- Professor Josh Blackman, South Texas Law
The Supreme Court's 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller recognized for the first time in our history that individual Americans have a right to gun ownership. Justice Scalia's opinion in Heller is widely regarded as a signal success for his originalist approach to constitutional interpretation. This panel will assess Heller's contribution to the law. How originalist was the opinion? Have the lower courts been faithful in applying Heller to issues outside its narrow holding? Is the Court likely to read Heller broadly or narrowly in the future?
This panel was held on November 18, 2016, during the 2016 National Lawyers Convention in Washington, DC.
Civil Rights: The Second Amendment: Enforcing the Heller Decision
12:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
The Mayflower Hotel
In a per curiam opinion issued on March 21, 2016, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded a decision by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upholding a state law prohibiting the possession of stun guns, finding that the decision was inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. Justices Alito and Thomas issued a concurring opinion which would have gone further in finding the Massachusetts statute unconstitutional. Our expert discussed the case and its implications for the Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence going forward.
In July, the Illinois State Rifle Association filed an emergency motion for an injunction to bar the state from enforcing the ban on carrying firearms in public. On Thursday, October 3, 2013, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over the injunction request. David Thompson, who argued the case before a three-judge panel including Judge Richard Posner, joined us on a Teleforum conference call to speak about ongoing litigation on gun rights in the 7th circuit.
On September 12, 2013, the Illinois State Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in People v. Aguilar striking down a section of the state's Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapons statue as unconstitutional, saying that it violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The court drew upon the U.S. Supreme Court opinions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, as well as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2012 ruling in Moore v. Madigan. Our expert will provide analysis and discussion of the opinion.