Retired Anti-Gun Justice Reveals Attempts to Thwart Landmark Heller Decision

Opinion

Justice John Paul Stevens
Justice John Paul Stevens

Fairfax, VA – -(Ammoland.com)- Few Supreme Court justices have been as avowedly opposed to the Second Amendment as John Paul Stevens, who retired from the high court in June 2010.

Stevens wrote a lengthy dissent to the landmark decision of District of Columbia v. Heller and to its follow-up, McDonald v. Chicago. He then continued to advocate against those cases even after his retirement, including in a book proposing amendments to the Constitution and in a high-profile editorial published in the New York Times urging repeal of the Second Amendment. Now Stevens is publishing a memoir and has revealed what were by his own account extraordinary efforts to try to thwart the outcome of the Heller decision or at least to limit the scope of the Second Amendment’s individual right.

According to a New York Times article about the upcoming book – tentatively titled “The Making of a Justice: My First 94 Years” – Stevens considers Heller one of the three worst decisions the Supreme Court issued during his nearly 45 year tenure as an associate justice. Stevens faulted both the reasoning of the decision and what he called “its actual practical impact by increasing the use of guns in the country … .”

Yet Stevens admitted he was advocating against the decision before it was even available for the justices themselves to review, telling the Times he circulated his own “probable dissent” five weeks before Justice Antonin Scalia released his draft majority opinion. According to the Times article, Stevens “could not recall ever having done anything like that.” Nevertheless, he told the Times, “I thought I should give it every effort to switch the case before it was too late.”

Fortunately, Stevens’s opinion proved less persuasive to a majority of his colleagues than did Justice Scalia’s.

Nevertheless, Stevens credits himself with getting the crucial swing vote for the Heller opinion – now retired Justice Anthony Kennedy – to demand some “important changes” to limit the opinion’s scope. These included a litany of existing types of gun control upon which the opinion should not be taken to “cast doubt.” Specifically, the opinion mentions “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons 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.”

Of course, the Heller case itself did not actually concern any of those types of laws, focusing instead on D.C.’s handgun ban and its requirement to store firearms in an unusable state. Thus, the legal significance of that passage is debatable. A number of courts have, in fact, examined such laws in light of the Second Amendment and occasionally have found applications of those laws invalid. On the other hand, judges have also used that passage of Heller as an invitation to uphold sweeping prohibitions and even to exempt other types of gun control from the Second Amendment’s scope by analogy.

In any case, not only was Stevens wrong about the meaning of the Second Amendment, he’s also wrong that recognition of the individual right has led to negative effects from “increasing gun use in this country.”

Criminals obviously weren’t waiting on word from the Supreme Court when deciding whether or how to use guns to prey upon their victims. Meanwhile, most Americans who exercise their Second Amendment rights continue to do so responsibly, as they have all along.

The Times article is revealing, however, in depicting the obsession that some elites have with suppressing the Second Amendment rights of ordinary Americans. It also underscores the importance of what President Trump has accomplished, and continues to pursue, through his appointment of federal judges who respect the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution, including the individual right to keep and bear arms.


National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

About:
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

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RotaryConnected

Isn’t it nice that so many of these creatures from hell are going back from whence they came ? Soon it will be Soros’s turn, and Killery’s, and NuttyYahoo, and KissMyArsinger, and so many more. And the Bone Orchards will fill up with people the world just couldn’t get along without.

circle8

This is proof that many of us have been saying for decades. John Paul Stevens was a traitor to the USA and our constitution.

Tom

ANYONE in Government that goes against the Constitution after swearing to uphold and defend it is guilty of treason!
And should be charged, tried, convicted, sentenced and the sentence carried out immediately!
When the politicians saw others getting what they deserve for betraying their oath would surely make sure they would not make that mistake.

Green Mtn. Boy

That after all is what the Constitution calls for.

tomcat

John Paul Stevens, a portrait of a swamp creacher. He spent 45 years twiddling his thumbs and being a liberal. We should be proud of him and put up a statue for him. There are only three or four more like him on the court.

Lord-Pi-314

Yeah, put his statue in a place that the pigeons like to congregate at. That would be very fitting for his memory.

james

What the good Justice thinks makes little difference because he is HISTORY.
We have new Justices on the SCOTUS.

Docduracoat

President Trump with his bump stock ban has now done more gun control than Obama did in eight years!
I applaud DJT appointing conservative federal judges.
soon Flake will be gone from the Senate and we will get more conservative federal judges.
President Trump has now lost my vote on 2020 because of his anti-gun stands

TexDan

And the Democrats applaud you.

Dave C

You are destroying a face to spite a pimple! Stick with the bigger picture or the Dems will slowly chip away at all your rights. I, for one, do not want to loose my gun rights over bump stocks. Think about it. Clinton got in because of Ross Perot (even though he meant well) and Bush saying “Read my lips” and then renigning on a promise. In hindsight, did Bush breaking a promise make Clinton, and later Obama make for a better option? Don’t do it all over again. Trump threw the bastards some red meat and shut them up… Read more »

The Revelator

@Dave C and TexDan Neither of you have a right to tell Docduracoat how or when he should vote his conscience. Secondly, if your candidate in the future loses an election because Doc couldn’t bring himself to vote for that person, then that is your fault not his. I am another who is sick and tired of abject idiots who claim to be on the right but the second we try to elect a principled constitutionalist we hear whining about “We need someone who can win.” or “We have to elect someone that can steal some votes from the left.”… Read more »

Skytrooper

“Clinton got in because of Ross Perot” — No. He. Did. Not. Every independent study of the 1992 presidential election concluded Bush would have lost even if Perot hadn’t been in the race. “the Dems will slowly chip away at all your rights” — Only 17 senators voted against GCA-68; only four of them were Republicans. George H.W. Bush voted for GCA-68 when he was a member of Congress. The same G.H.W. Bush who signed an executive order (still in effect) in 1989 banning the importation of many superb semiauto firearms. Only two senators voted against the 1996 Lautenberg Amendment;… Read more »

james

good post Skytrooper. I knew most of it, reagan went down another notch.

JJ Thomas

Finally someone that understands the republicans are the worst enemies of the gun culture and second amendment supporters. First ones to back stab us after lolling the stupid sheep to sleep.

The Revelator

Skytrooper

Nuff Said.

Jay in Florida

So by simple definition. Kennedy is responsible for all mass murders committed in “Gun Free” zones. As it’s by his own admission he is responsible for the addition of the codicle to the Heller desicion.

Dave C

“Gun Free Zone” is a synonym for “Target Rich Environment” The judge (and liberals) are ignoring this….

Tom

Dave C, “Gun Free Zone” is a synonym for “Target Rich Environment”, the judge (and liberals are ignoring this….
Of course they are. They will never admit it but they want to make target rich environments out of our schools and other places and want the shootings to happen so they can push gun control to gain more control over the citizens to turn them into subjects.

Wild Bill

Judges are supposed to be impartial. Supreme Court Justices, particularly, must be especially impartial. Anything less that impartiality is the misbehavior that the Constitution speaks of. It appears that the many, many Congresses have, again failed to do their jobs.
It seems like most people go to Washington with agendas that are contrary to the Constitution. I think that parties and party funding are to blame.

Everett Walker

Hey J.P. It’s Ok To Be Gay but it’s not ok to be an anti-american,crybully democrat.

Huapakechi

When a retired SC justice writes an article bemoaning the rights enumerated in the Constitution, snouldn’t EVERY decision he’s sided with be reviewed?

joefoam

That was my sentiment when he first opened his mouth regarding the 2A. Lends credence to Trumps rebuttal of Roberts ridiculous assertion that judges aren’t biased.

joefoam

Another example of a biased judge. Wonder how many other biases he has and how many important rulings were made based on his political beliefs. This really underscores the importance of judicial appointments. Thanks Flake for gumming up the works, we wouldn’t want unbiased judges on the bench until you get your pet project protected.

damion cocchi

Just more proof that SCOTUS is unconstitutionally legislating… despite they have no constitutional authority to create laws, even when creating an opinion that goes against the clear original text of the US Constitution and its Amendments. Just like Associate Justice RBG, who frequently cites foreign sovereign country’s laws to advocate for her unconstitutional opinions in her attempts to force Americans to live under her preferred form of fascism. Justice admits to not even pretending to cite the laws of this country when forming an opinion, kudos for his honesty, but still proves that SCOTUS is made up of primarily political… Read more »

Green Mtn. Boy

His first duty was to the Constitution as written not the Communist manifesto,as a U S S C justice he Failed.

Wild Bill

Wow, that explains a lot. We need to drain the Judicial swamp, too! Oh, wait … only Trump, with the consent of the Senate, can do that.