sure I’ll see it happen.
In the meantime, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Supreme Court permit greater regulation of weapons, for even rabid conservative jurists are uncomfortable with blood on their hands.