Gun Case Tied to Looming High Court Vacancy

Yesterday, the Committee for Justice submitted an amicus (friend of the court) brief in McDonald v. Chicago, the landmark Second Amendment case in which the Supreme Court will decide whether the right to keep and bear arms applies to state and local gun laws. District of Columbia v. Heller, the High Court’s 2008 decision recognizing the Second Amendment as an individual right, left the question of incorporation to the states unaddressed. The Family Research Council, the American Civil Rights Union, and Let Freedom Ring are also amici on the brief, written primarily by Kenneth Klukowski. Regarding CFJ’s interest in the case, the brief explains that“At the core of CFJ’s mission is the need for objective judicial interpretation of the United States Constitution, based on the document’s text and original meaning rather than on the political ideology, feelings, and life experiences of judges. Accordingly, CFJ believes that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms must be afforded the same protection, at all levels of government, as the other fundamental rights in the Bill of Rights.”

If the Court decides to apply the Second Amendment to the states, as CFJ urges, it will have to decide whether to incorporate it via the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause or Privileges or Immunities Clause. CFJ argues that the Privileges or Immunities Clause is the most appropriate vehicle in light of the original meaning and text of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. Among the reasons why Privileges or Immunities is most appropriate is the Clause’s explicit limitation to “the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States” (the Due Process Clause has no such limitation). That the Founding Fathers intended the same limit on the Second Amendment is demonstrated both by its reference to “the right of the people” – Supreme Court precedent demonstrates that constitutional references to “the people” refer to the cit