Alex Kozinski QuotesAlex Kozinski is a Romanian-born American jurist and lawyer who was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1985 to 2017. Kozinski was a prominent and influential judge, and many of his law clerks went on to clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed – where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime usually do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed only for those exceptionally rare circumstances when all other rights have failed. A free people can only afford to make this mistake once.
The First Amendment is really at the very core of political speech, and political speech is at the core of the First Amendment. So, we want to be very careful to make sure that candidates for office are free to express their views so that people will make an informed choice. We don’t want them holding back, and sort of concealing their views and then disclosing them afterwards.
For better or worse, we are the Court of Appeals for the Hollywood Circuit. Millions of people toil in the shadow of the law we make, and much of their livelihood is made possible by the existence of intellectual property rights. But much of their livelihood – and much of the vibrancy of our culture – also depends on the existence of other intangible rights: The right to draw ideas from a rich and varied public domain, and the right to mock, for profit as well as fun, the cultural icons of our time.
The majority falls prey to the delusion–popular in some circles–that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth–born of experience–is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.