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The DC Gun Case seems to be causing a rift between 1600 Penn Ave. and the VP
Heard this on the radio yesterday, Cheney is siding with the senate on this Supreme Court case and Bush is on the side of Gun Control.. where is Charlton Heston when you need him.. intertesting case none the less all kinds of stuff in these arguments, i.e. does DC have state rights, can a locality impose gun control etc.. this will be an interesting and far reaching decision.
Of course at the crux of the matter is the 2nd amendment and its interpretation:
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.”
WASHINGTON — Vice President Cheney took the unusual step Friday of joining with lawmakers in signing a Supreme Court brief that goes further in support of gun rights than the one submitted by the Bush administration.
The filings were made in a case that challenges the District of Columbia's ban on handguns. It was scheduled to be argued on March 18.
Both briefs argue that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns. However, the administration contends that too categorical a ruling could threaten other federal gun restrictions and wants the justices to send the case back to lower courts without deciding whether the handgun ban should fall.
Cheney joined more than 300 senators and representatives, led by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who want the court to rule that Washington's ban is unconstitutional.
"The vice president believes strongly in Second Amendment rights," Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said.
Seventeen Democratic lawmakers and District of Columbia Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton urged the court to uphold the ban.
Lawyers with long experience at the court could not recall another case in which a vice president took a position different from that of his own administration.
But nothing is quite that straightforward when it comes to the case to be argued Tuesday on the constitutionality of the District of Columbia’s strict gun-control law. Judging by the sniping from within the Bush administration at its own solicitor general, Paul D. Clement, for a brief he filed in the case, a long-awaited declaration by the Supreme Court that the Second Amendment protects an individual right would not be nearly enough.
The local law, which dates to 1976, is generally regarded as the strictest gun-control statute in the country. It not only bars the private possession of handguns, but also requires rifles and shotguns to be kept in a disassembled state or under a trigger lock. Mr. Clement’s brief embraces the individual-rights position, which has been administration policy since 2001 when John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, first declared it in a public letter to the National Rifle Association. But the brief does not take the next step and ask the justices to declare, as the federal appeals court here did a year ago, that the District of Columbia law is unconstitutional.
Not that the solicitor general’s brief finds the law to be constitutional, or even desirable. Far from it: the brief offers a road map for finding the law unconstitutional, but by a different route from the one the appeals court took. The distinction may seem almost picayune, but it is a measure of the passions engendered by anything to do with guns that Mr. Clement’s approach is evidently being seen in some administration circles as close to a betrayal.
The brief argues that in striking down the District of Columbia’s law, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit took too “categorical” an approach, one that threatens the constitutionality of federal gun laws, like the current ban on machine guns. Mr. Clement asks the justices to vacate the decision and send the case back to the appeals court for a more nuanced appraisal of the issue.
This was a fairly standard performance for a solicitor general, who has a statutory obligation to defend acts of Congress. It is routine for any solicitor general to try to steer the court away from deciding cases in a way that could harm federal interests in future cases.
“We like to say that dependability is more important than ability,” Bill Belichickism....
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