Mcdonald V. Chicago Second Amendment Case Eyewitness Report

Mcdonald V. Chicago Second Amendment Case Eyewitness Report
Mar. 1, 2010 (Late)
By Alan Korwin

People Lining Up for McDonald v. Chicago
People Lining Up for McDonald v. Chicago

Washington, DC – -( I’m back in my hotel, having endured the weather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, anticipating oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago in the a.m., the case that will decide the standing of our Second Amendment rights in the 50 states.

Well, people are lining up all right. Young people who can withstand it.

It’s bitter cold with a 20 MPH wind, but if you’ve decided to come here for the latest most seminal gun-rights case imaginable that’s not going to stop you.

At 5PM when I arrived (night before the oral argument) there were eight people awaiting seats for tomorrow’s McDonald v. Chicago 14th Amendment/Second Amendment case. By the time I left, with my feet too numb to feel, there were thirteen people trickled in, including a GW law-school student and her Mom who brought an air mattress and a comforter. When I cell-phoned some of the stalwarts later, before beginning this draft, I was told there were nearly 50 people there, including 15 or so high-school students who decided to rough it and see a landmark case at the Supreme Court.

Only 50 are guaranteed seats, so the window of opportunity is pratically closed. The Marshall’s office expected the crowd to develop in the a.m., looks like they’ll be SOOL.

Coulda been worse — for Heller, the line started TWO days ahead of time. This night-before stuff is child’s play. But it’s COOOOOLD.

As usual, the hale and hearty on line are more knowledgeable about this case than most of the public (and the media — Wash Post made their above-the-fold front-page story today a referendum on Justice Scalia, read like an unsavory biography (they don’t like the guy!), instead of the merits of the case; what facts Court reporter Robert Barnes did provide were out of whack, thin, misleading, pretty standard for that rag. Guess what they chose for an illustration — a picture of Chirs Broughton carrying his AR-15 at the Obama rally in Phoenix!! I kid you not. That makes sense, right? The Wash Compost’s idea of a gun image is a months old piece of discriminatory controversy, not something depicting basic human rights.

We had dynamic chats on the street about the premise of the case (the Post barely touched it), constitutional realities, the unknowns, the likely outcomes, the vote — Mike the blogger, incredibly knowledgable and with past cases at his fingertips with such detail and a tongue too fast even for me to follow, predicts a 9 -0 result — the Court will not overrule its Heller jurisprudence, and even hopelessly anti-gun-rights Ginsburg will forgo her hatred of 2A to reintstate 14A, or so he believes. Robert Cumberland flew in from California and is first in line — and he knows his stuff. This case affects him more than even Heller — that case set the groundwork, but this is the one that might actually force reinstatement of his abrogated rights, and he wants to be here to see it.

The carnival atmosphere is definitely lacking, there isn’t a single camera crew set up — at Heller there were dozens at this point, but no doubt there will be some tomorrow. Yet this case stands to have more net effect than Heller, it just doesn’t break ground in the same way. Dick Heller was out there after I left (phone tips from the folks I met, seven men and one woman), chatting up the crowd, enjoying his 15 years of fame, his nephew plans to be on line to see the proceedings, some guy named Robert is holding a place in line in the freezing cold for a party unnamed, at $20 an hour. Dan Schmutter, attorney for JPFO dropped by to see what’s up, this is definitely the hot ticket in town — all seats in Chambers are reserved, save for the precious few for the rabble (what we call the public).

Perhaps the most telling perspective came from a British theology professor visiting here, met in a bar on the frigid way home — he thinks the only rights you legitimately have are those the government gives you. You can have a gun if government “allows” it, with no ammo, locked in a locker, and this is freedom. If he was on the Court we’d be doomed. I’m not making this up.

Exhausted, need to pack, will observe tomorrow and provide my observations soon. Real soon.

Supreme Court official website:

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Alan Korwin
Bloomfield Press
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Mike Anger

Anxious to see this website