The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s “All-Stars.”

On Obama’s meeting with Abbas:

We have to start understanding that Abbas is an illusion. He is a fiction. He is a ghost. He is a potential president. I could go on, but you get the idea.

I mean, even the presidency he holds is a dubious legality. And it is said of him that he doesn’t even control downtown Ramallah where his offices are.

So you’ve got a man who doesn’t have anything in his control. And the reason that years of negotiations he held with the previous Israeli leader, Ehud Olmert, went nowhere is because when Olmert offered everything, Abbas had nothing he can offer to back it up.

So, what is it the United States is trying to do? It has to have a peace process in place, otherwise people will wake up and say we don’t have a peace process, and that is intolerable. So you create one.

If you see where Obama is going next week, he’s going to be in Egypt, in Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The idea is to create an odd, three-way negotiation in which Israel makes concessions, small concessions, incremental, on the ground, like the lifting of roadblocks, the dismantling of outlying settlements.

And the corresponding concession is not from Abbas, who can’t deliver, but from the Arab states — for example, the relaxation of Israel’s isolation, trade bans. You could imagine the ping-pong team in Saudi Arabia, although that’s rather unlikely, but a gesture on the part of Arabs. So that’s what the administration is setting up.

There are some, however, in the administration who believe you can actually have a real settlement in this administration. I think it’s an illusion. There’s an old adage in the Middle East, “He whom the gods would destroy puts it in his head to solve the Arab-Israeli dispute.”

On Sonia Sotomayor’s stance on the right to bear arms:

Heller [the Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment guarantees gun ownership for individuals] is hardly settled law. It is law in its infancy. It’s a couple years old. And if she is on the court, she might be inclined to revisit it, either overturn it or reinterpret it in a way where it’s weakened beyond measure.

Looking at her ruling on the other Second Amendment case, in which she joined with the majority of the second circuit in saying that it’s settled a law that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to the states, she’s relying on a case, the Presser case of 1886, which is true. It excludes the application to the states.

However, we have 100 years of Supreme Court rulings since which have established the so-called “incorporation doctrine,” in which all of the first Ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights, are incorporated into the state and are applied to the states.

So it is not only Congress that can’t curtail speech, a state can’t either.

So it’s extremely odd that she would reach all the way back to 1886 and say that a gun case is excluded because it is under state jurisdiction. It would imply to me that she was reaching as a way to undermine gun rights. And it would also imply that she might be inclined to overturn Heller or restrict it in the future.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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