A Law Student's Attempt to Understand It All.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Guns and DC v. Heller

The SCOTUS has handed down the biggest case of the year: DC v. Heller (opinion here). Justice Scalia, the most philosophical/logical of the conservative justices, wrote the majority opinion. Had Kennedy wrote the opinion, the reasoning/protection of the rights would not be as strong. Justices Stevens and Breyer wrote dissents representing the four liberal justices. The opinion is long, so I give a brief synopsis here. My full(er) discussion is below.

Synopsis: I am happy with the fist holding (2d Amendment is an individual right). I understand the reasoning behind the second holding (allowing limits on the right) but am weary that it could lead to back door bans. I am happy that the third holding strikes down the DC gun ban. Yet, the holding still allows for licensing programs and that is dangerous (DC had a gun licensing program, but simply never issued licenses). This was the best the pro-gun side could hope for. There is still going to be a lot of litigation to flesh out the limits of the right and or the limits of the government to regulate the right. The second and third holding in particular have some troubling caveats to the general rule. Yet, the opinion was well reasoned and fairly exhaustive and will provide a launching point to challenge other silly gun laws.

Admittedly, I am an extremist when it comes to the second amendment (and constitutional protections generally). Thus, Scalia didn’t give me all that I wanted, but the opinion is certainly the absolute best the pro-gun rights side could hope for. It is a good day. Also, this commentary is long, but so is the decision (157 pages). It is difficult to compress all of the information.

The post below has my full(er) discussion.

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