Thursday, June 26, 2008

DC v. Heller - First Impressions

Not done reading it yet, but I am done for today. I prefer to hold my comments until I've read the whole thing, and this one is 60+ pages for the majority opinion, and 157 pages total!

Preliminary opinion, based on the syllabus, what I've read so far, and what I've seen on other blogs? More good than bad: it established the 2nd Amendment as protecting an individual right, which is very important, and gives lower courts a good starting point. On the other hand, it does not rule out licensing and/or registration. On the gripping hand, for jurisdictions that do require licensing and/or registration, it seems to say that only shall-issue would be constitutional.
Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.
District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller, Slip Op., p. 64 ( p. 67 of the PDF) (emphasis added)

Additionally, while the majority does not specifically address the scrutiny issue, footnote 27 is promising because it outright rejects rational basis scrutiny.
If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis, the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect.
Heller, Slip Op., Footnote 27, p. 56, 57 (p. 59, 60 of the PDF)

While footnotes are considered dicta, footnotes in a Supreme Court majority opinion are often considered more binding than circuit court decisions, and are usually given more weight by lower courts than the dissenting opinion in the same case.

Well, that's more than I planned on getting into tonight. More later this weekend!

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