The Second Amendment in Context: The Case of the Vanishing Predicate
198 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2007
Analyzes Supreme Court case law of Second Amendment. Traces the historical foundations of the Second Amendment in 17th and 18th century Anglo-American political thought, stressing the anti-standing-army trope in republican discourse. Explores the role of army and militia ideology in the American Revolution, and examines the drafting history of the Second Amendment. Explains that the militia of the framers - perhaps always more an ideal than an operating reality - disappeared in the early decades of the nineteenth century, and argues that the constitutionally described right to arms is largely without meaning absent the universal, compulsory privately armed state sponsored militia on which it was premised. Engages theories of constitutional construction and interpretation, and debates the interpretations of the right to arms developed by Akhil Amar, Carl Bogus, Sanford Levinson, and William Van Alstyne.
Keywords: Supreme Court, Second Amendment, militia, American Revolution, James Madison, Bill of Rights, Militia Act, constitutional interpretation, original meaning, classical republicanism, United States Army, National Guard, Akhil Amar, Carl Bogus, Sanford Levinson, William Van Alstyne
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