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October 29, 2005

Judge Kozinski

My absolute favorite judge from what I know of his decisions is Alex Kozinski, of the 9th Circuit Court. (Yes, though I am a non-lawyer, I sometimes read circuit court decisions. I have no life.) I suggested Kozinski back in June. Now Glenn Reynolds has been mentioning Judge Kozinski repeatedly over the last few days, and today has some great bits from Judge Kozinski's dissent in Silveira v. Lockyer. But there are two other great quotes from that decision that I'd like to pass on, including possibly the most brilliant words ever written on the Second Amendment. But, first, a reminder of the role of inferior courts in our system:

As an inferior court, we may not tell the Supreme Court it was out to lunch when it last visited a constitutional provision.

And now, the Second Amendment rationale:
The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed—where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

There's a lot more in the decision worth reading. For that matter, the other dissent in the case, written by Judge Kleinfeld, also has some notable points, including this one:
The panel's protection of what it calls the "people's right to bear arms" protects that "right" in the same fictional sense as the "people's" rights are protected in a "people's democratic republic."

Posted by jeff at October 29, 2005 9:57 AM

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As speculation has increased on the blogs about whether Judge Kozinski would be a good nominee for the Supreme Court (the consensus seems to be yes), I have come across some wonderful discussions, of which this has been my favorite. Besides abstracting... [Read More]

Tracked on October 30, 2005 8:17 PM