Internal and external aspects of Heller

A Democrat sees positive signs in Heller:

Justice Scalia’s opinion, if one cuts through some of the bluster, is really quite moderate—he goes out of his way to support the legitimacy of much current federal regulation—and could easily be endorsed by Sen. Obama without political cost, save for those who wish him to continue down the politically fatal path of endorsing extremely restrictive gun control….

If one had any reason to believe that either Scalia or Stevens was a competent historian, then perhaps it would be worth reading the pages they write. But they are not. Both opinions exhibit the worst kind of “law-office history,” in which each side engages in shamelessly (and shamefully) selective readings of the historical record in order to support what one strongly suspects are pre-determined positions.

The latter paragraph is directly related to what we were discussing yesterday. Lawyers and those in the legal industry are obsessed with the “internal” aspects. They’re constantly quibbling over irrelevant minutiae when it is usually the “external” factors that drive the actual judicial process and create the inconsistencies that are subsequently interpreted and spun into the minutiae of tomorrow. Meanwhile, the former paragraph should give pause to those conservatives inclined to celebrate the decision. As one commenter mentioned, this is a decision that says: “You have the right to own a gun today. But we have laid the groundwork for taking away that right tomorrow.”