10.01.2008 0

Judging the Constitution

  • On: 10/06/2008 10:23:33
  • In: 2nd Amendment
  • If the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Crawford v. Marion County Election Board voter-ID case is any indication, the Court could be going a long way towards repairing the damage done by decades of judicial activism. It could also portend well for other rulings this year – including the Heller v. D.C. gun ban case.

    In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the law requiring government voter ID was based on legitimate state interests related to preventing voter fraud, improving and modernizing election procedures, verifying voter eligibility, and protecting public confidence in elections. All perfectly constitutional pursuits, the Court intoned.

    In his concurring opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia judged that the law’s universally applicable requirement – that everyone who wants to vote show ID – was no more so burdensome than usual voting burdens (like registering for example). And therefore it met the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection muster.

    His opinion also included a cogent defense of States’ Rights as enumerated in Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution which states, “The times, places and manner of holding elections … shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof”:

    “It is for state legislatures to weigh the costs and benefits of possi¬ble changes to their election codes, and their judgment must prevail unless it imposes a severe and unjustified overall burden upon the right to vote, or is intended to disadvantage a particular class.”

    Legally, the decision clearly demonstrates that the Court has embraced a strict interpretation of original intent in upholding States Rights and also in applying the limits of an equal protection claim. And that brings us to Heller v. D.C.

    It stands to reason that if six of the nine Roberts Court justices clearly understood the strict constraints of the Fourteenth Amendment in the case of Crawford, they will likely be equally solicitous of the original intent of the Second Amendment in Heller. As Heller’s co-counsel, Robert Levy, noted last year:

    “[G]un laws are not just about public policy. They’re about the meaning of the Constitution. Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court, at long last, will answer this vital question: Does the right to keep and bear arms belong to us as individuals, or does the Constitution merely recognize the collective right of states to arm the members of their militias?”

    In short, if Crawford is any indication, when it comes to judging the Constitution, the Roberts Court is clearly on the right track.

    ALG Prediction: As in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, which upheld a clear stipulation of States’ Rights in the Constitution, Heller v. D.C. will come out on the side of the Constitution. The Court will once again follow a strict adherence to the law, and protecting the right of individuals clearly expressed in the Constitution’s protection of the right to bear arms.

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