U.S. Supreme Court

Second Amendment Gun Ruling Expected Today

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The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue the three final rulings of the term today, including a decision on whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns.

At issue is whether the amendment protects only the right of state militias to bear arms or whether it extends to individuals.

SCOTUSblog predicts that Justice Antonin Scalia will write the majority opinion in the gun case, District of Columbia v. Heller. During oral arguments in the case, Scalia appeared to endorse the individual rights interpretation of the amendment, which reads: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

If an individual right is found, the next question is whether it protects all forms of gun ownership. Solicitor General Paul Clement had argued that although the amendment protects an individual right to own guns, it also allows reasonable regulation of firearms. Clement said the case before the court, involving a ban on handguns by the District of Columbia, should be returned to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit with directions to apply heightened scrutiny, rather than strict scrutiny, to the law.

The two other remaining cases:

Davis v. Federal Election Commission. The case challenges the so-called millionaire’s amendment, which permits candidates to accept larger campaign contributions when self-financed opponents spend heavily. Candidate Jack Davis, who lost a congressional race in New York despite spending $2.2 million of his own money, claims the amendment violates his First Amendment rights. He also argues that Congress does not have the power to try to equalize campaign resources among candidates.

Morgan Stanley Capital Group v. Public Utility District No. 1. At issue is whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acted appropriately when it refused to allow energy companies to renegotiate unfavorable long-term contracts with power suppliers. The companies originally sought the long-term contracts after spot market prices for energy in California skyrocketed, partly because of criminal activity.

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