Discussing cases with students at the University of Hawaii’s Law School, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia found himself questioned with the High Court’s ruling back in 1944 that upheld the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for failing to voluntarily give up their freedom and report to an internment camp without due process.
Scalia’s response to the Court’s decision was this:
“Well, of course, Korematsu (court decision) was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again.”
He then went on to quote Cicero by saying:
” inter arma silent leges” (translation: In times of War, laws fall silent)
This tyrannical oppression of Americans of Japanese decent during World War II is not the only time that Justice Scalia has spoken on the dangers of usurping peoples rights under the auspices of national security during times of war. In 2004, Scalia decried the decision of Hamdi v Rumsfeld which upheld the detention of a U.S. citizen as an enemy combatant, without charge or suspension of the habeas corpus.
“Many think it not only inevitable but entirely proper that liberty give way to security in times of national crisis that, at the extremes of military exigency, inter arma silent leges. Whatever the general merits of the view that war silences law or modulates its voice, that view has no place in the interpretation and application of a Constitution designed precisely to confront war and, in a manner that accords with democratic principles, to accommodate it.”
The most obvious application of his sentiment towards the Second Amendment is that laws that ban gun ownership during emergencies are completely unconstitutional. I have always found the notion of disarming the populace during times of emergencies the exact OPPOSITE of what should happen. Emergencies are when an armed citizenry is needed the most.
Yet in New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina, cops were going door to door and beating down little old ladies in order to seize their firearms.
Is it any wonder that looting and raping ran rampant when the populace was disarmed by an uncaring government entity and its jackbooted thugs?
No-knock secret warrants, government spying on its own citizens, secret courts, secret prisons, habeus corpus denied, 4th Amendment ignored…our war on terror has fostered the erosion of our rights. Unlike WWII, the government isn’t focusing on one group of people but rather all the people. With the government shredding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights under the auspices of “safety”, Justice Scalia was wrong only in alluding that it might happen in the future when in truth it is happening now.
As the government continues to chip chip chip away at our liberty, there will come a moment when they chip too much and the sleeping masses will finally wake up and realize it. At that moment, the freedom of generations yet to come will hang on whether or not the people are still armed to resist.
For if, at that time, the masses have been bamboozled by the controllers and our 2nd Amendment whittled down to a simple shotgun, the law will remain silent for generations to come.
But if not…if we do not compromise away our 2nd Amendment Rights, when the law falls silent, freedom will be secured at the point of a bayonet and liberty echoed with each blast of a gun’s muzzle from a free man or woman. Free people only remain so when they are equipped with the tools to do it.
Laws, when you really break it down, are just an illusion. The rich, the powerful, the connected, politicians, they ignore laws all the time.
No one ignores a .45 round to the chest.
I agree with Justice Scalia, laws can fall silent.
Fortunately, outside of limiting them, laws have nothing to do with Liberty and Freedom.
Those remain so long as there are people with the means and the will to fight for them.
Armati, ergo liberum (armed and therefore free)
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