“We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government -- even the Third Branch of Government -- the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad... Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded. 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.”
by:
Justice Antonin Scalia
(1936-2016) American jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Source:
District of Columbia v. Heller, June 26, 2008, striking down D.C.'s gun ban as unconstitutional
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous      
Well phrased.I like this quote and I do believe it rains of Truth.
 -- Me Again     
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    The role of that Court is not only to, not pronounce the Second Amendment extinct but, to more importantly adjudicate that the inalienable right of each and every individual free sovereign, We The People, is to keep and bear Arms, AND, that subject inalienable right shall not be infringed. As per Ken's reference from yesterday (not Waffler's absurd interpretation) the militia is: TITLE 10 - ARMED FORCES Subtitle A - General Military Law PART I - ORGANIZATION AND GENERAL MILITARY POWERS CHAPTER 13 - THE MILITIA Sec. The absolute inalienable right of the individual sovereign to keep and bear arms allows for a voluntary association of like fellows, on a moments notice, to defend themselves. As per an example of mine yesterday, The police and national guard were satisfied to surround the violence and let what was to happen, happen. They tried to disarm certain segments of the community before the violence spread to them. Koreans in the LA riots defended themselves against the police, national guard, and rioters. Once the violence expanded, the Koreans defending themselves became an armed island of safety.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The vote on the 2nd ammendment,the D.C. handgun ban, was 5 to 4, which is very scary. It should have been 9 to 0 and we were lucky at that. Bush may have made a lot of mistakes, but his Supreme Court appointments were right on.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    I liked Scalia on this decision. He was wise to leave the 2d Amendment open to questions of being outmoded and ripe for possible debate. If it is being interpreted to mean that it includes the right to have Nukes then we need to debate it real fast and change it. Again remember all weapons and all members of the militia orgainized (National Guard) and unorgainzed (all the rest of us) report to the Commander In Chief. It would appear that the Commander In Chief could have some say on what weapons we have and how we may use them.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Fellow Americans, 100 years from now we will be thankful that such a man leading such a court was on duty. We may not have the best leadership on any given Wednesday, but the foundations of the Republic endure. This is a very big deal, and those that do not recognize it are either dullards or cowards. We have a thing called Freedom, and we best be willing and able to defend it. It comes not from our Government, but from God or Nature or whatever you believe. A great day for our Republic indeed.
     -- Eric, Wichita and Atlanta     
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     -- Pedro Borrero, Yauco, Puerto Rico      
    To Waffler: I am amazed at how incredibly you can distort a quote to your advantage! Not only do you not understand the full concept of freedom, you have no idea what the true cost of freedom is, or how to protect it--or are you just lazy and want your freedoms decided for you? The reference to the 2nd Amendment was it was perhaps debatable--meaning some people may think it is outmoded--regardless, it is not the role of the court to change it! He's saying that these are inalienable rights and are a part of the constitution to ensure our freedom. You need to reread the quote and focus on this part: "The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government -- even the Third Branch of Government -- the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges■ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all." Justic Scalia is a true patriot and a welcome breath of fresh air!
     -- Ron, NH     
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     -- T. Williams, Vidor, TX      
    Ron Scalia said "some think the Amendment is outmoded. That perhaps is debatable." Then he said and rightfully so that the Courts hands are tied. Even if the Supreme Court wanted to overturn the Amendment they could not. But the debatable part is what I am interested in. Ealier Scalia emphasised the idea of bearable arms. Some on this site things individuals should have a right to owning any and every weapon they choose, from tanks to nukes to I guess warships. Now are those bearable arms. If you think so and the law agrees then I think it is time for a Constitutional Amendment. I take your first remark as a compliment. I don't think I am distorting at all. I do think I understand the full meaning of freedom. For me it means to be able to think outside of the box, unlike many.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Gitmo... and other examples fly in the face of the basic claim here...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Looks like Ron, NH has got Waffler's number. Doublespeak is Waffler's greatest talent (if he were any good at it, he might be dangerous -- thankfully he's not). Everything is debatable, but until the Constitution is lawfully amended, what is in it stands. "The right shall not be infringed." Just what part of that do people not understand? The 1st Amendment has taken a beating, too, contrary to what Scalia is asserting. The state militias answer to the Governor first -- then to the President, and participation is voluntary (meaning that citizens have the final word). The National Guard is not the state militia -- it is a national military force. The militias were not to be commanded by Congress or the Executive when they are in fact the protectors against Executive aggrandizement and Congressional tyranny. They are to serve as a check against federal power HENCE the INDIVIDUAL RIGHT to bear arms. State militias would in fact have tanks, missiles, etc. some weapons kept in an armory and others distributed among the people themselves -- that is how it works, folks. Stop twisting a simple statement to mean that it means that individuals could own nukes. Hand guns are not nukes, neither are tanks or cannons. Nukes are not safe in any human's hands -- sooner or later they will go off. Unless the consciousness of the people rises above their petty ignorances, nukes simply sybolize the eventual destruction of the planet in the name of 'peace.' Yeah, there will be peace alright -- for a thousand years.