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'Progressive' minds? What a waste

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Saturday, April 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

CNN legal analyst and New Yorker contributor Jeffrey Toobin recently put up his latest ignorant smear of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Noting that eight years have passed since Mr. Justice Thomas last asked a question during oral arguments, Mr. Toobin says his “behavior on the bench has gone from curious to bizarre to downright embarrassing, for himself and the institution he represents.”

Injecting the totally irrelevant dig that Thomas is “a great deal ... heavier today” than during his confirmation hearings 23 years ago, Toobin observes that “These days, Thomas only reclines; his leather chair pitched so that he can stare at the ceiling, which he does at length. He strokes his chin. His eyelids look heavy. Every school teacher knows this look. It's called ‘not paying attention.'”

No longer content to merely call conservatives “extremists” — Toobin makes sure he refers to Thomas as “the most extreme originalist on the court” — “progressives” of Jeffrey Toobin's persuasion now have taken to criticizing how conservatives position their bodies as they listen.

“Progressives” could do themselves a major favor by listening from time to time instead of bloviating. Then again, listening is an art and “progressives” never have been known for their intellectual artistry.

The only redeeming quality in Toobin's anti-Thomas diatribe is the photo of the associate justice that accompanies the piece. It was taken by the Trib's own Sydney Davis.

Listening doesn't appear to be a problem for retired “progressive” Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. But reading comprehension obviously is.

In a Washington Post commentary Sunday last Mr. Justice Stevens argues that modern court rulings have perverted the original meaning of the Second Amendment to bestow an individual right to keep and bear arms (versus keeping and bearing arms only for military purposes). Thus, he proposes the following amended amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

Never mind that when the Framers wrote the Second Amendment, the term “militia” informally meant those who arm themselves for their own defense.

Additionally, Stevens says the Second Amendment “did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states and local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.”

Using that illogic, state and local governments are free to ignore the Bill of Rights in toto. And Stevens totally ignores the majority of state constitutions that do indeed proscribe infringing upon the right to keep and bear arms.

“The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned,” states Article I, Section 21, of the Pennsylvania Constitution's Declaration of Rights. Alaska extends the prohibition to any “political subdivision of the State.” And on and on.

Reminded Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in his famous 1840 treatise on the Constitution: “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpations and arbitrary power of rulers.”

Continued Mr. Justice Story, “The friends of free government cannot be too watchful to overcome the dangerous tendency of the public mind to sacrifice, for the sake of mere private convenience, this powerful check upon the designs of ambitious men.”

The “progressive” mind and John Paul Stevens are no friends of free government.

Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com)

 

 
 


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