Justice Antonin ScaliaJustice Antonin Scalia, (1936-2016) American jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Justice Antonin Scalia Quote

“Nowhere else in the Constitution does a 'right' attributed to 'the people' refer to anything other than an individual right. What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention 'the people,' the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset... The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms... The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ‘shall not be infringed.'”

Justice Antonin ScaliaJustice Antonin Scalia
~ Justice Antonin Scalia

District of Columbia v. Heller, June 26, 2008, striking down D.C.'s gun ban as unconstitutional

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

This portion of the quote is said well. No need here to shoot the messenger. ;-)

Me Again
  • Reply
Me Again    7/23/08

As per this quote:Amen!

jim k, austin

The right shall not be infringed , but the Libs keep trying.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Okay, okay, okay but all the arms with all the people are for personal defense of the individual and not for any attack on law enforcement. All arms and all the people including the "unorganized militia" come under the command of The Commander In Chief. Ken was so kind to give us the statute yesterday. The organized militia is the National Guard. The organized militia is al those who are not in the active army or National Guard. I believe some "unorganized militia" helped during Katrina. Arms are not for attacking legal authority or for use by one unit of the miltia against another unit of the militia, the unorganized against the National Guard for example..

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

PS: It would seem that just as a unit officer in the National Guard can ground or take away the weapon of any of his soldiers for cause (incapacity, lack of judgement etc) it would also seem that a member of the unorgaized militia (all the rest of us) could and maybe should be treated the same way.

  • Reply
RobertSRQ    7/23/08

I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to believe this man - nothing is enshrined... get it! We do not have and never have had individual Rights -- we only have individual rights as long as politicians, government, and the Supreme Court say we do -- Or, the people say we do; but, aren't the politicians representing the people? Isn't the Supreme Court just a reflection of the Government and its people? How long does any ruling, law, or constitution remain sacred? Is it never to change for all eternity? The only sacred Right I believe in is for the individual to be left alone, to be allowed to mature and flourish creatively in a spirit of nature. I will die defending that right, and your right to have that right.

Eric, Wichita and Atlanta

Robert - I daresay that you do not possess arms. Had the ruling gone the other way, I can tell you that armed resistance to the Government would be a probable outcome. If you want to change the Constitution, then amend it. If you cannot get the support to get it amended, then live with it the way some of us have to live with the rights of others. Look up the term "This We'll Defend." We is the People, and we means business!

  • Reply
    RobertSRQ    7/23/08

    p.s. read an essay on the jurisprudence of Justice Scalia in the fall issue of SHB (Secular Humanist Bulletin).

    • Reply
      RobertSRQ    7/23/08

      Eric, by all means defend while there's integrity, but when the integrity fails what then will you defend? Do we the people sit round a table and decide a new integrity to defend? I do not need a "We" to defend my integrity - what is absolute is absolute and no constitution will ever change that.

      Dick, Fort Worth

      If the writers of the Constitution had meant what the majority of Americans seem to think, it would have been worded: "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." No, they didn't write that; they prefaced that with "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,...." Just what, in reason's name, do Scalia and all the gun lovers in this country think that means? It means that Scalia and his kind believe just what they want to believe, the hell with the real meaning of words.

      Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

      I think we should discuss the word "bearable". Some here think individuals should have nukes. I guess they are bearable in a suitcase so they are okay also. But obviously personal tanks, warships etcetera are out.

      William Kemp, Liberty, MS

      He shore do talk purty, don't he? This part of his 'decision' is pure crap, window dressing to make people, gunowners, THINK that they have a right. However, the only part of the 'decision' which means anything is where he blesses the Miller decision, and gives Heller over to licensing and registration. So much for our having a 'RIGHT'. Just another black robed whore.

      William Kemp, Liberty, MS

      And for Waffler-- well into the 20th Century crew served weaponry was commonly found in civilian hands. And on April 19, 1775, the colonial militia shot up the Brits to protect their cannon. Arms equivalent to the government-- after all, they're operating on OUR delegated authority, eh? How is it that government has authority not possessed by the citizenry? Or do they just presume that they have stolen that authority, lock, stock, and barrel? Disgusting.

