Greg CampFeb 8, 2012 06:36 AM
Laci keeps quoting that saying, but he has yet to show how it is a part of U.S. law. As far as I can tell, it comes from a mediaeval legal theorist, and thus may be interesting, but only as relevant as de Vattel.
Once again, Greg demonstrates that his ignorance knows no bounds.
All this is mentioned in Blackstone's Commentaries:
The citation from Blackstone regarding the “proeme, or preamble” is part of a larger section that consists of “observations concerning the interpretation of laws.” 1 Blackstone at *58. One of those “observations” was: “BUT, lastly, the most universal and effectual way of discovering the true meaning of a law, when the words are dubious, is by considering the reason and spirit of it; or the cause which moved the legislator to enact it. For when this reason ceases, the laws itself ought likewise to cease with it.” 1 Blackstone at *61.
Blackstone refers to this “when the reason ceases, the law ought to cease” principle several times in the Commentaries, which would seem to indicate that he considered it a fairly important interpretive principle. 2 Blackstone at *390-91 (discussing property interests in tame and domestic animals and noting “But here the reasons of the general rule cease, and ‘cessante ratione cessat et ipsa lex‘ [The reason of the law ceasing, the law itself also ceases]“), 3 Blackstone at *219 (discussing the law of nuisance, and noting “But, where the reason ceases, the law also ceases with it : therefore it is no nuisance to erect a mill so near mine, as to draw away the custom, unless the miller also intercepts the water.”), 4 Blackstone at *3 (noting that some aspects of Britain’s criminal law “seem to want revision and amendment” and explaining that “These have chiefly arisen from too scrupulous an adherence to some rules of the antient common law, when the resons have ceased upon which those rules were founded . . . “), 4 Blackstone at *81 (discussing the law of treason, and noting that the “plain intention of this law is to guard the blood royal from any suspicion of bastardy, whereby the succession to the crown might be rendered dubious: and therefore, when this reason ceases, the law ceases with it . . .”), 4 Blackstone at *330 (discussing the plea of a former attainder, and noting “But to this general rule however, as to all others, there are some exceptions; wherein, cessante ratione, cessat et ipsa lex.”).
Some of these seem to refer to common-law decision making, but he also applies this principle to statutes.
Which means that if the “cause/reason” for the Second Amendment was the “well-regulated militia”, then it could be argued that when that reason ceased, the law ought likewise to cease with it.
Too bad, Greg is ignorant of the fact that Blackstone is mentioned as being highly influential upon US Jurisprudence.
In fact, since Blackstone commentaries were rather inexpensive and widely published, they were used for legal training in the US.
So, if you want to argue that Blackstone is "only as relevant as de Vattel", you have your work cut out for you, Greg.
I strongly suggest that you keep your ignorance to yourself in future.