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer you must have short term memory loss (Alzheimers). Some on this site I think you, Mike or Logan assert that the right to own weapons (any weapons) is prtected by the 2d Amend. Any weapon is any weapon. Scalia addressed this with his phrase "bearable arms". Are tanks bearable arms? You are wrong about what you think about Title 10 The General Military Law of the United States. All military reports ultimately to the Commander In Chief and thus to the people. There is no provisions for private armies or state armies and damn sure none have ever been appointed to take on Executive or Congressional forces. You smoking something exotic again. If you check your history of the mid-sixties you will recall that an Alabama Governor tried to take on the President militarily and lost. Thank God we are united and in harmony in this land of the free and home of the brave and that we have a seamless military.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Just more doublespeak from Waffler. Every terrible implement of the soldier is the right of every American. The state militias are independent of the federal government. If they are called up, and they answer the call, then they are under Executive command -- it is not the Army -- as you have said, the unorganized militia is everyone not already commissioned to a military force. And it flows from the individual right to possess military arms. Waffler constantly confuses individual choice with national duty. Since he doesn't trust people to make their own choices, he gives up his right for the collective passions of the day in the name of 'united and harmony.' We are not united, and our arguments are not in harmony -- and that is America, not a herd of dumb animals goose-stepping to the latest fad. A party man despises individualism. But why waste time on the self-deluded -- they have already sold themselves, they have spent a lifetime bowing to their idols -- to realize the folly now would mean having to accept a wasted life. Lick the hands of your master -- I will have no part of it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The most dangerous weapon is the human mind and the nature of humanity. We can ban nukes, guns, knives, pointy sticks, rocks, and some people will still maim and kill one another for fun and profit. Those of us who choose to be more civilized would like to defend ourselves against the inevitable evil that arises from time to time. Those who want to control human behavior by banning inanimate objects forget that scientia est potentia (knowledge is power). As long as the knowledge exists, so will the object. As long as a savage nature exists, so will savagery.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Hear, hear, Ken! Hear, hear!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states". I have no time to research it now but I believe that the National Guard law somehow changed this to say that they report to the President first and the Governor second. We don't want your kind Archer. A man who attacks authority in order to feel that he is an individual isn't the individual he thinks he is.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    I have called you a traitor in the past Archer and tonight you admitted it and agreed. You have shown your true colors. You praise the constituion and the founders when it suits your warped purposes. When the clear statement of the constitution is presented to you, that we have one Commander in Chief which of course is part of the overriding purpose of the constitution "to provide a more perfect union" you say "I will have none of it." Thanks for coming out for us and admitting to your traitorious heart. Many of us knew it all along.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Waffler, you are a Tory. You treat the Presidency as a Monarchy. I choose whom and what I will serve in battle, not you or the President. I am a free man, not a subject to be ordered about by the likes of you. Exaggerate all you want -- you do not act with reason or principle -- you worship power, bend your knee for special dispensations to become a favored house slave to avoid the whippings of those that dare to claim their lives and liberty their own. Waffler would not have been on the side of the Rebels that founded this country -- all of his arguments can be found in the speeches of the Loyalists to the British Crown. He even proves my point of his collectivist mindset -- I do not agree with him and he says "we don't want you" as if to rally the support of more against me, a single person simply standing on lawful principle. Waffler, you aren't "we" and it doesn't matter whether you want me -- my existence is not dependent upon you or whatever club, party, or mob you hide in. That is the point in a free republic -- and because of people like you, my right to defend myself, my rights of conscience, are necessary otherwise people like you would pool their collective might together to get rid of independent and self-reliant people like myself. Talk about a traitor to the principles upon which America was founded. Shame on you. I have no doubt that you are in fact alone.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  •  
    Anonymous proves that his stupidity has no bounds. Great quote that is obviously true to any that have a brain but very well stated.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    This justice has to be one of the best we ever had. Waffler, the Supreme Court is not supposed to interpret the constitution. It was only suppose to see to it that the courts conducted them selves properly. The congress was suppose to compare legislation to the constitution to see if it past the test. The court usurped its power and decided it was the final arbiter almost 200 years ago and the congress at the time saw no problem with this. Probably because it gave them less responsibility and more freedom to violate the constitution that they were sworn to uphold and protect.
     -- warren, olathe     
  •  
    Honourable Justice Scalia had upheld the dignity and true place of the constitution. It is a lesson to many judges that they must act and remain under the constitution.
     -- Mohammad Aslam Chaudhry, Toronto, Canada     
  •  
    Awesome
     -- Jim     
  •  
    He is absolutely correct. I respect and admire Justice Antonin Scalia greatly and appreciate his work. He is brilliant.
     -- Cecelia, Bryan, Texas     
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