The Bush administration's position in the case before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the District of Columbia's ban on handguns has created an unexpected and serious backlash in conservative circles, disappointing gun enthusiasts and creating implications for the presidential campaign.
The government's brief, filed by U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement just hours before the court's deadline Jan. 11, endorses the view that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to gun ownership, a finding long sought by gun rights activists.
But it also said an appeals court used the wrong standard when it struck down the District's ban on private handgun ownership, and it urged the Supreme Court to return the case to the lower court for review.
If the justices accept that advice when they hear the case in the spring, it could mean additional years of litigation over the controversial Second Amendment and could undo a ruling that was a seminal victory for gun rights enthusiasts.
Some were livid. One conservative Web site said the administration had "blundered in catastrophic fashion," and another turned Clement, usually a pinup for conservative legal scholars, into a digital dartboard. Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the Republicans' chief deputy whip, called the brief "just outrageous," and Republican presidential candidate and former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) accused the Justice Department of "overlawyering" the issue.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
THE SELL-OUT...MSM Finally Notices
From this morning's WASHINGTON POST: