New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak has thrown
new light on the long-simmering battle over the Second Amendment's true meaning
and import in a fascinating October 21 front-page piece. Liptak, who deftly
took over the Times' Supreme Court coverage from the recently-retired and much
respected Linda Greenhouse, points out that the text is anything but crystal
clear: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free
state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Just when you think you’ve heard the last politically correct, holier-than-thou pronouncement coming out of our university campuses for a while, you open the morning’s newspaper and find more inanities. This morning’s two-minutes-outrage is a rant from campus professors, researchers and administrators criticizing Big Tobacco for giving – and universities for accepting – no-strings-attached grants for health-related research at Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of technology, and the University of Massachusetts.
“Ducking for cover,” roared the headline on page 3 of the May 1st Boston Herald. It would have been an appropriate headline for a story on the state of daily life in Baghdad, where a slew of recent bombings claimed the lives of more than 1,600 Iraqi civilians. Instead, the headline refers to the dozens of disgraced D.?xml:namespace>
By Wendy Kaminer
“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”1939 ruling
These are among the most disputed words in the U.S. Constitution. People who support gun control, or prohibition, generally argue that the Second Amendment conditions the right to bear arms on service in a state militia, merely establishing a “collective” right.
Harvey chides me for “glossing over” the “rights” of parents who sued the Lexington school district for exposing their elementary kids to sympathetic books about gay families. They lost their case in federal court, when Judge Wolf dismissed their federal constitutional claims and their claims under state law. As Harvey notes, the parents are free nonetheless to press their state law claims in state courts: these claims were dismissed without prejudice –- not because this is a hard case, as Harvey suggests -- but because state courts are the appropriate arbiters of novel state statutory claims.
Wendy Kaminer too readily glosses over the rights of the parents who lost their case against the Lexington school authorities in early March when United States District Judge Mark L. Wolf dismissed their complaint seeking to exempt their elementary school children from a curriculum promoting tolerance of homosexuality in general and same-sex marriage in particular.
Last month, the religious right lost a local skirmish in the culture war when federal district court Judge Mark Wolf ruled that Lexington school officials did not violate the Constitution by distributing two books about gay families in a Lexington elementary school. Wolf dismissed a case brought by 4 parents who regard homosexuality as sinful and argued that the effort to teach tolerance and respect for gay people and families interfered with their First Amendment rights to raise their children according to their own religious beliefs.