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


Justice John Paul Stevens
Justice John Paul Stevens

Fairfax, VA – -( 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)

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:

  • 26 thoughts on “Retired Anti-Gun Justice Reveals Attempts to Thwart Landmark Heller Decision

    1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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

        1. 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 for a while. A bump stock is not a gun. Again, LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE! I am in my 70s. We will be fighting the Liberals over this long after I am gone, Unless we keep electing liberals or socialists.

          1. @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.” Then, once you have your milktoast candidate we have to listen to the whining about how “Hey, we know he is bad, but at least its not a democrat.” and “If you don’t vote for him that means you are voting for the other side even if you stay home!”

            You know, I for one am looking at the bigger picture, or at least 75 years worth of it. You know what I see? I see people like yourself, having voted and repeatedly giving offerings of red meat every few years, slowly marching us down the road to more national debt, socialism, and the plundering of party principles to the point that If the left wing is Budweiser, then 95 percent of so called “Conservative politicians” are Bud Light. Thanks to people like yourself, we have politicians like Jeff Flake(Bud Light) instead of more like Mike Lee(Pure crystal clear water). And every time the morons cry and throw temper tantrums to elect Bud Light and cause people to cave on principle, we get a shift where the left retakes ground and goes even further over the cliff.

            So the next time someone talks about voting their conscience, remember that they have that right to do so. You don’t have to like it, but you should in no way try to bully or shame them into violating their principles because you picked a bad candidate. Now I’m not much for cursing, but this truly fits the bill. It should not take someone that long, but you would think that after 70 years they might learn how to extract their own head from their ass.

          2. “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; both of them were Democrats. Every member of Congress who served on the NRA Board of Directors (e.g. Larry “wide stance” Craig, Bob Barr) voted for the 1996 Lautenberg Amendment to make GCA-68 even more oppressive.

            “Unless we keep electing liberals or socialists.” — It wasn’t a liberal or socialist who appointed vehemently anti-RKBA Warren Burger to SCOTUS; it was Republican Richard Nixon. The same Richard Nixon who created the BATF in 1972 then told journalists he regarded the private ownership of firearms as an “abomination” and there was no anti-gun law he wouldn’t support. It wasn’t a liberal or socialist who appointed vehemently anti-RKBA John Paul Stevens to SCOTUS; it was Republican Gerald Ford. Anti-gun liberal David Souter was appointed by George H.W. Bush.

            It wasn’t a liberal or socialist who signed the Mulford Act in 1967 banning the open carry of loaded firearms in California, endorsed the Brady Bill in 1991 then wrote members of Congress in 1994 urging them to vote for Bill Clinton’s “assault weapon” ban; it was Republican Ronald Reagan. For decades, conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer urged the U.S. government to ban then confiscate all privately-held firearms. George W. Bush supported the same federal anti-gun laws as Al Gore and John Kerry and wanted to make Bill Clinton’s (now-expired) AWB a permanent statute in 2004. Mitt Romney signed Massachusetts’ AWB into law then touted his zeal for strict gun control.

            In his book The America We Deserve, your beloved Donald Trump wanted to make it harder for everyone to purchase a firearm, supported “assault weapon” bans, and criticized Republicans who “walk the NRA line.” In 2016, solely to pander for votes from gullible gun owners (as Republican politicians routinely do), Trump pretended to revere the Second Amendment. That didn’t stop him from joining with Hillary Clinton in wanting to forbid Americans on a government “watch” or “no fly” list from being “allowed” to purchase a firearm without any due process of law. Then there’s his overtly illegal bump stock ban which you blissfully dismiss.

            As far as that “all your rights” stuff, Donald Trump advocates torture, warrantless searches, victim disarmament statutes, denial of due process, abuse of eminent domain, and too many other misdeeds to enumerate here. Kindly identify any Republican member of Congress who is seriously trying to repeal a single federal anti-gun statute.

            “Trump threw the bastards some red meat and shut them up for a while.” — Oh, please. That statement would offend the intellect of a reasonably bright eight year-old.

            1. 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.

    5. 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.

        1. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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?

      1. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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 hacks that have no fealty to civil liberties or the actual laws of the US

      1. 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.

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