Walter E. Dellinger, arguing on behalf of the D.C.
Paul Drew Clement, arguing on behalf of the United States, supporting a personal right to keep guns, but opposing a decision to rule the handgun ban unconstitutional.
Alan Gura, arguing on behalf of Dick Anthony Heller
I've listened to the arguements while following along on the transcript and I have to say that I'm pretty much in awe of the sheer intelligence of these justices, even those who I dont agree with. This case was so important that they allowed the oral argument to run a lot longer than the usual hour.
Today, for the first time EVER, the supreme court was finally forced to interpret the 2nd amendment. It amazes me that this amendment was left untouched by the courts and almost without precedent for such a long time. For many decades the popular liberal arguement has been that the constitution does not provide an individual right to own a gun, it merely establishes that the states can set up militias. Some states or the feds can choose to allow gun ownership, but it isnt a right. Its always tricky to presume to know what the court ruling will be from the oral arguements, but at this point it is probably very safe to say that this arguement is now over. Done, dead, finito. The justices have given a very clear signal that they are ready to rule that the 2nd amendment does guarantee a personal right to own guns.
When Justice Kennedy stated flat-out that he believed the amendment gave a personal right to own guns only about 10-15 minutes into the oral arguements, the lawyer representing the D.C. recognized that he had at least 5 votes against him, gave that line of attack up, and fell back to the 2nd arguement that if there is a right to own guns, then the handgun ban is still a reasonable restriction of that right. (Heck, we might even have a 6-3 or higher majority in favor of the right, even Ginsberg didnt bother to seriously question it, she was more interested in arguing that the handgun ban was a reasonable restriction for D.C.)
On the question of the personal right to have guns, it seems the only question left is what restrictions on that right are reasonable. Ban certain types of guns (as in D.C.)? Trigger locks? Just require reasonable licensing and competency standards and thats it like Heller's lawyer was asking for? The justices have also signalled (to my understanding anyway) that they are very uncomfortable with the opposite extreme of having no restrictions at all like some purist libertarians advocate, so we'll probably be debating reasonable restrictions for the next 10+ years. Even the first amendment has a few restrictions, we just need to figure out how high of a standard the legislative body must meet to apply a restriction of the 2nd amendment right.
Didn't see any topics on this on page 1. It'll be interesting to see how the votes break down.
It is legal to own a gun in DC, just not a handgun.
How will a ruling in favor of the gun owners not open the door to overturning all regulations limiting gun ownership.
What is the difference between a law that restricts handgun ownership and the law that limits ownership of full auto weapons?