This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," June 28, 2008.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Up next on the "Journal Editorial Report," from gun rights to Gitmo, an historic Supreme Court term comes to an end. We'll take a look at the highs and the lows.
With retirements rumored, what impact will November's presidential election have on the so-called Kennedy court?
Reassessing the axis of evil. As the Bush presidency winds down, a look at the administration's changing stance towards North Korea and Tehran.
But first, these headlines,
(FOX NEWS BREAK)
GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
The Supreme Court ended its term with a bang, tossing out one of the nation's strictest gun control law and ruling for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to bear arms, not just the right of the states to maintain militias.
Here a look at that historic case as well as the other big rulings of the term is Jan Crawford Greenburg, author of the book "Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court."
Welcome, Jan Crawford Greenburg, great to have you back.
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG, AUTHOR OF "SUPREME CONFLICT": Thanks, Paul. It's great to be back.
Let's take a look first at the gun rights case, 5-4 decision, very close. A lot of people thought there might be more justices on the majority side. Were you surprised it broke down along ideological lines?
GREENBURG: I was and I'm not alone. Even the gun control advocates, the people who were strongly defending this law in D.C. and other laws across the country, left the arguments after this case thinking, not only would they lose, but they were going to lose big. As we saw yesterday yet another 5-4 decision by a closely divided court on the key controversial social issues that so divide the court — (AUDIO PROBLEM).
GIGOT: This only applies to federal law because that's what controls in the District of Columbia. That does not apply necessarily to state laws like Chicago and other bans on weapons. What you think will happen when those laws are inevitably challenged in these cases go back to up to the court?
GREENBURG: Paul, I see no way — I mean, I know there's a way you can argue that it is limiting. Some have made that point. But again, if you read this decision yesterday, the principle is clear. With the reasoning in this decision, I see no way some of those other laws, like in Chicago, San Francisco, will be able to stand. I just cannot see it.
Not only those laws — those are pretty strict and gun bans, just like we had here in the nation's capital. Other gun laws and restrictions on gun ownership also we will see come under attack right away.
Here in D.C., you will see residents lined up to buy guns legally for the first time in 30 years. You are going to see lawsuits across the country challenging gun restrictions.
GIGOT: Let us talk about the broader term and the lessons you took away from where the court was headed this term. Was this another one of those Supreme Court term, where Anthony Kennedy was the decisive vote on a lot of these hot button issues?
GREENBURG: It was. Look, it wasn't as much as we saw last term when he was in the majority in those 5-4 cases in every case because the court was not as closely divided this term. We did not have as many 5-4 decisions. We did not have as many of those decisions that literally — at the end of term, last term, remember they that upheld a federal law banning partial birth abortion. They struck down voluntary school desegregation plans, very controversial emotional issues that deeply divided the justices. You had justices last year, actually from the bench, rolling their eyes, slapping their heads in disgust when the conservatives were announcing these decisions.
We did not have those kinds of cases. They were big cases. The gun case that we talked about, a case from Guantanamo, a very significant case on whether or not detainees can get into federal court. The court said yes. Another one with Justice Kennedy in control. So in the big cases, in the hot button cases, Kennedy is still the man in the middle. He's like the jump ball. They toss him up and both sides are going to see which side is going to come down with him.