Supreme Court Decision
“Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication.”
More people have opinions about United States Supreme Court decisions than trouble to read them. For at least two reasons, that’s a shame. First, those people tend not to know what they’re talking about. Second, they miss gems of rhetoric—rhetoric used here in its academic sense—fashioned by scholars talented not only the law but in the language. Case in point: United States v. Alvarez, in which, 5-4, the court found unconstitutional a law popularly known as the Stolen Valor Act.
In the words of New York Times reporter Adam Liptak, “So far, Heller is shooting blanks.”
Liptak was writing nine months after the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller, a gun-control decision that discovered in the Second Amendment an individual right to firearms that the country’s highest tribunal had not noticed before.
Fifth in a Series of Five
Read Fourth in the Series What the Court Said
In 1931, the Supreme Court concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause applied to the states the First Amendment’s ban on free press prohibitions, a stricture that had until then applied only to Congress.
Second in a Series of Five
Read First in the Series The Opening Shot
At the heart of the gun control dispute the Supreme Court settled in District of Columbia v. Heller was the meaning of twenty-seven words, three commas, and a period: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
First in a Series of Five
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns violates the Second Amendment is but the opening shot in a long, and likely to be inconclusive, war of litigation between gun control opponents and advocates.