Thomas agreed with McDonald, concluding that owning a gun is a fundamental part of a package of hard-won rights guaranteed to black people under the 14th Amendment. And just because some hooligans in Chicago or D.C. misuse firearms is no reason to give it up.
"In my view, the record makes plain that the Framers of the Privileges or Immunities Clause and the ratifying-era public understood -- just as the Framers of the Second Amendment did -- that the right to keep and bear arms was essential to the preservation of liberty," Thomas wrote. "The record makes equally plain that they deemed this right necessary to include in the minimum baseline of federal rights that the Privileges or Immunities Clause established in the wake of the War over slavery."
Thomas made no mention of the black loss of life and liberty from handguns being wielded by other blacks. But he has made clear on other occasions that the problem is not that there are too many guns in the black community; the problem is too many criminals.
He dismissed the cogent gun-control arguments of his retiring colleague, John Paul Stevens, conjuring up the abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens instead: "When it was first proposed to free the slaves and arm the blacks, did not half the nation tremble?"
Let 'em quake, Thomas appears to be saying.
From Frederick Douglass, Thomas writes: " 'The black man has never had the right either to keep or bear arms,' and that, until he does, 'the work of the Abolitionists was not finished.' "
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
From today's Washington Post: