"I'm not a sixth grader," Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a heated exchange during a Senate Judiciary Committee “Executive Business Meeting” to discuss Feinstein’s bill to ban 157 different “assault weapons” and magazines with a capacity above 10 rounds.
Feinstein reacted to a question from Cruz as to whether she would "consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights."
Later in the debate, Feinstein said that “there are different tests for different amendments.” Thanks to decisions of the federal judiciary, the senior senator from California is correct. In a series of cases, the Supreme Court has issued rulings that are an unjustifiable demonstration of jurisprudential gerrymandering of the Bill of Rights. In these holdings, the Court has wielded the well worn shears of judicial activism, shredding Madison’s “parchment barrier.” The Bill of Rights is now divided into two categories: those rights which are “fundamental to the American scheme of justice” and those which are, one deduces, expendable.
In the landmark Second Amendment case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court failed to announce a standard of scrutiny reserved for those rights deemed “fundamental.” Writing for The New American after the publication of the Heller decision, Edwin Vieira, Jr. accurately related the confusion evoked by the decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia:
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Photo of handguns displayed in Sandy, Utah: AP Images