Judge Sonia Sotomayor on Guns

So much for Obama's claim that he supports the Second Amendment as an individual right. Those interested can see the decision that Sotomayor signed on to this past January on the Second Amendment case entitled Maloney v. Cuomo. One discussion caught my eye.

For example, New York’s Attorney General, Louis J. Lefkowitz, asserted that nunchakus “ha[ve] apparently been widely used by muggers and street gangs and ha[ve] been the cause of many serious injuries.” Mem. from Attorney Gen. Louis J. Lefkowitz to the Governor (Apr. 8, 1974). And the sponsor of the bill, Richard Ross, stated that “[w]ith a minimum amount of practice, [the nunchaku] may be effectively used as a garrote, bludgeon, thrusting or striking device. The [nunchaku] is designed primarily as a weapon and has no purpose other than to maim or, in some instances, kill.

The term "nunchaku" could be replaced with the term "gun" and one would get the normal debate associated with banning guns. Particularly the point that the weapon "has no purpose other than to maim or, in some instances, kill."

From the WSJ:

The gun owners' opposition stems from two rulings in which Judge Sotomayor took part while on the federal appellate bench. The January 2009 Maloney v. Cuomo decision involved a challenge from a New York resident arrested for possessing nunchakus, a martial arts weapon made of two thick sticks joined at the ends by a short length of chain or cord. The defendant said the state's ban on nunchakus violated his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

A three-judge panel including Judge Sotomayor rejected the claim in an unsigned opinion. The court cited earlier rulings, including an 1886 Supreme Court decision, in holding that "the Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose on this right," not to state legislative efforts.

Another unsigned 2004 decision, U.S. v. Sanchez-Villar, rejected a defendant's claim that a New York gun law "offends" the Second Amendment. Judge Sotomayor's panel cited a 1984 Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling "stating that the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right."

In a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case, the justices ruled 5-4 that individuals have the right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms. That opinion struck down a 1976 Washington, D.C., law that effectively banned handguns. But because the decision applied only to the capital district, a federal enclave that isn't part of a state, it left open the Second Amendment's application to state weapons regulations.

The rulings in Judge Sotomayor's cases show the administration's true thinking on gun rights, said Mr. Pratt of the Gun Owners organization. "I think the cat has now come screaming out of the bag," he said. . . .

The piece in the WSJ seemed reasonable until I got to this point here:

Administration officials have talked little of gun control since President Barack Obama took office, even when pressed on the matter following a slew of multiple murders around the nation. In fact, earlier this month Mr. Obama signed a bill that included an amendment relaxing decades-long restrictions on carrying firearms onto federal park lands.

Obama didn't want to sign this provision regarding parks, but he wanted the crazy credit card regulations. This reporter also possibly hasn't been following the discussion of guns in Mexico.

Fox News has this:

The chief concern is her position in the 2009 Maloney v. Cuomo case, in which the court examined a claim by a New York attorney that a New York law that prohibited possession of nunchucks violated his Second Amendment rights. The Appeals Court affirmed the lower court's decision that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states.

The ruling explained that it was "settled law" that the Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government might seek on individual gun rights.

Despite last year's landmark Supreme Court ruling in the District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, the Maloney ruling determined that case "does not invalidate this longstanding principle" that states are not covered by the Second Amendment. (Another appeals court since the Heller case reached the opposite conclusion.) . . . .

Sotomayor's 2009 decision on guns is here.

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Blogger John A said...

"In a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case, the justices ruled 5-4 that individuals have the right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms."

Yet again, all nine Justices affirmed that the Second Amendment describes an individual right rather than a collective or government one. The dissenters from the majority decision were concerned with other parts of the decision.

5/30/2009 4:57 PM  
Blogger Chas said...

The nunchaku is ignorantly portrayed as a mysteriously dangerous oriental weapon by anti-weapon people, but in Western culture it's called a flail. It's been used in agriculture to process grain from ancient times, and was used as a weapon for military purposes as well.
The French peasants processing grain with their flails in the illustration from 1270 would find themselves charged with weapons possession in modern day New York. No right to keep and bear arms (or even agricultural implements) for them!

5/31/2009 8:38 AM  
Blogger Chas said...

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Because Judge Sotomayor ruled that it had no right to be on the other side of the road because its right to be there had not been incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment. The chicken was reportedly a white male.

5/31/2009 8:45 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886)

It is the above case that was referenced by Sotomayor.

One should also look at United States v. Cruikshank.

Both these cases effectively gutted the incorporation clause of the 14th Amendment.

Both cases were politcally motivated, and not based upon the Law itself.

Hmmmmmm, BHO... A force for nope!

5/31/2009 11:27 AM  

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