By Daniel Politi, para Toda’s Papers
Este viernes, el análisis de Slate destaca que para la mayoría de los periódicos en EU la nota principal fue la decisión de la Suprema Corte de dictaminar por primera vez en la historia sobre la Segunda Enmienda, que protege el decho de cada persona a tener un arma. El análisis registra y evalúa la respuesta de Obama y McCain ante este asunto.
All the papers lead with the Supreme Court’s ruling for the first time in history that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a gun. The justices—split along traditional ideological grounds and by a 5-4 vote—struck down the District of Columbia ban on handguns, the strictest gun-control law in the country. The Washington Post naturally devotes most of its front-page real estate to the ruling, noting that it “wiped away years of lower court decisions that had held that the intent of the amendment … was to tie the right of gun possession to militia service.” The New York Times says Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion was “his most important in his 22 years on the court.” The Wall Street Journal points out that “[f]or the third time this month, a major constitutional issue was decided by a single vote—that of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the maverick conservative” who had sided with the court’s liberal wing in the Guantanamo and child-rapist cases but yesterday lined up with the conservatives.
In his majority opinion, Scalia took pains to emphasize that the “decision, while historic, was narrow and its practical effects limited,” says the Los Angeles Times. The individual right to gun ownership is not unlimited, and Scalia said the court would uphold restrictions on concealed, as well as “dangerous and unusual,” weapons and laws that prohibit firearms from government buildings and schools. “Beyond that, the court did not address what types of regulations would survive legal challenges,” notes USA Today‘s lead that says the decision “immediately cast doubt on gun restrictions nationwide.” The LAT points out that yesterday’s decision “brought immediate court challenges to similar laws in Chicago and San Francisco.”
Advocates for gun rights praised the ruling and said the decision provides them with a clear opening to issue a variety of legal challenges to existing restrictions on the ownership of firearms. But gun-control advocates also said they were at least heartened by the fact that the court didn’t dismiss all restrictions on firearms as unconstitutional. In a scathing dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens warned that yesterday’s decision would likely lead to a new era of judicial involvement in an issue that is best left to elected lawmakers. In reality, though, the ruling “will have little practical impact in most of the country,” says the NYT in a Page One analysis. It is likely to be felt mostly in a few urban areas that have the most restrictive gun-control laws.
In their opinions, Scalia and Stevens “went head to head in debating how the 27 words in the Second Amendment should be interpreted,” notes the NYT. Stevens emphasized that the right to own a weapon exists only “in conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia,” while Scalia said that the militia part of the amendment isn’t meant as a limit on the pre-existing right to bear arms. The two also sharply disagreed on the 1939 decision that was the last time the issue was analyzed by the court and has been widely interpreted as a rejection of the individual-rights argument for possessing firearms.
The presidential candidates both quickly praised the decision, although Sen. John McCain was a bit more effusive than Sen. Barack Obama. McCain called it “a landmark victory” that brings to an end “the specious argument” that there’s no individual right to gun ownership. For his part, Obama said the decision protects the rights of gun owners but also emphasized that this protection “is not absolute.”
The WP and LAT both publish opinion pieces that argue yesterday’s decision involved the court’s conservative wing displaying its most activist instincts. In the LAT, Erwin Chemerinsky writes that the ambiguity of the Second Amendment should have led the justices to follow precedent and allow lawmakers to decide the issue. Instead, the majority took matters into their own hands in “a powerful reminder that the conservative justices are activists when it serves their political agenda,” writes Chemerinsky. In the Post, E.J. Dionne Jr. agrees and says the conservative justices once again demonstrated “their willingness to abandon precedent in order to do whatever is necessary to further the agenda of the contemporary political right.” The decision serves as a good reminder “that judicial activism is now a habit of the right.”