Friday, October 21, 2011

Uneven Stevens - Uneven Epstein

Richard Epstein, in an online article, Uneven Stevens, published by the Hoover Institutions' Defining Ideas Journal, praises retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens for some of his decisions, which he describes as "landmarks in the law." According to Epstein, one of his "ablest opinions is the dissent in the gun control case, District of Columbia v. Heller".

On the contrary, Stevens simply makes the historical facts fit his preexisting beliefs in Heller. As an example, the dissent quotes part of a George Mason speech in the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention, but the full Mason speech directly contradicts and undermines Stevens' entire dissent. Defining Ideas published my letter following Epstein's article in which I note this historical point and the fact that the law is in a sorry state indeed if the Heller dissent is "one of the landmarks in the law."

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