SCOTUS Decides Chicago Gun Case – Slaughterhouse Left Undisturbed

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago today. The opinion is here (it is a whopper, so don't reflexively print) and my resource page with briefs, news and analysis is here. Most important element first: Slaughterhouse was NOT overruled. Justice Alito, writing for the majority said: As previously noted, the Seventh Circuit concluded that Cruikshank, Presser, and Miller doomed petitioners'claims at the Court of Appeals level. Petitioners argue,however, that we should overrule those decisions and hold that the right to keep and bear arms is one of the "privi-leges or immunities of citizens of the United States." In petitioners' view, the Privileges or Immunities Clause protects all of the rights set out in the Bill of Rights, as well as some others, see Brief for Petitioners 10, 14, 15-21, but petitioners are unable to identify the Clause's full scope, Tr. of Oral Arg. 5-6, 8-11. Nor is there any consen-sus on that question among the scholars who agree that the Slaughter-House Cases' interpretation is flawed. See Saenz, supra, at 522, n. 1 (THOMAS, J., dissenting). We see no need to reconsider that interpretation here. For many decades, the question of the rights protected bythe Fourteenth Amendment against state infringement has been analyzed under the Due Process Clause of that Amendment and not under the Privileges or Immunities Clause. We therefore decline to disturb the Slaughter-House holding. Fear of the unknown. Reversing Slaughterhouse, despite its ill conceived rationale, would thrust constitutional law into a state of flux. Better the devil you know? [That being said, this is why we have courts]. More to follow after I've read.

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