The New Republic is reporting that Judge Alito wrote a dissent to a decision upholding the federal law prohibiting private ownership of machine guns. TNR‘s Michael Crowley writes, “Applying the logic of the Constitution in Exile for all it’s worth, Alito insisted that the private possession of machine guns was not an economic activity, and there was no empirical evidence that private gun possession increased violent crime in a way that substantially affected commerce — therefore, Congress has no right to regulate it. Alito’s colleagues criticized him for requiring “Congress or the Executive to play Show and Tell with the federal courts at the peril of invalidation of a Congressional statute.” His lack of deference to Congress is unsettling.”
Two things. First, it’s clear from this — and from many of the questions asked Chief Justice Roberts in his confirmation — that the libs now view the Court as a branch of government in competition with the other two, not an arbiter of the bounds of the Constitution. This, of course, is what conservatives have been complaining about for decades. With Roberts confirmed, and Alito likely to be, the libs are scared witless that their last reliable generator of policy — the courts — is about to slip from their grasp. Second, machine guns are really cool.