      Anonymous, Reston, VA US

      So, it appears that Eric has just threatened all of us... let the anarchy begin... On the other hand, it seems that Dick has the eyes & mind to actually read, well said!

      Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

      Mr. Kemp we are the government and we are the militia and we have a Commander In Chief. All males between 17 and 45 are members of some unit of the military (1) active service and its' reserves (2) National Guard (3) the unorganized militia. So none of these folks who report to the Commander In Chief have any rights to take up arms against him, the governmnet or the people. Taking up arms against him must be left to the rest of us over the age of 45. Thus any insurrection will be a generational conflict. Sons and daughters against fathers and grandfathers. Read Title 10, Subtitle A General Military Law of the United States. The American Revolution was not just about individual revolt and rights, it was about the birth of a Nation. In fact it was the loose nit ragtag Americans that the British felt they would easily defeat. It took Washington, Von Steuben etcetera to make an organzied fighting force out of them. The military law of the United States builds upon the need of organization of all for defense. Many praise Switzerland well this law shows that we have the same thing here.

      E Archer, NYC

      I think the real point being made here is: "Nowhere else in the Constitution does a 'right' attributed to 'the people' refer to anything other than an individual right." Yes, the people have representatives, but the People represent themselves, first and foremost, in person. Robert, the founding of the new republic was agreed upon unanimously by Congress assembled: "We hold these truths to be self-evident." Then they fought to defend them against those that laid claim to them, body and soul. It is a declaration that our so-called rights are pre-existing, the natural state of mankind. Who would have thought it would be necessary to declare that a person has the right to take care of themselves -- it is not a right, but a necessity, is it not? If I will not take care of myself, am I obliged to assign that responsibility to someone else? The American Revolution sparked the idea that the common man is not subject to kings, priests, or mobs but is sovereign over himself and his property. With that comes the responsibility to do so. Every free man is also a soldier -- a fighter, a warrior, a defender of the principles upon which this free republic was founded. Having arms at one's disposal may be only symbolic, but when we let that 'right' be taken from us, then an usurpation has occurred -- and more will follow. Some would rather die than be slaves -- and since they ask nothing from anyone else, it is their right and honor to do so. Would you have us all cower to government intimidation? Is no one who stands up for principle respected any more? Not all of us can tolerate our proscribed spoonful of daily hypocrisy.

      Jack, Green, OH

      Once again. Scalia places his own biases on a subject while accusing others of doing the same. So many errors in this in this quote I would hardly know where to begin. He should be grateful for Clarence Thomas or he might be the poorest excuse for a justice of the Supreme Court ever

      Ken, Allyn, WA

      What if were as easy for the mortgage company to change the terms of your contract as some here would like our Constitutional contract to be changed. I'm sure most would not be pleased to find that their 30 year mortgage has now become a 10 year mortgage, or the interest rate doubled overnight. Yet some would like to circumvent the clear language of the Constitution because they don't like the terms and they know they can't get the necessary parties to renegotiate the terms to their liking. All you need to do to repeal the second amendment or any other is to convince the rest of us we don't need it. Get to work.

      Ken, Milford Pa

      Reston Va. No one wants anarchy, but it is necessary, to remain free, that the government have a healthy respect of the people. That can and will only be maintained if the people can defend themselves. Dick, when the people are well armed, and skilled in the use of those arms, (they are) the militia, and they assure the nations freedom just be their existence. It is part of thr checks and balances installed by the wise men that we call founding fathers

      warren, olathe

      Eric your right. Robert you are a fool. What bias Jack. You have so much bias you can not see logic right in front of you. Bias toward the constitution is very desirable. Yours is against it it would seem.

      • Reply
      Jim    2/16/09

      Here's to his gallant fight to save us from liberals everywhere.


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