Symposium on Parker:
National Review Online this morning has a symposium on Rearming: The D.C. gun ban gets overruled featuring John Eastman, Cam Edwards, Alan Gura (lead counsel for the plaintiffs), Dave Koppel, John Lott, Nelson Lund, Clark Neily (another attorney for the plaintiffs), and me. Here is my take on the likelihood the case will be reversed either en banc or by the Supreme Court:
When discussing with my wife the Supreme Court justices’ possible reaction to the Parker case, she observed that “it would be really exciting if they followed the Constitution.” Indeed! But I predict they won’t hear the case. True, the federal circuits now disagree about the original meaning of the Second Amendment. But there is no “circuit split” on the constitutionality of either the D.C. statute or a comparable federal statute banning all hand guns. The constitutionality of state statutes, such as have been upheld in other circuits, is complicated by the need to apply the Fourteenth Amendment, so those precedents are legally distinct. Further, because Solicitor General Paul Clement may well agree with the majority’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, as does the current Justice Department, he may oppose granting Cert. Given that even liberal justices have long ducked this issue in the past, it would be very risky for them to take it up now that the Court is more conservative, textualist, and originalist. Of course, the case could be reversed en banc by the D.C. Circuit, but again I doubt it. Unlike the protection of an unenumerated right that makes judicial conservatives nervous — like the right to life at issue in Abigail Alliance — the proposition that the Second Amendment protects an enumerated individual right applicable to the federal government unites originalist-inclined judges, whether conservative or libertarian. Moreover, that Judge Silberman is highly respected, his opinion is powerfully reasoned, and the dissenting opinion is astonishingly weak, all argue against an en banc review. But wouldn’t it be exciting if . . . ?However, I have no confidence whatsoever in my powers of prediction. You can offer your own predictions, or reactions to the other views expressed in the symposium, here.
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