Justice Scalia shocks with gun regulation talk

During an appearance yesterday on “Fox News Sunday,” Justice Antonin Scalia, notably one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most conservative justices, discussed recent decisions concerning ObamaCare, the case involving Arizona’s SB1070 and gun control.

By far the biggest takeaway of the interview was when the Justice said that the Second Amendment leaves room for U.S. legislatures to regulate guns, including hand-held weapons.

“It will have to be decided in future cases,” Scalia, 76, told host Chris Wallace. He said there were legal precedents from the days of the Founding Fathers that banned “frightening weapons” which a constitutional originalist such as he must recognize. There were also “locational limitations” on where weapons could be carried, Scalia noted.

When asked if that kind of precedent would apply to assault weapons, or 100-round ammunition magazines like those used in the recent Colorado movie theater massacre, Scalia mused, saying “We’ll see. It will have to be decided.”

As an originalist scholar, Scalia looks to the text of the Constitution — which confirms the right to bear arms — but also the context of 18th-century history. “They had some limitations on the nature of arms that could be borne,” he told Wallace.

During the interview, Scalia held fast to his criticism of Chief Justice John Roberts and the majority opinion in the ruling that upheld ObamaCare. Scalia defended his dissent, made along with Justices Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy, that the health care mandate is unconstitutional.  He criticized the concept that the mandate is constitutional because of Congress’s taxing power, saying, “There was no way to regard this as a tax. It simply does not bear that meaning.”

In his dissent on Arizona’s SB1070 case, Scalia, the longest serving justice wrote, “To say, as the court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind.”

The entire transcript of the interview can be read here.

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6 Responses to Justice Scalia shocks with gun regulation talk

  1. Kent says:

    These words from a reliably conservative justice turn my stomach.

  2. Realist says:

    I would have to call this a trust factor. I trust Scalia will be conscientious and make the right call. As far as John Roberts…seems we were sold a bill of goods. Should Romney be elected and we regain the Senate, we need to ensure a true constitutional conservative will be the replacement for Ginsberg when she departs the scene. Unfortunately, Roberts clearly has/is a problem and a serious inquiry into whether Roberts is mentally competent to be the Chief Justice should be addressed…for the survival of the Republic.

    • Attila The Hunny says:

      Why do you think it is that Republican presidents are often duped in making U.S. Supreme Court appointments?
      We have been betrayed by George W. Bush’s appointee, John Roberts, who sided with liberals Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the monstrosity known as ObamaCare and voted with the libs against key provisions of Arizona’s SB1070.

      Reagan was taken in by Sandra O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, who both became swing-to-the-left votes. George H.W. Bush appointed the incredibly odd, and exceptionally liberal David Souter. Prior to them, Ford appointed liberal John Paul Stevens who shifted his opinion from right to left once on the court. Nixon appointed Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun who was initially responsible for Roe v. Wade. Eisenhower appointmented liberal Justices Earl Warren and William Brennan.

      Which Democrat presidents have been conned by their liberal appointees turning conservative? None I can find. We need a much better vetting process for this critically important role.

      • Ellsworth says:

        I suspect the liberals pay more attention to this crucial element than conservatives do because we tend to be oblivious to those factors which matter most. How else can it be explained that we would nominate losers like John McCain and before him, Bob Dole, as Republican presidential standard bearers? We were foretelling our own massive defeats with those two perpetually angry and over the hill nominees who thought the presidency was their “due.” It was pathetic and as clear as handwriting on the wall how those elections would turn out.

      • ZOO says:

        Sandra Rue-The-Day O’Conner and one of her sad blisters, part of a 3-judge panel on the 9th District, killed Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship-to-register-to-vote (Prop 200) in October 2010; too late for the November 2010 election, but a party in my pants for November 2012. Oddly, one of the three-judge panel sided with Arizona. “Rue” set the stage for the 9th District to repeat this absurdity in April of this year.

        “Rue” is not part of the 9th District, but just happened to be in the neighborhood to have her dentures relined and the battery on her Hoverround recharged.

  3. Hunter says:

    Republicans acquiesce to liberal appointments because “the president has a right to make appointments of qualified people.”

    Domocrats look at political philosophy and of appointees and don’t assume anyone who doesn’t share their views has any right to sit as a Federal judge regardless of who was elected president or what the appointee’s actual qualifications as a judge are. Democrats will use smear campaigns and viscious personal attacks to defeat nominations and discourage qualified people who will use the constitution to limit the government (as it was intended) from going subjecting themselves to a humiliating confirmation process.

    This means that liberal nominees get an easier time in the confirmation process and that nominees are vetted as carefully as possible for adherence to liberal philosophy. Anyone who looks too conservative gets villified by liberal senators and the liberal press. This limits the number of potentially reliable conservative judges and creates a level of intimidation that only a very strong willed person who believes in himself and his judgment even in the face of ridicule, scorn, and insults can resist. Scalia, Alito, and Thomas seem to be these types of judges. Roberts and the many others such as Souter, O’Connor, etc. are/were not.

    We need justices with self confidence that have proven they can and will take the heat from liberals when making judicially proper decisions.

    We probably also need Republican senators who will rake liberal appointees over the coals to make the process as painful as possible for liberals who won’t stand up for our constitution. That might limit the damage done by Democrat presidential appointments to the courts.