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NRA v. City of Chicago: Does the Second Amendment Bind Frank Easterbrook?

21 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2009  

Richard A. Epstein

New York University School of Law; Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: November 13, 2009

Abstract

In NRA v. City of Chicago, Judge Easterbrook held that the Second Amendment, which protects the right to keep and bear arms, did not bind state governments. This article examines the reasoning that he uses to reach that result, which it contrasts with the style of argumentation that led to the opposite conclusion in Judge O’Scannlain’s decision in Norkdye v. King. Easterbrook’s approach emphasized the imperative need for lower court deference to the Supreme Court’s explicit Reconstruction Era holdings that the Second Amendment does not bind the states, even after the Supreme Court’s game-changing decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and thus gave only scant attention to the various historical authorities that O’Scannlain referred to in Nordyke. On balance it appears that Easterbrook is against incorporation on a variety of historical and federalism grounds, none of which are likely to prevail when the Supreme Court addresses the issue of incorporation when it hears the case later in the 2009 October Term.

Suggested Citation

Epstein, Richard A., NRA v. City of Chicago: Does the Second Amendment Bind Frank Easterbrook? (November 13, 2009). University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 77, No. 4, 2010; U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 496. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1505608 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1505608

Richard A. Epstein (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

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Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

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University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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