D.C. Circuit rules Second Amendment grants individual right to bear arms; Update: SC may decide in June 2008
posted at 11:27 am on March 9, 2007 by Allahpundit
InstaGlenn’s an expert on SA jurisprudence so keep your eye on this post for updates, but even knowing as little as I do about Second Amendment law, I can tell you this is big. The Supreme Court hasn’t squarely addressed the question of whether the right to bear arms is an individual or collective right in almost 70 years, and even then they didn’t address it so squarely. But they might now: the D.C. Circuit is the most influential court in America next to SCOTUS itself and the author of the opinion, Laurence Silberman, is a conservative judicial icon who was considered for elevation when he was younger. His ruling cuts against the grain of most appellate case law too, as I understand it, and the Supremes abhor a circuit split. Combine all that with the fact that we might have a Democrat appointing new justices two years from now and there’ll be heavy pressure on Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito to take the case (which only requires four votes) and get a ruling on the books before the Court loses its conservative majority.
Of course, if they do take the case, Kennedy will vote with the liberals and rule that the right is collective, not individual. Sigh.
Say what you want about Bush vis-a-vis Reagan, but early indications are his justices will prove to be a lot better on balance than the Gipper’s. Scalia notwithstanding.
question suggestion: Go read the blockquote from the opinion at Howard Bashman’s site. Mangia!
Update: Ace thinks this might make Rudy’s position on gun control moot. True — if the Supreme Court grants cert. If they don’t, it makes Rudy’s position even more important because other circuits are going to see gun-control challenges now that point to this decision. There’ll be probably be a split, but the split may not materialize until 2009. In which case it matters a whole lot what the next president thinks about the SA.
Update: The timetable may be even dicier than I thought. Volokh says the Supreme Court decision would come down four months before the election, assuming that cert is granted of course.