CCRKBA has named U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia its Gun Rights Defender of the Month for August.
Justice Scalia authored the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the historic District of Columbia v. Heller case. In this case, the court ruled that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms and not merely a collective right. It determined also that a District statute prohibiting a law-abiding citizen from keeping an operable handgun in the home was a violation of that constitutional right.
In nominating Justice Scalia as CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month, John M. Snyder, CCRKBA Director of Publications and Public Affairs, said that, “With this decision and opinion, Justice Scalia has rendered tremendous service to the Constitution, to the integrity of our American political system of individual rights, and to the tens of millions of law-abiding American citizens who actually practice the right to keep and bear arms. It’s a blockbuster moment in American history. It demolishes the central and underling constitutional argument of the anti-gun movement and its adherents that American citizens as individuals do not enjoy a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It also puts various jurisdictions on notice that, if they cross over the line in their efforts to regulate Americans’ individual gun rights, they risk being knocked down by the Supreme Court of the United States.
“It may not yet be generally known but, between March 18, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Heller case, and June 26, when it rendered its decision, Justice Antonin Scalia worked most diligently with other Justices to develop the consensus which resulted in the majority decision in support of Justice Scalia’s opinion. Justice Scalia is as deserving of this CCRKBA distinction as anyone could be. He truly is one of the greatest of great historic and contemporary Second Amendment heroes.”
Justice Scalia, in a summary of his 66-page opinion, wrote in part that the Supreme Court held, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes.
“The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The ‘militia’ comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.” Antonin Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey on March 11, 1936. His mother, Kathy Panaro, was born in the United States. His father, S. Eugene, a professor of romance languages, was born in Sicily. When Scalia was five years old, the family moved to Queens in New York City, during which time his father worked at Brooklyn College in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Scalia started his education at Public School 13 in Queens. A Roman Catholic, he attended Xavier High School in Manhattan. He gradated first in his class and summa cum laude with an A.B. from Georgetown University in 1957. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1960.
On September 10, 1960, Scalia married Maureen McCarthy. Together they have nine children: Ann Forest; Eugene, a labor attorney and former Solicitor of the Department of Labor; John Francis; Catherine Elisabeth; Mary Clare; Paul David, a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia; Matthew, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army Major; Christopher James, an English professor at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise; and Margaret Jane, studying at the University of Virginia.
Scalia’s legal career has included work at Jones, Day, Cockley and Reavis in Cleveland, Ohio, and professorships at the University of Virginia, University of Chicago Law School, Georgetown University Law Center and Stanford University.
His public service career includes positions as General Counsel for the Office of Telecommunications Policy, Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Scalia to be a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and later nominated him to the United States Supreme Court. Scalia was confirmed by a 98-0 Senate vote in 1986.