Monday, March 17, 2008

2nd Amendment history at the Court

The Supreme Court hears arguments tomorrow in District of Columbia v. Heller, a rare Second Amendment case challenging the ban on handguns in Washington, D.C. Historians have filed briefs on both sides of the case on the question of the Second Amendment's historical meaning. There are also a number of new and older articles on the topic recently posted on SSRN.

There is a very long list of Amicus briefs in the case. The principal history briefs are, supporting the District of Columbia's defense of its law, the Brief of Jack N. Rakoffe, Saul Cornell, David T. Konig, William J. Novak, Lois G. Schoewerer, et al. On the other side is the BRIEF OF THE CATO INSTITUTE AND HISTORY PROFESSOR JOYCE LEE MALCOLM.

Paul Finkelman, Albany, has just posted his article, 'A Well Regulated Militia': The Second Amendment in Historical Perspective. Douglas G. Smith, Mason, has a recent paper, The Second Amendment and the Supreme Court. Clayton E. Cramer and Joseph Olson, Hamlin, have two recent papers, Pistols, Crime, and Public Safety in Early America, and a comparative paper about Britain, Gun Control: Political Fears Trump Crime Control. Historian Nathan Kozuskanich, Nipissing University, Ontario has a short piece on HNN, The Right to Bear Arms? What History Tells Us, discussing his argument in a longer article, ORIGINALISM, HISTORY, AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT: WHAT DID BEARING ARMS REALLY MEAN TO THE FOUNDERS? More on 2nd Amendment history is here.

For general background on the case, try the SCOTUS Wiki. For breaking news, the SCOTUS Blog is usually best. Various law blog reactions can be found here.

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