Lawprof-blogger Ann Althouse took some notes on Hillary Clinton's interview on Fox News Sunday:
I'm just going to focus on what she said when Chris Wallace confronted her with something she said last year, "The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment."
WALLACE: Now, in the 2008 Heller case, the court said there's a constitutional individual right to bear arms. What's wrong with that?
Uh-oh! Now what can Hillary say? She needs that white working-class guns-'n'-religion clinging vote, especially in the swing states. Here's what she says, according to Althouse:
CLINTON: Well, I think what the court said about there being an individual right is in line with constitutional thinking.
In other words, even though liberals–including Hillary herself–, have insisted for decades that the idea of an individual right to carry a gun was invented out of thin air by the National Rifle Association, many legal scholars who specialize in constitutional law beg to differ. And so did the Supreme Court by a 5-4 majority in its 2008 Heller ruling.
So, maybe the Supreme Court wasn't so wrong after all. Is that what Hillary was saying on Fox News?
But of course, Hillary's still got to appeal to those liberals who want to see Heller overturned and the Second Amendment given a less gun-friendly interpretation now that Justice Antonin Scalia, author of the majority opinion in the case, is dead. And Hillary has made major-league gun control a top-priority item for her presidency.
So, what to do? The answer: change the subject. Hillary's next statement:
And I said in the convention, I’m not looking to repeal the second amendment.
Nobody said you were, Hillary. The Heller case dealt with a District of Columbia law that essentially forbade people to own guns, period. Liberals argued that the law was perfectly consistent with the Constitution's Second Amendment because the Second Amendment didn't refer to an individual right to bear arms but with states' rights to gin up militias. You wouldn't have to repeal the Second Amendment in order to get rid of Heller. All you'd have to do is stock the Supreme Court with a clone of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Heller dissenter who's called openly for overturning Heller.
Also, according to Hillary:
I’m not looking to take people's guns away…but I am looking for more support for the reasonable efforts that need to be undertaken to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
So, since even Scalia agreed that the Second Amendment permits some level of regulation of gun ownership, maybe Hillary isn't really saying that she wants to overturn Heller, but just reasonably implement it. Or maybe not. Althouse's notes continue:
Wallace pushes her about all the things she seems to want to change through Supreme Court appointments and finally asks: "What about precedent?" She says:
CLINTON: The precedent is absolutely in line. You know, I taught law. I’m a recovering lawyer. I know that precedent is something that you look to, but I also know that courts can take a look at precedent and determine that maybe they weren't right the first time.
It's tough when you have to please both gun-banning liberals and those working-class male votes you desperately need.