Anatomy of a Lawsuit: District of Columbia v. Heller

By Robert A. Levy
November 07, 2008
It took nearly 5-1/2 years of litigation, a feckless 32-year handgun ban in the nation’s capital, and a 69-yearold Supreme Court case, muddled and misinterpreted by appellate courts across the country. At the end, on June 26, 2008, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court proclaimed unequivocally that the Second Amendment secured an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. That was the holding in District of Columbia v. Heller, the most important Second Amendment case in U.S. history. Here’s how it happened: the legal team, the timing, the plaintiffs, the location, the role of the National Rifl e Association, and how the Justice Department nearly undermined our efforts...