Archive for January 14th, 2008

DOJ annoys EVERYONE in gun control case

January 14, 2008

The Department of Justice’s amicus brief in DC v. Heller, as I understand it (and IANAL), maintains that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, while also maintaining that said right is not absolute; and recommends the case be remanded to the lower court.  That is, the DOJ likes the “conservative” individual-rights interpretation of the second amendment, but doesn’t like absolute limits on the government’s authority.  I think that the DOJ, or at least Paul Clement, objects not to the result (overturning DC’s gun ban) but to the reasoning, and thinks the gun ban would fail under the lower level of scrutiny they recommend (see here). But I really don’t know, and that is not the point of the brief, which as I read it is more concerned with what precedents the case will set.

It pleases me that this rather reasonable position (I’m not saying whether I agree with it, just that it’s reasonable, much as it surprises me to say that any part of the current administration can be reasonable) has so angered the pro-gun people. (But note the NRA’s response is more measured.)

I’m now curious about i) what the liberals will say (if anything; this may be too moderate to inspire any entertaining liberal outrage), and ii) what effect this will have on Republican presidential politics.  Will all the candidates have to condemn this brief, with their fingers crossed behind their backs?