Wednesday, November 18, 2009

McDonald v. Chicago - Petitioner's Brief

The Petitioner's Brief in the McDonald v. Chicago case, involving whether the 2d Amendment applies to the states, has been filed in the Supreme Court. See it here.

The brief spends 66 of its 73 pages arguing that the proper constitutional mechanism for incorporating the 2d amendment is the fourteenth amendment privileges or immunities clause (a provision that was improperly buried by the Supreme Court 136 years ago, in The Slaughter-House Cases - as I've discussed in these pages previously); then makes the conventional due process argument in the remaining pages.

Alan Gura, the attorney for the petitioners, recognizes the rare opportunity this case provides to right a monumental wrong that was perpetrated by a Southern-sympathetic Court after the Civil War, and he's done a terrific job making the arguments in this brief.

(My two articles on this topic - "Second Amendment Incorporation Through the Fourteenth Amendment Privileges or Immunities and Due Process Clauses" (in the 2007 Missouri Law Review); and "Rescuing the Privileges or Immunities Clause: How 'Attrition of Parliamentary Processes' Begat Accidental Ambiguity; How Ambiguity Begat Slaughter-House" (in the forthcoming 2009 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal) - are cited in this petitioner's brief at pages 29 and 52, respectively.)