Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Elena Kagan, Ralph Reed and the Second Amendment

This Ralph Reed -- remember him? -- post at The Corner, about Elena Kagan's radical tendencies, deserves a thorough fisking. But there's one point in particular that I found interesting. And by "interesting" I mean "dishonest."

In response to questions during her confirmation as solicitor general, Kagan argued the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, like freedom of speech, enjoys “strong but not unlimited protection.” This is a dangerous view of the law when it leads to the creeping erosion of the Bill of Rights.

Why is this dishonest? Because if you check what Kagan said at her solicitor general hearings, it's clear that she was citing DC vs. Heller, the 2008 case that upheld gun rights. This is a fuller and untruncated quote of what she said:

Once again, there is no question, after Heller, that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to keep and bear arms and that this right, like others in the Constitution, provides strong although not unlimited protection against governmental regulation.

Is that really "a dangerous view of the law?" Consider this: Kagan was basically echoing the Heller decision in making her statement about the limits of the Second Amendment -- a decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia wrote:

Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to castdoubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms byfelons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

Is Ralph Reed really going to say that Antonin Scalia -- about as solid a Second Amendment absolutist as you'll find on the court -- has a "dangerous view of the law?" Of course not. So if he's saying the same view of the law is dangerous when held by Elena Kagan, well, you can be sure he's doing so in the service of dishonest hackery. Ralph Reed isn't telling the truth.


scenebooster said...

At least he's consistent.

Ainslie Pretty said...

Hey Joel!....

Actually we don't know each other, but I lived in Lawrence when you wrote for Lawrence.Com and I loved your blog then as well! And we have a mutual friend...Fally!