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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Supreme Court Hears Long Awaited Gun Case

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments surrounding a challenge to the District of Columbia's ban on handguns. The widely anticipated case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is considered by many to be not only the most important case of the current Supreme Court term, but also the most important 2nd Amendment case in the Court's history. Linda Greenhouse, the New York Times Supreme Court reporter examined the arguments from both sides in an article published yesterday afternoon.

The argument was lively and intense, running 22 minutes over its allotted hour and 15 minutes. Despite “starting afresh,” as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. put it, on a subject the court had not addressed since 1939, the justices appeared at least as well informed as the lawyers on minute details of English and American legal history.

The relevance of that history, on which both sides have their distinguished experts, remains to be seen. There was also a good deal of linguistic dissection of the Second Amendment’s text: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
While advocates on both sides of the issue eagerly anticipated yesterday's court-room battle, both sides will now have to wait for several months, most likely until June, before a decision is released.

To read Linda Greenhouse's entire article in the New York Times, click here.

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