Supreme Court textualism and Second Amendment
Just came across an interesting Supreme Court case, worth at least a cf. on the question...
Barnhard v. Thomas, 540 US 20 (2003) involved a 9-0 ruling (reversing a Circuit ruling by Judge Alito ... and I tend to agree with Alito's ruling, on non-textualist grounds) relating to Social Security disability. [The question was whether under the statute a formerly disabled elevator operator, now healthy enough to operate an elevator, could still claim disability on the ground that, if they are any elevator operator jobs left in the country, they could be counted on the fingers of one hand. For you youngsters, before they invented pushbutton controls, elevators required an operator, who sat on a little seat, and moved a lever to select the floor you asked for. I saw some of those in the Capitol 20 years ago, when it was a patronage job, but where you would find such a job today I cannot even begin to guess. So I'd side with Alito on practical grounds ... Congress probably would not have meant a person to be un-disabled, if the job they were suited for is one that no longer exists. But is is a 9-0...]
The Court notes:
" An example will illustrate the error of the Third Circuit’s perception that the specifically enumerated “previous work” “must” be treated the same as the more general reference to “any other kind of substantial gainful work.” 294 F.3d, at 572. Consider, for example, the case of parents who, before leaving their teenage son alone in the house for the weekend, warn him, “You will be punished if you throw a party or engage in any other activity that damages the house.” If the son nevertheless throws a party and is caught, he should hardly be able to avoid punishment by arguing that the house was not damaged. The parents proscribed (1) a party, and (2) any other activity that damages the house. As far as appears from what they said, their reasons for prohibiting the home-alone party may have had nothing to do with damage to the house–for instance, the risk that underage drinking or sexual activity would occur. And even if their only concern was to prevent damage, it does not follow from the fact that the same interest underlay both the specific and the general prohibition that proof of impairment of that interest is required for both. The parents, foreseeing that assessment of whether an activity had in fact “damaged” the house could be disputed by their son, might have wished to preclude all argument by specifying and categorically prohibiting the one activity–hosting a party–that was most likely to cause damage and most likely to occur."
I see a parallel here in the Second Amendment. The framers recognized a right "of the people" to arms. In the prefatory clause, presumably stating a reason, they noted that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state. Even if we assume that the same core interest underlies both provisions, we cannot disregard or limit the declaraton of the right.