Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kicking off your Wednesday before Thanksgiving

First, the New York Times has a great article on District of Columbia v. Heller, the Second Amendment case that the Supreme Court agreed to hear yesterday. One of the finer and more interesting points that my Constitutional Law professors in law school would have loved: the question of whether the Second Amendment applies to the States. As you may or may not know, until after the Civil War, the Constitution (up to the Tenth Amendment) was considered to apply just to the Federal government, not State governments. The theory seemed to be that States should decide for themselves to what extent they wanted to provide rights, which is why you have some states, like Vermont, that to this day have very expansive rights language in their State constitutions. The Fourteenth Amendment changed that, mostly as a means to stop Southern State governments from depriving newly freed slaves of basic civil rights.

However, the Second Amendment has rarely seen much action in a court room. So, there have not been many opinions interpreting whatever right it actually secures. As the NYT article suggests, Heller may be the opening salvo in a new string of cases interpreting the Second Amendment. How this debate is framed and eventually decided will be very interesting for those who are interested in the gun debate and constitutional law.

On a less serious (or more, depending on your take) note, scientists have discovered the fossil of an ancient, giant sea scorpion. This sucker was 8 FREAKIN' FEET LONG. That's 50's B-movie size. Giant sea scorpions. That's enough to make me hope the S.C. protects individual gun rights.

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