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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Today is the Day

This morning, both sides will have their day in court in District of Columbia vs. Heller, also known as the D.C. gun ban case. As Randy Barnett points out in this mornings' Wall Street Journal, because "the District of Columbia is a federal entity, Heller provides a clean application of the Second Amendment which, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, originally applied only to the federal government." Barnett continues that in order for a state or local gun law can be challenged, the Supreme Court must decide that the right to keep and bear arms is also protected by the 14th Amendment, which limits state powers. So, while it is not likely that the Court will issue such a broad ruling in this case, even a decision upholding an unqualified individual right in Heller would still be a significant victory for individual rights. The Court will likely issue their ruling in June at the end of the term, setting up a renewed emphasis on guns in the Presidential election no matter what the ruling.

You can hear the oral arguments at 11:30 AM on C-SPAN and at the C-SPAN web site. C-SPAN will also archive the audio if you can not hear it when it airs live.

UPDATE: The Presidential Candidates on today's historic case according the Washington Times:

Sen. John McCain: The McCain campaign issued this press release today -

Statement By John McCain On The DC Gun Ban Case Before The Supreme Court
ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain today issued the following statement on District of Columbia v. Heller:

"Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on District of Columbia v. Heller, a landmark case for all Americans who believe as I do that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. I am proud to have joined in an amicus brief to the Court calling for a ruling in keeping with the clear intent of our Founding Fathers, which ensures the Second Amendment rights of the residents of District of Columbia are reaffirmed."

Sen. Barack Obama: Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, said Mr. Obama "believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he greatly respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms."

"He also believes that the Constitution permits state and local governments to adopt reasonable and common-sense gun safety measures," she said, but would not elaborate on the whether the senator supports the D.C. gun ban. (Note: Mr. Obama did not join 55 of his Senate colleagues in signing the congressional amicus brief supporting Heller.)

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: did not respond to repeated requests from the Washington Times for comment on the Heller case. (Note: Mrs. Clinton did not join 55 of her senate colleagues in signing the congressional amicus brief supporting Heller.)

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