Justice Thomas Gets It

From a Supreme Court case in 2000, Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 1001 (2000), Footnote 16 of Justice Thomas’ dissent:

“The fact that the statutory term “partial birth abortion” may express a political or moral judgment, whereas “dilation and extraction” does not, is irrelevant. It is certainly true that technical terms are frequently empty of normative content. (Of course, the decision to use a technical term can itself be normative. … But, so long as statutory terms are adequately defined, there is no requirement that Congress or state legislatures draft statutes using morally agnostic terminology. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 922(v) (making it unlawful to “manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon”); Kobayashi & Olson, et al., In Re 101 California Street: A Legal and Economic Analysis of Strict Liability For The Manufacture And Sale Of “Assault Weapons,” 8 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 41, 43 (1997) (“Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of ‘assault rifles’ so as to allow an attack on as many additional firearms as possible on the basis of undefined ‘evil’ appearance”). See also Meese, 481 U.S., at 484—485.”

Emphasis mine. This shows at least one of the justices gets it. If you love your gun rights, pray for Justice Thomas’ good health.

h/t to Annual Firearms Law Seminar.

4 thoughts on “Justice Thomas Gets It”

  1. If you love liberty and intellectual honesty, pray for Justice Thomas’ good health. The man is a bastion of intellectual integrity and reverence for the Constitution.

    Which is obvious from the way the left continuously attacks him.

  2. Thomas is generally on the right side in terms of Constitutional interpretation, I find.

    His dissent in Raich, for instance.

  3. Even when I disagree with the man (which is often, thanks to cases like Brown v. EMA), I have to admire his impressive reasoning, writing, and clarity of voice.
    I’d love to hear what he’s like to work for as a clerk.

  4. I do wish good health to Justice Thomas for a variety of reasons. However, the term “semi-automatic assault rifle” goes back at least to Mel Tappen in the 1970’s, who by my lights, was one of us. I do not hold him responsible for the misuse of the term by the left.

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