2. Here's lawprof Randy Barnett in the Wall Street Journal, making some predictions. 1. The Second Amendment will be applied to the states via the 14th Amendment. (This issue didn't arise in the D.C. case, but "Justice Scalia acknowledges that the 39th Congress that enacted the 14th Amendment did so, in part, to protect the individual right to arms of freedmen and Southern Republicans so they might defend themselves from violence.") 2. "[M]ost existing gun regulations falling short of a ban will eventually be upheld. But more extreme or merely symbolic laws that are sometimes proposed – whose aim is to impose an 'undue burden' by raising the cost of gun production, ownership and sale – would likely be found unconstitutional."
3. Lawprof Sandy Levinson talks about the effect of the decision on the presidential race:
As a partisan Democrat, I confess to being relieved that the dissenters did not prevail, for the upholding of the D.C. ordinance would, in effect, have served as a massive in-kind campaign contribution to John McCain.And he can't stand the historical analysis:
Just imagine what might happen if Justice Kennedy had joined his more moderate colleagues, as he did just the day before in providing the all-important fifth vote to invalidate the death penalty for rapists of children. One sudders at the prospect of Sen. McCain, or some 527group, saying the current Court both wants to protect child rapists and prevent parents from possessing handguns to defend themselves and their children against such marauders. Now all that Sen. McCain can say is that “only one vote” stands between the protection of gun rights and the ability of the state to “take away your guns.”
If one had any reason to believe that either Scalia or Stevens was a competent historian, then perhaps it would be worth reading the pages they write. But they are not. Both opinions exhibit the worst kind of “law-office history,” in which each side engages in shamelessly (and shamefully) selective readings of the historical record in order to support what one strongly suspects are pre-determined positions. And both Scalia and Stevens treat each other—and, presumably, their colleagues who signed each of the opinions—with basic contempt, unable to accept the proposition, second nature to professional historians, that the historical record is complicated and, indeed, often contradictory....Yes, this is the convention, unfortunately, and it prevails among many commentators too.
Both Scalia and Stevens manifest what is worst about Supreme Court rhetoric, which is precisely the tone of sublime confidence when addressing even the most complex of issues.
3. Here's the New York Times editorial:
In a radical break from 70 years of Supreme Court precedent, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, declared that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to bear arms for nonmilitary uses, even though the amendment clearly links the right to service in a “militia.” The ruling will give gun-rights advocates a powerful new legal tool to try to strike down gun-control laws across the nation.See what I mean? The Times goes on to say:
This is a decision that will cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country. It will also diminish our standing in the world, sending yet another message that the United States values gun rights over human life.
Senator John McCain has said he would appoint justices like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito — both of whom supported this decision. If the court is allowed to tip even further to the far right, there will be even more damage done to the rights and the safety of Americans.But, of course, Barack Obama said the Court got the case right. How then does the perceived wrongness of the case cut against McCain? The Times is conceding a point about Obama that he might not want to concede! It is assuming that, whatever he says about the case, he will appoint the kind of Justice who would have decided it the other way.
4. There is an immense amount of great commentary at Volokh Conspiracy: Randy Barnett ("I believe Justice Scalia signaled that regulations short of a ban should be scrutinized the way we do 'time, place, and manner' regulations of speech when he equated the Second Amendment with the First..."), Jim Lindgren (on whether the Court created a "new right"), Orin Kerr (noting that Justice Breyer "tak[es] different approaches depending on which side of the culture wars the challenged law happens to fall"), Ilya Somin (warning that "judicial recognition of a constitutional right is only the beginning of the struggle to provide genuinely effective protection for that right"), Dale Carpenter (making 7 points about the case), Eugene Volokh (noting that academic scholarship really mattered, but not as much as who appoints the Justices).