Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Supreme Court Gearing Up For Big Second Amendment Case Out Of Chicago

On March 2, 2010, the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the important Second Amendment case of McDonald v. City of Chicago.  The Supreme Court will consider whether the Second Amendment individual right to bear arms applies against state and local restrictions on firearms.  In 2007 the Supreme Court decided the landmark case of D.C. v. Heller.  In that case the Supreme Court struck down Washington D.C.'s gun laws on the basis that they violated the Second Amendment.  Chicago's gun laws are similar to Washington D.C.  A lawsuit was filed challenging Chicago's gun laws but the trial court and the Court of Appeals upheld Chicago's gun laws and held that the reasoning in Heller did not apply because Heller dealt with Washington D.C., which is not a state.  In other words, they decided that the Second Amendment does not apply to states.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted the NRA time to argue for the Plaintiffs in the case.  It is interesting to note that the Plaintiffs in the McDonald case are represented by Alan Gura, the same attorney who argued the case for the Plaintiffs in Heller.  It is also interesting to note that Gura opposed allowing the NRA to argue on behalf of the Plaintiffs case.  While both Gura and the NRA want the gun ban overturned, they have different arguments in trying to advance the cause.  Gura is advancing a privileges or immunities clause argument for applying the Second Amendment to the states whereas the NRA is arguing a traditional due process clause argument for application of the Second Amendment to the states.  The attorney representing the NRA, Paul Clement, was solicitor general in 2007 and filed a brief in favor of upholding the Washington D.C. gun ban.

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