The Spitfire's Grill
Regular Rants from a Pragmatic Liberal
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Supreme Court Update
In a baffling roll-reversing decision by the US Supreme Court today, Scalia and Thomas voted with the Gun-Control lobby along with Kennedy while the rest of the Supreme Court voted WITH the gun lobby. The case, Small v U.S., presented the question of whether a conviction in another country (in this case Japan) prohibited one from buying a gun in the United States. Essentially, current law states that if you are convicted of a serious offense "in any court" you cannot purchase a gun within the United States. On the most literal level (which Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas, who wrote the opinion, side), Japan's court would indeed qualify as "any" court.

This is actually a very hazing complex issue. Imagine someone is charged with spreading capitalist ideas in North Korea. Under the assumption that person is able to leave North Korea alive, should that person then be barred from purchasing a firearm? Certainly not.

It seems odd that Scalia, who scolded Kennedy for looking to international law in a previous decision, would uphold such an international law under this standard.

I guess it all depends upon the scope of this case. If this is a far-reaching case affecting any type of serious crime committed abroad, then certainly the majority is correct, in my opinion. But if this is a very narrow-scoped case, then I'd side with Scalia and Thomas--not normal company for me.

You see it just so happens that the serious crime that was committed was gun smuggling. So I'd say that if a serious crime committed abroad was gun-related and, moreso, the country in question has a legal system that upholds the same values as ours (which Japan does), then the foreign conviction should matter.

Regardless, Scalia and Thomas--conservative icons--voted against the gun lobby. And that just delights me, especially after watching the NRA convention the other day where the new NRA Prez praised Scalia so much.

A lesson to conservatives, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

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