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

Blitzer: Court ruling highlights fragile balance

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/13/art.blitzer.jpg caption="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. Shasta

    Yet another reason why Obama should be president. I'd rather keep Roe v Wade, thank you very much.

    June 26, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. Marc PDX

    Let's see: "We can't drill our way out of our energy problem" is a popular rallying cry of the Dems when talking about drilling in ANWR or the outer continental shelf of the US (hint: that's not within sight of Miami Beach).

    Well, maybe we won't ever reduce oil prices – I agree. BUT we could stave off the rocketing price and keep it within the current range rather than go up, up, up. Wouldn't $4/gallon be preferrable to $6/gallon? Or worse? What if supplied in the Middle East or Africa are further disrupted? (Note: disruptions in those two places are cited by CNN today as the reason oil went up to $140/barrel for the first time today.)

    If we don't make moves now to take care of ourselves we are going to be in really deep yogurt in just a few more years. Dems better think hard and long about this right now. Because how we deal with this now (or don't deal with it) will have an impact on America in many ways for years to come. (Hint #2: the stock market falls when oil goes up; food prices and practically all goods go up when oil goes up; etc. etc. – it's all interconnected). So choose well – your and your children's future will be directed by your decision now. Good luck!

    NObama N'08

    June 26, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. independent

    barack knows about judgeicial stuff,so,do what he says!he's the president.

    June 26, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Lisa

    Guns Kill!!

    June 26, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Earl


    June 26, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Lisa

    For the first time in my adult life guns should be illegal.

    June 26, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Shawn

    Lisa, criminals kill, if they have a gun or not. And chances are, they don't care about silly gun bans eLaw abiding citizens have a right to defend themselves, as we don't live in a 'Minority Report" style of world where criminals are arrested before a crime is committed.

    June 26, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Obama Supporter from FL

    So do knives, Lisa. Should we outlaw those? Cars kill too – are those off the list? What about rope? Someone could hang themselves or another person with rope...

    Things – like guns or knives – are only dangerous in the hands of dangerous people.

    June 26, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Mike

    You should say this louder!

    June 26, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Enlightened Voter

    That's why we need to get Barack in the white house to tip the balance to fair.

    June 26, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Mike

    Marc PDX you need an education. You probably think its okay to cut yourself as long as you use a bandaide too. We have the technology to not use oil at all, or to barely use oil. Your boy McCain just doesn't care to tell you this, or maybe he really is as dumb as he looks.

    June 26, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Mike

    This should have been a "no brainer" .

    All of the rest of the amendments refer to "people".

    The "people" then, as they do today, make up the militia.

    The National Guard didn't come into existence until 1917 and the 2nd amendment was ratified in 1798.

    June 26, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Bill

    Who gets to decide what a liberal view is and what a conservative view is? I think these 2 words are way overused. Am I to believe that every concept we can comprehend will neatly fall into one of these 2 categories? It's a bit more complex than that.

    June 26, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Mike in Columbus

    Resisting government oppression is funniest and weakest arguement for the right to bear arms.

    Maybe we need to the right to bear tanks, and anti-aircraft in the constitution too.

    What if I need to fight some serious oppression????

    June 26, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. ANGIE


    June 26, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Once Barack is president, Nino and Silent Clarence are gonna be pretty lonely...

    June 26, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Ken in NM

    Justice Anthony Kennedy in all reality is the kind of judge who should be on the supreme court. He bases his decisions on the constitution and not a political agenda. I am a democrat and a barack supporter and hope that Justices like Anthony Kennedy are put on the supreme court.

    June 26, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. INDEPENDENT 4 Obama

    Lisa.................... Guns Kill!!...........FOR REAL!!!!!!

    June 26, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. RickytheGriff


    .... Americans don't mind it when your government taps your phones, reads your mail, goes through your bank accounts and data-mines your computer....

    ... but you can't live without your guns.

    Interesting nation you live in!

    June 26, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Bishop

    I agree with Sen. Obama. Guns are fine...it's people like MARK PDX with guns that I worry about. Too many reckless people, and very uneducated people are obtaining these weapons. There seems to be TOO much leniency on the Republican side...................Dick Chaney.......

    Obama '08

    June 26, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. KateyGreen

    Unfortunately, on both the gun control case and the child rape-execution case, Obama's comments were sympathetic to the Scalia-Thomas side of the Court, and opposed to the Ginsburg-Breyer progressive wing. What kind of Justices would a Pres. Obama appoint? Given his statements on these two cases, I don't think we really know.

    June 26, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Jon

    Marc PDX, I agree.

    I like how Obama criticizes McCain for wanting to drill because it won't affect prices for at least 10 years, but then all of his ideas are genius because they help out "the next generation." So exactly how long will his ideas take to be realized? I don't see all of America ditching their gasoline engines anytime soon.

    June 26, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. The Needs of the Many ... Outweigh the Needs of the One

    We can thank Ralph Nader's 2000 spoiler Presidency run for the state of the courts today. That's the difference between Al Gore and G. Bush becoming president.

    In addition to the blood of 4,100 US soldiers spilled in Iraq over 5 years, we can add the blood of more than 10,000 US citizens EVERY YEAR from senseless gun violence.

    If we didn't have an Alito and a Roberts on the court, we wouldn't have so many lives being snuffed out prematurely.

    We need Barack Obama as president

    June 26, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Scott, Charlotte

    Something all the Clintonites need to remember before suggesting they vote for McCain. Do you want a MORE Conservative court ?

    June 26, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Marc PDX

    Wow – Obama likes the liberal judges and McCain likes the conservative ones. What a day! Next CNN will be the first to break the news that the sky is blue! Holy Cow!

    June 26, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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