The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is winding down its spring session and this week announced two important decisions. The first was a major defeat for gun control advocates. In New York State Pistol & Rifle Association, Inc. v. Bruen, the high court ruled that New York State’s requirement that individuals who want to carry a gun must obtain a license and “…demonstrate a special need for self-protection…” violates the Second Amendment.
The second landmark ruling overturned Roe v. Wade that granted women a right to an abortion. The Supreme Court declared in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the original Roe v. Wade decision was an egregious error with no constitutional or historical legitimacy.
The Supreme Court and various states have for too many years chosen to ignore the plain language of the Second Amendment. The authors of the Bill Rights to the Constitution were very clear that the right to bear arms was linked specifically to the need for a well-regulated militia to provide security for a free state.
Such was the ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, when the Supreme Court erroneously stated, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia,…” This was a false interpretation of our founders’ original intent.
The Supreme Court continues to misinterpret the intent of the Second Amendment and this New York decision is one more step down the wrong path of history.
Former Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, in a dissenting opinion to the Heller ruling, correctly noted that “…the Framers’ single-minded focus in crafting the constitutional guarantee ‘to keep and bear arms’ was on military use of firearms, which they viewed in the context of service in state militias.” Stevens later asserts, “The absence of any reference to civilian uses of weapons tailors the text of the Amendment to the purpose identified in its preamble.” In other words, the original intent was to keep and bear arms solely for service in a militia.
The majority opinion in Heller resorted to all manner of linguistic contortions to ignore the key prefatory clause. That phrase limits the intent of the amendment as Stevens correctly noted. But the majority erred in its opinion then and today.
Although I am disappointed in the Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) ruling on the New York gun case yesterday, I applaud the high court for its correct decision in the Dobbs abortion case. Associate Justice Samuel Alito persuasively detailed the errors in the Roe vs. Wade decision. While acknowledging that “Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views,”justice Alito rightfully recognized that Roe v. Wade chose to ignore historical precedent and pretended to find a constitutional right to abortion where no such right exists.
Women who fail to prevent unwanted pregnancies through a multitude of contraceptive choices available to them, still will be able to go to states where the legislatures have passed pro-life measures.