This is the Clarence Thomas conservatives count on.
In almost three decades on the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court’s second most senior member has proven to be the kind of Second Amendment supporter Americans need at the center of judicial power.
This week, he proved it again.
In a Twitter post published Thursday, Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting survivor-turned-gun-rights activist Kyle Kashuv presented a picture of himself meeting with the venerable Thomas, and described a promise Second Amendment advocates need to hear.
“An honor discussing #2A and the Constitution with Justice Clarence Thomas,” Kashuv tweeted. “He told me about some of the cases he dissented on and how #2A won’t be touched.” (Emphasis added.)
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) April 5, 2018
For a teenager like Kashuv, getting the assurance of a legal giant like Thomas that the Second Amendment is in safe hands had to be pretty weighty stuff.
Besides his impeccable record of conservative opinions on the court, some in the majority, some in dissent, Thomas has been an outspoken supporter of the right of individual Americans to bear arms.
Thomas supported the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the landmark Heller decision that overturned a Washington, D.C., ban on handguns and guaranteed the right of gun possession (with some limitations).
He also is one of the few officials in public life who speak of the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” as a right on the same footing as others guaranteed in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. (One of the rare times he’s broken his silence on the bench was to question an Obama Justice Department lawyer about that in a 2016 case. It sent ripples through the legal world.)
Considering the anti-gun hysteria that’s swept the country since the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Thomas’ words carry extra weight.
And considering that it was only last week that former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens published an op-ed in The New York Times calling for a full repeal of the Second Amendment, Thomas’ assurance is particularly welcome. (The chance of a Second Amendment repeal is just about zero, but it’s worth nothing that Stevens wrote the liberal dissent in the Heller case, according to The Washington Times.)
Kashuv, of course, was a receptive audience. The teenager has emerged as an effective counterweight to the unhinged, anti-gun invective being spewed by other Stoneman Douglas students like David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez, who have been feted by the liberal media. (Even if they’re not particularly willing to debate him in public.)
And even though he was shut out of the so-called “March for Our Lives” anti-gun demonstration in Washington on March 25, he still was on national television that weekend, making the solid point that it was government’s failure to enforce existing laws — not a lack of laws — that has made so many mass shootings possible.
As a conservative, Thomas knows full well the dangers of relying too much on government.
As a constitutionalist, Thomas knows that when the Founders decided Americans had a God-given, government-guaranteed right to self-protection through keeping and bearing arms, they put it on a par with the freedom of speech, religion and other American liberties.
And when he told a teenager from Florida that the Second Amendment isn’t going to be violated on his watch, he proved he was the Clarence Thomas conservatives can count on.
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