The gun-control case of District of Columbia v. Heller is shaping up as the case that finally forces the Supreme Court to decide one of the most keenly debated issues in constitutional law: the full meaning of the right to keep and bear arms declared by the Second Amendment, says Legal Times. Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty is appealing a March 9 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that struck down the city’s handgun ban on Second Amendment grounds. The Court has given the city until Sept. 5 to file, and residents who want the ban overturned say they too want high court review. The case could be argued early next year.
Some factions are getting cold feet, though. Alan Gura, the Alexandria, Va., lawyer who masterminded the challenge to the D.C. handgun ban, says the National Rifle Association has joined him “ever so grudgingly” only in recent weeks, after years of trying to wreck the litigation and avoid a Second Amendment showdown. On the pro-gun-control side, some cities and states worry that if the Supreme Court upholds the circuit decision, their efforts to regulate firearms will be in jeopardy. A natural candidate to argue the case will be Alan Morrison, former head of the Public Citizen Litigation Group, who is joining the D.C. Attorney General’s staff beginning Sept. 4. Morrison, who has argued 16 cases before the high court, is a “a huge talent,” says Henigan.