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Quote of the Day

Via Dave Kopel:

Heller is the product of a mature current of constitutional thought, spurred by private groups but also by committed academics, that had clearly become prominent in nationwide politics and culture and that, by 2008, had established itself as thoroughly mainstream. In sharp contrast, Griswold was the result of an early effort by an incipient movement for reproductive rights and sex equality that had yet to become highly visible on the nation’s cultural viewscreen. In this sense, Heller has far more in common with Brown v. Board of Education than with Griswold—in the particular sense that Brown, like Heller, was the culmination of a long process of advocacy, in a self-conscious effort to entrench a certain understanding of the Constitution in the interest of social reform. In short, Heller and Griswold have distinctive sociologies. While the two are both responsive to public convictions, the cultural backdrop for the two decisions was radically different.

That’s Cass Sunstein, appointee to the Obama Administration.  He may be an animal rights whack job, but he may very well be the most pro-Second Amendment person nominated to serve in the administration (which isn’t saying much).  Griswold is the case which created a right to privacy, specifically in matters of contraception.  That case was expanded on in Roe and Lawrence.

That Heller is a closer cultural decedent of Brown is a very high compliment.  That’s an accomplishment we can all take some measure of credit for.

11 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

  1. Bitter says:

    For anyone who wants to better understand the strategy to Brown and an overall successful long-term effort, I suggest this book.

  2. BC says:

    That Heller is a closer cultural decedent

    You mean descendant, not decedent. ;-)

  3. Mikee says:

    Brown instituted an era (still ongoing) of federal judicial intervention in the minutiae of local school issues – specifically, mandated quotas by race in schools, achieved by bus transport of school kids across towns nationwide. Having seen this first hand, please let’s hope the Heller decision does not follow the same path.

    I would not welcome federal judicial intervention mandating the forced transport by bus of gun owners into non-gun-owning neighborhoods until the anti-gunners got over their bigotry. But it would be funny as all get out.

    As for Heller not being like Griswold, that may be, in terms of how the decision was litigated. However, (as I have said before here) if an unenumerated privacy right allows self-defense against possible disease or pregnancy during consensual sex acts through prophylaxis, how can an enumerated right to keep and bear arms NOT allow self defense against a non-consensual violent criminal attack?

    Griswold and Heller are more alike than Sunstein or Obama might want to admit.

  4. Mikee says:

    Brown instituted an era (still ongoing) of federal judicial intervention in the minutiae of local school issues – specifically, mandated quotas by race in schools, achieved by bus transport of school kids across towns nationwide. Having seen this first hand, please let’s hope the Heller decision does not follow the same path.

    I would not welcome federal judicial intervention mandating the forced transport by bus of gun owners into non-gun-owning neighborhoods until the anti-gunners got over their bigotry. But it would be funny as all get out.

    As for Heller not being like Griswold, that may be, in terms of how the decision was litigated.

    However, if an unenumerated privacy right allows self-defense against possible disease or pregnancy during consensual sex acts through prophylaxis, how can an enumerated right to keep and bear arms NOT allow self defense through use of firearms against a non-consensual violent criminal attack?

    Griswold and Heller are more alike than Sunstein or Obama might want to admit.

  5. Sebastian says:

    I am aware of some of the effects of the decisions that followed Brown, some of which, like destroying community schools, were, in my opinion, detrimental. But the harm the post Brown decisions were meant to counter was far worse than the unintended consequences.

    If you look at some examples in the South post Brown, you have cases like Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, where the County, faced with an order to desegregate its schools, decided to close them instead, and move to a voucher system, where schools could remain private and segregated, and where there just happened go to be no black private schools. I would hardly have expected the courts to sit back and let something like that happen.

    The extent the federal government had to stretch its power to its limit and beyond to end Jim Crow makes me uncomfortable, but the ends trying to be achieved do not, and I don’t see any other way they could have been achieved. I put the blame for the federal encroachment squarely on the racist and bigoted policies that made them necessary.

  6. countertop says:

    Cass isn’t an animal rights nut.

    He’s a prolific writer who writes about everything from all sides.

