Monday, January 4, 2010

These Judges Should Be Ashamed Of Themselves

These Judges Should Be Ashamed Of Themselves

I've been reviewing state supreme court decisions on what standard of review they apply to the right to keep and bear arms, and many of these decisions just show what dishonest hypocrites sit on many of these benches. They find that the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the state constitution is a fundamental human right--but then refuse to apply the standard of review that they use for freedom of speech, or of the press, such as State v. Cole (Wisc. 2003).

Or cases such as Robertson v. City and County of Denver (Colo. 1994), where they refuse to answer the question of whether the right is fundamental, and then say that it doesn't matter, because there only has to be a "reasonableness" standard applied. In practice, "reasonableness" merely means that public officials swear up and down that they believe that it will make their city safer. They don't have to actually provide any evidence to support their claim.

If you don't see the absurdity of this, consider if Wisconsin or Denver had banned adult entertainment (like strip joints), based on the claim of public officials (without any particularly persuasive evidence) that such businesses caused an increase in rape rates, and that banning such bookstores would make the city a bit safer. Would either the Colorado or Wisconsin Supreme Courts have held that freedom of expression could be regulated based on whether such a law met a "reasonableness" standard?

I'm not arguing that such businesses cause an increase in rape rates, and therefore should be banned for that reason. (Nor do I find it implausible if there is such a causal connection.) But I do argue that if genuine belief by public officials is all that is required to justify a gun ban, then there are gobs of other limitations of constitutionally protected rights that would not survive that standard of review--and where there is an equally valid basis to suspect some connection (even if slight) between liberty and crime.

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