McDonald v. Chicago

The Supreme Court decided McDonald v. Chicago, the sequel to D.C. v. Heller, this morning. A majority held that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments and threw out Chicago's ban on handguns. A plurality of four Justices (Alito, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy) held that the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, and avoided addressing the question of whether the Slaughterhouse Cases, which long ago castrated the other half of the 14th Amendment, the Privileges or Immunities Clause, should be reconsidered. One Justice, Justice Thomas, wrote a separate opinion concurring in the judgment, but asserting his opposition to the doctrine of substantive due process which has been used since Slaughterhouse to enforce substantive restrictions against the state governments. Instead, he concluded that the Privileges or Immunities Clause was the more straightforward route.

The slip opinion is available at the Supreme Court's website [direct link, PDF].

Tom G Varik