Jack Rakove on Justice Scalia’s “embarrassment of the first order” in D.C. v. Heller

July 6th, 2011


You’ve said that historians should call the bluff of people who twist the history of the Constitution for instrumental purposes. Please call someone’s bluff.

I submitted a brief in the District of Columbia vs Heller case, from three years ago. That was the case in which the Court struck down a 32-year-old handgun ban as incompatible with the Second Amendment. I think there are intellectual embarrassments of the first order in Justice Scalia’s opinion. He wholly ignores the history of how the Second Amendment got adopted. He makes things up that did not happen the way he hypothesises. But I’m a historian and he’s a justice. I’m a private citizen and he’s a public official. I think I have better footnotes, but he has a vote on the Supreme Court.

More accurately, he has five vote.

H/T Todd Zwyicki