- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gun rights and the Federalist Papers

It’s amazing the lack of historical knowledge many of our illuminated judges show when they rule that the Second Amendment is not an individual right but a collective one.

Historical documents prove unequivocally exactly what the Second Amendment means.

According to the Library of Congress Web site, the Federalist, commonly referred to as the Federalist Papers, is a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison between October 1787 and May 1788. The essays were published anonymously, under the pen name “Publius,” in various New York state newspapers of the time.

The Federalist Papers were written and published to urge New Yorkers to ratify the proposed U.S. Constitution, which was drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. In lobbying for adoption of the Constitution over the existing Articles of Confederation, the essays explain particular provisions of the Constitution in detail.

For this reason, and because Hamilton and Madison were both members of the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers often are used today to help interpret the intentions of those drafting the Constitution.

According to Hamilton in Federalist No. 29, written Jan. 10, 1788: Creating a militia “will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but … can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens … who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.”

This one piece of history proves that the right to own and bear arms was and always will be an individual right, which may be used collectively, when needed.

It was never about one or the other, as many wish it were.

SCOTT SNYDER

Mount Airy, Md.

The Southwick nomination

The article “GOP fights for stalled judicial nominee” (Nation, Friday) does not reflect the full scope and nature of the problems with Leslie Southwick’s nomination to a lifetime seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The article states that “Some outside groups oppose Judge Southwick’s nomination because of two previous state court decisions Judge Southwick joined.”

Other aspects of his record as a Mississippi Court of Appeals judge, however, were the exclusive or primary focus of many groups whose letters can be found at judgingtheenvironment.org.

For example, environmental groups and labor unions did not mention the cases you describe. The AFL-CIO’s letter of opposition described how “Judge Southwick has ruled overwhelmingly against workers and consumers, and in favor of business interests, in divided cases.”

Serious concerns raised by Earthjustice and other environmental groups focused on unfair denial of access to courts and judicial activism. We concluded: “His record as a judge, combined with Judge Southwick’s own words, raise questions about his ability to be a fair and neutral arbiter of environmental and other cases that involve the interests of corporate defendants.”

GLENN SUGAMELI

Senior legislative counsel

Earthjustice

Washington

Mirror, mirror

In the Page One Sunday story “Hispanic group aims to stop ‘wave of hate,’” Cecilia Munoz, vice president of the National Council of La Raza, is quoted as saying about the rejection of the amnesty bill: “I don’t think we should be comfortable with the fact that the United States Senate responded to what was largely a wave of hate.”

Supporters of blanket amnesty for illegal aliens, through an appeal to emotion, always attribute malice aforethought to opponents of amnesty. Any American who wants to enforce the security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the United States and stop paying the educational, medical and social-welfare-benefit costs of those not authorized to be in the United States regardless of race is called a bigot or xenophobe or said to be full of hate. Any organization that names itself “The Race” should look in a mirror for traces of bigotry, xenophobia and hate.

Of course, talk radio is seen as the culprit for the American people rising up to defend their country against an invasion. Americans don’t need talk radio to see the masses of illegal aliens in long waits in emergency rooms or our overcrowded schools. We don’t need a caudillo or anyone else leading us in order to defend our country.

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

Wake up and go to sleep

Democrats may have taken to their congressional mattresses, but it was the Republicans who proved they can stay up all night (“Senate rejects Iraq pullout,” Page 1, Thursday).

I’m no genius, but the math seems clear to me: In order to get the minimum 60 votes, Republican senators, not their Democratic counterparts, will have to convince their political cronies that the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq (a) is in America’s best interest and (b) won’t leave Iraq in a state of chaos. If they successfully argue those points, the Senate should vote again on the resolution. If not, it is time to put this issue to rest for now. September will be here soon enough. I suspect that’s when the next all-nighter will take place.

DENNY FREIDENRICH

Laguna Beach, Calif.