A Liberal Case for Gun Rights Sways Judiciary

A Liberal Case for Gun Rights Sways Judiciary - A Liberal...

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A Liberal Case for Gun Rights Sways Judiciary Sign In to E-Mail or Save This Print Single Page Reprints Share o Linkedin o Digg o Facebook o Mixx o Yahoo! Buzz o Permalink By ADAM LIPTAK Published: May 6, 2007 Correction Appended In March, for the first time in the nation’s history, a federal appeals court struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds. Only a few decades ago, the decision would have been unimaginable. There used to be an almost complete scholarly and judicial consensus that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right of the states to maintain militias. That consensus no longer exists — thanks largely to the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors, who have come to embrace the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns. In those two decades, breakneck speed by the standards of constitutional law, they have helped to reshape the debate over gun rights in the United States. Their work culminated in the March decision, Parker v. District of Columbia, and it will doubtless play a major role should the case reach the United States Supreme Court . Laurence H. Tribe , a law professor at Harvard, said he had come to believe that the Second Amendment protected an individual right.
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“My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Professor Tribe said. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.” The first two editions of Professor Tribe’s influential treatise on constitutional law, in 1978 and 1988, endorsed the collective rights view. The latest, published in 2000, sets out his current interpretation. Several other leading liberal constitutional scholars, notably Akhil Reed Amar at Yale and Sanford Levinson at the University of Texas , are in broad agreement favoring an individual rights interpretation. Their work has in a remarkably short time upended the conventional understanding of the Second Amendment, and it set the stage for the Parker decision. The earlier consensus, the law professors said in interviews, reflected received wisdom and
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This note was uploaded on 06/20/2010 for the course BUSN law taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '09 term at DeVry Oak Brook.

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A Liberal Case for Gun Rights Sways Judiciary - A Liberal...

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