    Oh yeah, and when he wrote his animal rights book he was also dating (ie: trying to get into the pants of) an animal rights nut.

    I cut him huge slack for that. I know I’ve done and said worse to get laid before.

    They are no longer a couple. (He is actually married to the woman famous for telling the BBC that hillary is a bitch).

    Oh yeah, and as the only opponent of the precautionary principle in the obama administration – and a HUGE proponent of cost benefit regulatory accounting – he may be the only thing standing between us and the evil overlords.

    Heck, as I’ve told dozens of people in DC – he’s by far the best person for this job REGARDLESS of party. Had McCain won, I would have lobbied McCain to appoint Sunstein.

  7. teqjack says:

    That is Sunstein post-Heller. Go to Breitbart and watch the video of him in 2007 sayng that the Supremes not only never had but never would find 2A an individual right because it applies only in the “original meaing” of a government militia.

  8. emdfl says:

    Pardon the copy from the Washington Times editorial

    EDITORIAL: Sunstein flunks gun rights test
    Another ‘czar’ shoots himself in the foot
    By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

    University of Chicago law professor Cass R. Sunstein, the president’s embattled nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, misfired one time too many.

    Mr. Sunstein has been assuring Second Amendment advocates, including key Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, that he strongly believes the Constitution protects an individual right to bear arms. In a July 14 letter clarifying his positions at the request of the senator, Mr. Sunstein wrote: “Your first question involved the Second Amendment. I strongly believe that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess and use guns for purposes of both hunting and self-defense. I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case, clearly recognizing the individual right to have guns for hunting and self-defense. If confirmed, I would respect the Second Amendment and the individual right that it recognizes.”

    There’s no wiggle room in that statement, and Mr. Chambliss dropped his hold on the nomination based on Mr. Sunstein’s assurances. But it turns out that the professor has held a certain contempt for the very viewpoint he suddenly claims to espouse.

    A videotape has surfaced of a lecture Mr. Sunstein gave on Oct. 23, 2007. Here is what he said: “My coming view is that the individual right to bear arms reflects the success of an extremely aggressive and resourceful social movement and has much less to do with good standard legal arguments than [it] appears.” Discussing the anti-gun laws in the District of Columbia, he said a critic of such strict gun control would say that a “trigger lock interferes with his efforts at self-defense against criminals. What on Earth does that have to do with the Second Amendment as originally understood?”

    Later in the lecture, Mr. Sunstein said, “My tentative suggestion is that the individual right to have guns as it’s being conceptualized now is best taken as a contemporary creation and a reflection of current fears – not a reading of civic-centered founding debates.”

    Mr. Sunstein’s overt hostility to the idea that the Constitution protects an individual right to bear arms, including for purposes of self-defense, is not something that should be welcomed from somebody whose job might entail weighing in on the value of anti-gun regulations. It also makes his more recent assurances that he is a Second Amendment stalwart seem rather disingenuous, at the very least.

  9. Matthew Carberry says:

    At what point do we cease looking into the past and simply hold people accountable for their most recent statement?

    Sunstein says he (now) agrees with Heller.

    How does a comment from ’07, 2 years ago, where he said differently, utterly negate what he said more recently?

    Should we assume across the board that people never, ever, change opinions?

    Wouldn’t it be more mature and logical (setting aside practical) to simply hold people accountable to their most recent statement of belief?

    Hell, Paul persecuted Christians before he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, should we dismiss Ephesians as “trying to get one over on the church”?

  10. Xrlq says:

    I don’t see the comparison to Brown as anything conservatives should consider positive. A popular meme on the left is that Plessy (the separate but equal case) was decided “correctly” on strict constructionist grounds, while Brown was right because bold judges did the morally right thing instead of applying the Constitution as written. My guess is that Sunstein was saying roughly the same thing about the Second Amendment – it doesn’t “really “confer an individual right (see 2007 statement while that was still a live issue before the court) but The People demanded that right, and now the Living Constitution provides it.

    Bleah. Probably better than anything else Obama would give us, but nevertheless, bleah.

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