The ACLU has long refused to acknowledge an individual right to bear arms, insisting on a narrow, collective-militia-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment. That's unprincipled. It's not unprincipled because the collective rights interpretation is self-evidently stupid or dishonest; that interpretation is a perfectly arguable, though wrong. The ACLU's position is unprincipled because it bills itself as a defender of individual rights and has consistently taken the most pro-individual-right position possible in interpreting the rest of the Bill of Rights. Their flat declaration that "in our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue" is entirely inconsistent and unconvincing.
It's fairly clear that this is an example of political expedience and bias (as pro-gun advocacy is traditionally aligned with political forces that take more narrow views of other rights) and cultural squeamishness or snobbery. That's disappointing. But nobody's perfect, I suppose.
Anyway, the ACLU is now somewhat snippy about the United States Supreme Court recognizing a personal right in Heller that they had refused to recognize or defend. Perhaps the ACLU can't remember a time when SCOTUS has recognized an individual right that they have not. Maybe they should ask themselves why that is. Maybe if a few of their local branches jump ship they will finally be moved to do so.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Gawker, Money, Speech, And Justice - August 18th, 2016
- Lawsplainer: No, Donald Trump's "Second Amendment" Comment Isn't Criminal - August 9th, 2016
- Why Openness About Mental Illness is Worth The Effort And Discomfort - August 9th, 2016
- A Rare Federal Indictment For Online Threats Against Game Industry - July 28th, 2016
- John Hinckley, Jr. and the Rule of Law - July 27th, 2016