Americans for Limited Government Praises Heller v. D.C. Decision As ‘A Refreshing Return to Personal Freedom’

June 26th, 2008, Fairfax, Virginia— Americans for Limited Government today praised the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller v. D.C. “as a refreshing return to personal freedom, a reminder to the revisionists that the Constitution is neither out of date, nor out of vogue.”

In addition, ALG President Bill Wilson called upon 88-year-old Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to “do what is right and honorable and resign now from the seat he has held too long and abused so badly.” Said Wilson, “In referring to Mr. Stevens’ convoluted reasoning as ‘grotesque,’ Justice Scalia summed up in a word Mr. Stevens’ entire career. He is clearly out of touch, out of sync, and, as demonstrated by his dissenting opinion in Heller, now barely coherent.”

In the historic 5-4 Heller ruling, the high court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the District of Columbia’s gun ban is unconstitutional, violating the individual right to bear arms. Said Justice Scalia in writing the majority opinion, “Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

“This is a major victory for the citizens of the District of Columbia, and the rest of the nation,” said Wilson. “For far too long, citizens in certain parts of this country have been denied their constitutional rights. We commend the Supreme Court on this decision, and we trust it will mark the beginning of the end for misguided jurisprudence that views the Constitution as, in Jefferson’s words, ‘wax in the hands of the Judiciary’.”

In writing the majority decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that, “[W]e find that [the textual elements of the Second Amendment] guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

Both parties in this case had argued on the basis of the meaning of the Second Amendment itself. D.C. had argued that the right to keep and bear arms only applied to State militias. But the Court ruled against that logic: “The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting.”

Wilson agreed, “D.C.’s argument – and Mr. Stevens’ defense of it — never even measure up to the basic rules of grammar, let alone the basic rule of law. The operative clause the Second Amendment has always been the right of the people to keep and bear arms. What is stunning to me is that the decision was so close.”

Wilson was guarded against overly praising the Court, “The Supreme Court has definitely been up and down with important decisions these past few years, with horrible rulings in both Kelo and the McCain-Feingold challenge, but this one they certainly nailed. In addition to commending the 5 justices ruled in favor of Mr. Heller, we would also like to praise the brave citizens who challenged D.C.’s unconstitutional law for their courage and patriotism. George Mason and Patrick Henry would be proud.”

Wilson added, “Nonetheless, Americans for Limited Government is very pleased with this decision protecting citizens’ rights to own and carry guns, and importantly that the case was decided on a textual basis. For too long the Court has done everything except rule on the basis of what the Constitution clearly says. Justice Scalia’s opinion, therefore, is a breath of fresh air for all Americans who value the rule of law.”

Americans for Limited Government is a 501(c)(4) issues advocacy organization based in Fairfax, Virginia. Additional information on this case will be included in Friday’s edition of ALG News’ flagship publication The Daily Editorialist.

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