Cheney joined 55 senators and 250 House members in asking the court to find that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess firearms and to uphold a lower court's ruling that the D.C. ban violates that right. That position is at odds with the one put forward by the administration, which angered gun rights advocates when it suggested that the justices return the case to lower courts for further review.
In order to make his dramatic break with the administration, Cheney invoked his rarely used status as part of Congress, joining the brief as "President of the United States Senate, Richard B. Cheney." It is a position he has used at times to make the point that he is sometimes part of the legislative branch and sometimes part of the executive.
"That is one of his titles," Cheney press secretary Megan Mitchell said when asked whether it was significant that he had joined the brief in that capacity rather than as vice president.
The position puts Cheney at odds with a brief filed by U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who represents the government and the Bush administration before the Supreme Court. Clement said that the court should recognize the individual right but that the lower court's ruling was so broad it could endanger federal gun-control measures, such as a ban on possession of new machine guns.
Clement urged the court to send the D.C. law, the strictest in the nation, back to lower courts for further review.
The government's position, which technically supported neither the District nor those challenging the law, nonetheless infuriated supporters of gun rights. They saw it as an abandonment of their cause just as the court was ready to interpret the Second Amendment for the first time in 70 years. (More)
LSB: In the picture above we're just missing Charleston Heston. Wonder if Harry Whittington, Cheney's hunting partner/victim, might now want to pry that gun from Cheney's 'cold dead hands?'