One of the big complaints of the left is that SCOTUS is not reinterpreting the Constitution to suit the modern desires of the American public. Politico writes an extensive article, complaining that originalism is a new invention of the court:
Should a 21st century society really interpret its Constitution by the standards of 1787 — an era before the introduction of semi-automatic weaponry, steam power, penicillin, automobiles, trains, electric lights and indoor plumbing?
Using Politico’s logic, we could easily ignore the First Amendment by claiming that it doesn’t apply to electronic communication. Nothing could be further from the truth. Allowing the courts to simply redefine the meaning of the Constitution to suit whatever their beliefs are at the time makes those nine robed justices into a ruling committee with a lifetime appointment, a sort of American Politburo. Such a setup is pure nonsense.
The founders of this nation recognized that situations would arise with the nation that would require that the Constitution be rewritten, then there is a process for that: write an Amendment.
The amendment process is difficult, and purposely so. The first step is to propose an amendment. That requires a two thirds vote of both houses of Congress. (Or the legislatures of two thirds of the states) That means 290 representatives and 67 senators must vote to propose the amendment. Once that amendment is proposed, it goes to the states for ratification. Three fourths of the states’ Legislatures must then approve the Amendment. That requires 38 states’ legislatures’ approval.
If you can’t get that level of approval, then obviously you don’t have a mandate. If you can’t get a mandate, what makes you think that you can start and win a civil war?
Nevertheless, Politico goes on to try and discern the founders’ intent in writing the Second Amendment and offers this as proof:
James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, twice introduced state legislation in Virginia that would impose penalties on any individual who “bear[s] a gun out of his inclosed ground, unless whilst performing military duty.”
What they fail to mention is that the proposed law that Politico claims Madison attempted to introduce was not a gun control law. It was a hunting regulation, and the prohibition on the carrying of arms was a penalty for hunting deer out of season and not a general prohibition for the bearing of arms. Let me quote it for you:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that it shall not be lawful for any person to kill, hunt, or course any wild deer whatever, not being more than twelve months old, or in any year called bissextile or leap year; or to kill, hunt or course in any other year, a wild buck, after the first day of December, and before the first day of August, or a wild doe, between the first day of January, and the first day of October following, unless such deer, at the time, be found within the inclosed land of such person, or be wanted for food, on the westside of the Alleghany ridge of mountains. Whosoever shall offend against this act, shall forfeit and pay, for every deer by him unlawfully killed, twenty shillings, one half thereof to the use of the commonwealth, and the other half to the informer; and moreover, shall be bound to their good behaviour; and, if, within twelve months after the date of the recognizance he shall bear a gun out of his inclosed ground, unless whilst performing military duty, it shall be deemed a breach of the recognizance, and be good cause to bind him a new, and every such bearing of a gun shall be a breach of the new recognizance and cause to bind him again.A Bill for Preservation of Deer, 18 June 1779, James Madison (emphasis added)
So what Madison was promoting was actually a form of what we today would call probation. Instead of Politico’s point, I would argue that this actually makes the opposite point. The person who was caught poaching deer would be penalized by not being permitted to carry weapons outside of his own property for a period of one year, unless for military duty. This indicates to me that the remainder of the time, a person is free to carry arms off of their own property when not in military service.
If one wanted to dive deeper into Madison’s feelings on democracy, you would only need to read his essay, “Vices of the Political System,” detailing the flaws of the Articles of Confederation. Madison’s wrote that one of the largest problems with the Articles was that tyrannical majorities in the states passed unjust laws violating the rights of numerical minorities. Especially vexing was the oppression of religious dissenters in Virginia, which caused Madison to become the leading advocate for the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
As a result, Madison drafted the Virginia Plan. The Virginia Plan was a framework that was a population weighted state representation plan that became the basis for our entire system of government. (Of course, we destroyed that when we passed the 17th Amendment.) The reason why this is important is to illustrate that Virginia would NEVER have joined the Union if the Bill of Rights hadn’t been passed. Madison felt that the Second Amendment was central to prevention of the tyranny of the majority.
The article by Politico is an out and out lie about, well, everything. There is no point arguing with someone who is lying about the facts. This is an indication that they are not arguing in good faith and are taking their position with the intent of ruling over you.