June 26th, 2008
02:50 PM ET
4 years ago

Blitzer: Court ruling highlights fragile balance

CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) – Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court has reached a 5-4 decision with Justice Anthony Kennedy as the decisive swing vote.

The latest case involves the right to own a handgun in the District of Columbia. In this case, Kennedy went with the conservatives, including Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas. The majority concluded that the D.C. law violated the Second Amendment to the Constitution – the right to bear arms.

But Kennedy sided with the liberals in two other major 5-4 decisions, including Wednesday’s ruling that the death penalty could not apply to child rape victims. Last week, he sided with his liberal colleagues, Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter, and John Paul Stevens in concluding that terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention center have certain legal rights to stand trial.

All of which once again underscores the fragile balance of the court and the fact that the next president probably will have an impressive opportunity to change that balance for the next 20 or 30 years.

As I have pointed out before, John McCain says he likes justices like Roberts and Alito. Barack Obama says he likes justices like Ginsburg and Breyer.

This will be a major issue in the election for lots of Democrats and Republicans. The ramifications on a whole host of issues, not just abortion rights for women, are enormous.


Filed under: Supreme Court • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. A. Matthews

    If we can allow mothers to kill babies, we can allow the the "right to bear arms." After all, we're certainly not letting "Thou Shall Not Kill" have any bearing. Man's Law vs. God's Law – looks like nothing much has changed since Cain and Abel.

    June 26, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  2. Naomi luther

    Over 21, register a gun and register for the draft. These people who want to have a gun probably will never have to shoot that gun. Lets spread the deployment burden around a bit and give our men and women who serve in the military and thier families a break.

    June 26, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. JG from MA-Obamabot and proud of it

    Before voting, listen to "where is the love" by the black eyed peas. Thats all I have to say

    June 26, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Texas Trail Dog

    THIS AND OBAMA AND HIS SUPPORTERS IS WHY I AM NOT ALIBERAL ANYMORE. CALL ME INDEPENDENT. HILLARY I AM ASHAMED OF YOU AND TO THINK I SUPPORTED YOU. YOU ARE SELLING US OUT. ALL 18,000,000 VOTERS THAT VOTED FOR YOU.

    June 26, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. Peter E

    I don't care about the court being 'balanced.' I care about them making sound judgements people respect.

    June 26, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. BobJohnson

    But Kennedy sided with the liberals in two other major 5-4 decisions, including Wednesday’s ruling that the death penalty could not apply to child rape victims."

    I sure hope so, the victims have been through enough!

    June 26, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. TerryDo

    Dear Obama Supporters

    If you vote for Obama you are voting for a person without any substantial experience, a person without believable policies, because all of his policies belonged to Hillary R. Clinton. And he still does not understand the whole implementation of these plans.

    Your man, Obama is a man without substance, integrity, a racist because he keeps using the race card, he is also a weak leader and a poor excuse for a candidate.

    This nomination was given to Obama by the DNC, the RBC, the media and the super delegated and this fact will go down in history, as the point of decline of the Democratic Party.

    So, stop telling us Clinton supporters to "GET OVER IT" because we never will, because the discrepancy effected all of us, her supporters and that we will never forget, never!

    So, what I suggest is you Obomabots "GET OVER THE FACT" that we are not going away!

    God Bless America!

    June 26, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. Dem in FL

    Oh please Wolf....you're smarter than this. Upholding the 2nd Amendment is MUCH different than Roe v. Wade. The people who really believe Roe will be overturned crack me up!!!! I can't believe they fall for it. (By the way........yes, I'm a female. I'm also an attorney so I'm not blind to the Courts. Roe will NOT be overturned.)

    Do you realize that in the 35 yrs that Roe has been in place, we have had a REPUBLICAN President for approximately 23 of those years. That means Republican appointed Justices.....and still........it hasn't been overturned!!!!

    People do not understand.......overturning Roe v. Wade is a political threat. They hang it over our heads EVERY election year, and Americans fall for it time after time. lol Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.....

    May I also point out that McCain voted to CONFIRM Justices Ginsberg and Breyer (our two most liberal justices). Additionally, don't doubt the Justices' intelligence. Whether they are liberal or conservative, the Justices are some of the most brilliant legal minds in the country. They will not overturn a case that will lead to PURE PANDEMONIUM!!! The last thing they want is anarchy. More lawsuits in already clogged dockets, back alley abortions being performed by individuals who aren't even doctors, women dying and being hospitialized, law breaking.....not to mention it will complicate an already screwy health care system in the U.S. GET REAL, BE SMART....its not going to be overturned folks!

    June 26, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  9. baghdad bob

    Yea who cares what the constitution says! How funny you see no problem with the court making up law thats not in the constitution but get upset that they affirm something that is in black and white. If you dont like the constitution change it with an amendment not by judges pulling it out of their asre.

    June 26, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. jimmy velman

    OBAMA WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE FACE OF THE SUPREME COURT SO THAT ROBERTS, ALITO AND THOMAS WILL ALWAYS BE IN THE MINORITY.
    AGREE WITH OBAMA'S STANCE ON THE DEATH PENALTY.
    THERE ARE INDEED INSTANCES WHERE THE RAPE CONVICTION OF A RAPIST SUCH AS THE CASE OF THE HUGE MAN RAPING HIS STEPDAUGHTER DESERVES THE DEATH PENALTY.
    JUST AN AISDE HERE WHERE IT BELONGS: THIS NADER GUY WHO SHOWS UP IN EVERY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION COULD GET MY 2 CENTS IF HE HAD A RECORD OF EVER BEEN ELECTED
    TO CONGRESS OR THE STATE LEGISLATURE. THIS IS DEFINITELY HIS LAST HURRAH . HE IS SO OUT OF TOUCH.

