Posted Online: Jan. 03, 2013, 3:16 pm
Letter: Read Constitution, then Supreme Court decisions
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To the letter, "Constitution brilliantly written; now read it," I must respond that reading it is not enough.
In 1803 Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison declared that the U.S. Constitution says exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court says it says. Every court since has agreed.
In the decision of the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, the major decision was that the district could not place certain requirements on gun owners such as requiring a trigger lock. The decision delighted the right and the gun lobby but the total ruling was really quite liberal.
In the final decision, Justice Antonin Scalia stated that the phrase stressed in the letter, "A well regulated militia," is merely prefatory and adds no value to the Second amendment. I cannot think of another example of the court stating that any other phrase in the Constitution ought to be just ignored.
Additionally, Justice Scalia invented a new Second Amendment constitutional right, the right of self-defense. A right to self-defense is not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution and therefore ought to be left to the states or the people as the constitution stipulates.
It is indeed a good start to read the U.S. Constitution, but you cannot stop there. You must know what the Supreme Court says it says.