Res Ipsa Loquitur

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13 Responses

  1. MadRocketScientist says:

    It would be nice if persons who would deign to fashion laws about a thing (like guns), actually spend a little time learning about said things.

  2. Patrick says:

    Justice Breyer made up his mind at a cocktail party in New York in the late 1970s, during a debate with Norman Mailer about whether the film "The Warriors" should be banned because it encouraged gang violence.

    Scratch that. He made it up the instant he was admitted to Hahvahd Law. But he did it in a fully reasoned and informed fashion, after careful examination of all of the facts and law.

  3. Ken says:

    This is reminiscent of the ignorance displayed regarding technology.

  4. Charles says:

    I'm as dubious about the claim that Breyer does not know what a semiautomatic weapon is as I was about the claim that Roberts (IIRC) didn't understand texting. I read the question – one of a long series of future hypotheticals – as something that may be ambiguous to a future judge or a future legislature.

    Perhaps I am giving him too much credit because I expect that this dissent was circulated and seen by a number of Justices and clerks before publication, not all of whom are gun-ignorant, and if there was reason to change it to keep him from looking the fool he'd have taken it. Perhaps it is because I "knew" what semiautomatic meant but also probably would have waited for a colleague to ring in if the question came up in College Bowl. Either way, I think it is probably wanting to heckle him that gives his series of questions the most ungenerous possible reading.

  5. Kevin says:

    Well, Patrick, death rays are readily available, and CHEAP!

    http://www.wickedlasers.com/lasers/Spyder_III_Pro_Arctic_Series-96-37.html

    So maybe that court challenge will come up sooner than you think.

  6. Andrew says:

    Do Supreme Court opinions usually include long lists of rhetorical questions? It's almost always a lousy way to make a point.

    In any case, the proper definition of weaponry is an issue of critical importance as our planet creeps toward the apocalypse. I've been dumping skill points into Energy Weapons, but what happens if the court re-classifies my L30 Gatling Laser as a Big Gun? Does Justice Breyer expect me to take on the super-mutants of the wasteland with a mere Plasma Pistol?

  7. Patrick says:

    But Charles. even under your charitable reading, as opposed to my scornful reading, he still looks the fool.

    What are we to take from this?

  8. matt says:

    wow i havent seen a fallout reference in forever lol

  9. LawMonkey says:

    Note that there's no ban on civilian ownership of fully automatic weapons. You've gotta buy your $200 tax stamp, and, as I recall, you get a pretty thorough background check. But so long as you do that, you can own as many as you like.

    What there is a ban on, and I'm sort of vague on the specifics, is the importation or production of any new machine guns for civilian purchase. Which makes the existing ones really, really expensive.

    FWIW, can't much figure that either's in any danger of constitutional challenge, and it doesn't really change the fact that this is not perhaps Breyer's finest hour. Just picking nits.

  10. Al says:

    From what I hear he was just trying to troll the gun forums back into the old "Does a revolver count as semi-auto?" debates.

  11. Jdog says:

    Well, I'd tell him that he's an idiot; the difference is pretty basic.

    The most interesting aspect of this is Sotomayor; I guess her statement that she believed that the 2A recognized an individual right is, err, "inoperative."

  1. June 30, 2010

    [...] of Popehat, I think this is a great post by Patrick, but I'm a very bad person; whenever I read the phrase "Res Ipsa Loquitur", all I [...]