    June 26, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. chris in va

    To Clinton/McCain, Evidently you voted for the two biggest terrorists in history, Bush & Cheney. They have done bin Laden's work for him by single handedly destroying our country and our way of life. If they are not already on it they should be on Al Qaidea's payroll. They both should be permanent residents of Gitmo with the other terrorist criminals.

    June 26, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. Paige

    Three correct 5-4 rulings by the court. Three votes in the majority by Justice Kennedy. There's a pattern here.

    Justice Kennedy is by far the best of that bunch. He judges each case on its merits in the Constitution as explicitly stated and takes absolutely no cues from the partisans, which cannot be said about ANY of the other justices on the court. We need more people like him on the court. I'm pretty sure we're not going to get them from either McCain or Obama.

    June 26, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    That is why you have a three branches of govt. 9 year olds can tell you that. People on the hill have been sleeping. Attention is brought to the fore when it becomes an issue. So at least that should get them busy.

    June 26, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. em_lem

    Hey CNN, you might want to change your post so it reads "death penalty could not apply to child RAPISTS" instead of "death penalty could not apply to child rape VICTIMS." Just FYI.

    June 26, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. HAWK,TEXAS

    AS A SEVENTY YEAR OLD VETERAN, EX POLICE OFFICER, AND AN EX AVID HUNTER, I GREW U P OWNING A GUN. I WAS TAUGHT GUN SAFETY IN MY EARLY CHILDHOOD. TO YOU UNINFORMED PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT ARE AGAINST CITIZENS OWNING GUNS I HAVE ONE THING TO SAY. YOU ARE NUTS. I F A CRIMNAL BREAKS IN YOUR DOOR AND SHOOTS YOUHOW WOULD YOU DEFEND YOUR SELF. IF YOU SAY THE POLICE WILL HANDLE IT. BUT DOES A POLICE OFFFICER LIVE WITH YOU. IT PROBABLY IS A STOLEN GUN.HE USES ANY WAY. WE HAVE A CASTLE LAW HERE IN TEXAS. WE HAVE A RIGHT TO PROTECT OUR SELVES AND OUR HOME. I LIKE THE IDEA THAT IF HE BREAKS IN MY DOOR HE CAN EAT A 357 WAD CUTTER.

    June 26, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Floam

    Americans and Guns... Unbelievable..... How any country could put gun ownership in their constitution is mind-numbingly stupid. And how it could last 200 years, with the majority of the population supporting it is equally bewildering.

    Do the rest of the world a favor, and stop whining about the violence that surrounds you, buy all the guns you possibly can, and shoot each other, until all that's left is an intelligent population that can figure out that 2nd Amendment is the most retarded thing ever written.

    June 26, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. cm

    As the 401ks, pensions and other retirement funds starting to dry up Americans do not care who take over this sinking ship, just get us back to solid ground. Obama is about the best suited to be the Admiral.

    June 26, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. Texan for Progression

    From another ticker Beth-Florida wrote:

    "We need unions like we need affirmative action…

    Free America Now!

    Go McCain 08"

    Exactly which "we" do you represent. I completed a masters program at a historically black university along with several other grads like me. I've worked at 3 multi-billion dollar corporations during my ten-year career and for 10 years, I have been one of VERY few. I know for a fact that they and I were hired as a result of affirmative action. So combining your comment with my perspective, unions are needed b/c affirmative action sure as hell is.

    June 26, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. BK

    Are all of you bitter people that cling to your guns and Bible? Obama goes the way the wind blows.

    June 26, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  20. Mike in NYC

    Bishop wrote:

    "... and very uneducated people are obtaining these weapons."

    You mean a college education makes you a more responsible gun owner?

    c. bailey wrote:

    "... America ... is still wondering how other countries with lower crime rates and smaller prison populations do it?"

    The countries with low crime rates have better quality populations.

    June 26, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. 2012

    kilo June 26th, 2008 4:44 pm ET

    The word "arms" does not directly translate to "handguns."

    Handguns did not exist upon the creation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
    __________________________

    Ahhh.....another idiot who has never studied history.

    June 26, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. HELP!!!!!

    Lisa........... Guns Kill!!............Lisa ........... For the first time in my adult life guns should be illegal.........something IS WRONG!!!!!!........................
    YOU know it is better to meet you on the BLOG !!!!1

    June 26, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. Lisa

    What about the 3 year old that goes in Daddy's closet?

    June 26, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. jaylo

    "To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful." – Edward R. Murrow

    CNN and MSNBC and their role in the biased coverage of the Democratic primary. Unconscionable.

    June 26, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. Paula

    Thank God I live in Canada!! People need to get a grip on the fact that guns do kill and allot of innocent children die from guns that are left around peoples homes. I never, ever will understand the gun laws all I know is compare Britains deaths by firearms along side Canada's and the truth is the last thing the U.S. needs is more guns!!
    Please, just keep them down there because we have safer cities and towns because of our gun laws. Thank God! .

    June 26, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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