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Letter: Americans must defend all constitutional rights

Americans must defend all constitutional rights

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call to repeal the Second Amendment is both wrong and potentially jeopardizes other rights enshrined in our body of jurisprudence. While the practical implications of such a constitutional amendment render the retired justice’s proposal a nonstarter, the reality of how such an amendment would pass is more alarming than his conclusory remarks.

While the Second Amendment does not create a barrier to removing guns from the hands of dangerous people, attempting a repeal of the Second Amendment creates the conditions to rescind other entrenched constitutional protections. In today’s polarized body politic, any amendment would require triangulation across disparate groups; in this case, to disastrous results.

The historical trend since the mid-20th century has been to expand, rather than contract, civil rights. Many groups have been opposed to this expansion – for instance, people who are opposed to birth control, privacy rights or Miranda warnings. For any amendment to pass, those groups would probably have a seat at the table and have their say in the final proposed amendment. It is quite likely that a triangulated compromise among these groups would result in a major contraction of our rights and make every American worse off.

We must defend all of our rights, even unpopular rights, against the mere whims of the masses – for our rights ensure that America is a bastion of liberty and justice for all.

Maximillian G. Tresmond

Buffalo

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