Supreme Court Incorporates 2nd Amendment via 14th

Supreme Court Incorporates 2nd Amendment via 14th

(Alan Korwin, AzCDL Member and prolific author, whose books include The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide, has been following the McDonald v. Chicago case closely. Alan’s extensive research and material were used in crafting AzCDL’s amicus brief for this case. The following is Alan’s synopsis of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision.)

Arizona Citizens Defense League
Arizona Citizens Defense League

Catalina, AZ –-( The big headline in the U.S. Supreme Court’s McDonald v. Chicago gun-ban-case decision, handed down on June 28, 2010, is that the states are now bound by the Second Amendment — the right to keep and bear arms is “incorporated” under the 14th Amendment and applies to the states, under the Due Process clause used to apply other Bill of Rights requirements to the states.

Exactly how bound the states are is unknown, and will be the subject of endless debate and future court actions. No standard of review for acceptable laws is provided, although the extremely low and virtually meaningless standard of “interest balancing” that Breyer would like to see is apparently off the table. This leaves legislatures and lower courts to pretty much do as they please, and seek further SCOTUS clarification in the years to come.

The decision does however give the pro-rights forces a strong leg up at the bargaining table.

The very troubling sub-head of the story is that Chicago apparently will be free to act like Washington, D.C. did after Heller. Chicago under Mayor Daley is likely to do everything it can — including maneuvers that will be totally rejected as unconstitutional –– to keep its people repressed and deny, as fully as possible, the right to own, have and use guns for personal defense and other lawful purposes.

While we on the pro-rights side of the aisle had hoped for “reversed,” meaning the 7th Circuit decision saying we had no rights would be overturned, what we got was “reversed and remanded,” meaning the 7th Circuit will get another crack at the law, and do something to make it acceptable. If precedent is any gauge, they’ll do as little as they can, and be subject to another lawsuit and endless wrestling with our rights.

This extraordinarily event-filled day at the Court included Justice Stevens’ last day in public as a member, Justice Ginsburg’s husband’s death the night before, the beginning of Senate confirmation hearings for liberal High Court candidate Elena Kagan, and the much awaited McDonald decision, on this the last day of the current session.

Although some people had held out hope that Sotomayor, in her first gun case, would lean on her known respect for civil rights and find for the right to keep and bear, she turned out to be the leftist most expected, and voted for denial of rights in the 5-4 squeaker decision. She joined Breyer’s dissent, a masterpiece of odd reasoning and lack of appreciation for this fundamental right (based on a very quick overview). Kagan, cut from similar cloth, is likely to respond similarly if confirmed.

The McDonald v. Chicago decision is a 214-page document, with a six-page syllabus (the summary that precedes decisions), a 45-page decision of the Court written by Justice Alito, a 15-page concurrence by Scalia, a separate 56-page concurrence by Thomas, and two dissents — 57 pages from Stevens, and 31 pages from Breyer (joined by Ginsburg and Sotomayor), who includes a four-page appendix. That’s a lot of reading (116 pages of “you have rights,” 92 pages of “you should not”), and by the time you see this, news organizations will have moved on to other subjects, but I will have just finished figuring out what the Court actually said.

AzCDL – Protecting Your Freedom

AzCDL believes that the emphasis of gun laws should be on criminal misuse and that law-abiding citizens should be able to own and carry firearms unaffected by unnecessary laws or regulations. AzCDL was founded by a group of local activists who recognized that a sustained, coordinated, statewide effort was critical to protecting and expanding the rights of law-abiding gun owners. As a like-minded coalition of activists, the AzCDL founders were instrumental in the successful passage of the first major improvement to Arizona’s CCW (concealed carry) laws since they were instituted in 1994. Visit: