13 October 2009
That "Wild Bill" Douglas quote again.
There is under our decisions no reason why stiff state laws governing the purchase and possession of pistols may not be enacted. There is no reason why pistols may not be barred from anyone with a police record. There is no reason why a State may not require a purchaser of a pistol to pass a psychiatric test. There is no reason why all pistols should not be barred to everyone except the police.
Critics say that proposals like this water down the Second Amendment. Our decisions belie that argument, for the Second Amendment, as noted, was designed to keep alive the militia.
Justice William O Douglas, Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972).
I have this thing for "Wild Bill" since he was instrumental in preserving the C&O Canal as a park, a opposed to a Parkway. He also had a nice house on Capitol Hill that I looked at when it was for sale. That's just personal and has no bearing on the validity of this quote.
Although, He is the longest-serving justice in the history of the Supreme Court with a term lasting 36 years and 209 day. In 1975, a Time article called Douglas "the most doctrinaire and committed civil libertarian ever to sit on the court."
If you are familiar with U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), you know that JUSTICE DOUGLAS took no part in the consideration or decision of this cause. This was the Justice Douglas in question. Justice Douglas was not part of the consideration since the case was heard on 30 Mar 1939 and Justice Douglas wasn't confirmed until 4 Apr 1939.
Now, given his reputation and experience, I think he would know whether the Second Amendment applied to a personal right, not common defence purposes.
No, this is not argumentum ad verecundiam, but I would think that a Supreme Court Justice who was a part of the Miller court would have some understanding about that decision. Don't you?
Additionally, my saying that I am a lawyer is not argumentum ad verecundiam, but a statement that I might have some idea of what I am talking about.