In case any reader of our weekly Grassroots Alert has not decided how to vote in the 2012 presidential election, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and First Lady Michelle Obama have volunteered to help him make up his mind.
Recently, Time magazine asked Stevens what he would fix about the American judicial system. Stevens’ response: “I would make all my dissents into majority opinions.” Fair enough, since he’s entitled to think he is right, even when a majority of his former colleagues and a larger majority of the American citizenry disagree.
But then Time asked Stevens to single out one issue in particular, and he said, “I would change the interpretation of the Second Amendment.” Referring to the Court’s decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases that the Second Amendment protects individuals from federal, state and local infringements on their right to possess and carry arms, he added “The court got that quite wrong.”
In his dissent in Heller, Stevens claimed that “there is no indication that the Framers of the [Second] Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” And in his dissent in McDonald, he claimed that even if one assumed the Fourteenth Amendment protects a general right to self-defense, that didn’t mean that a person has a right to have a handgun. As if to suggest some logic to his theory, Stevens said “while some might favor handguns, it is not clear that they are a superior weapon for lawful self-defense.”