Today, barring some unforeseen development, the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down its decision in the D.C. gun control case, District of Columbia v. Heller. Heller is truly a blockbuster case, and the ruling — the Court’s first major pronouncement on the Second Amendment in 68 years (or arguably ever) — is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the entire Term.
When Heller was argued back in March, numerous people camped out overnight to secure seats in the courtroom for the historic proceedings. As you may recall, we took an ATL Field Trip to visit them (see here and here). We now revisit that day, in advance of the opinion hand-down later this morning, and pass along some photos we took of the Heller campers (and neglected to share before).
The mood among the crowd in front of One First Street was festive. The group included law students and recent alumni from Harvard, Duke, Georgetown, and GW law schools. The first seven people in line had camped out the night before our visit, meaning that they wound up sleeping in front of the Court for two consecutive nights to snag their coveted seats. There were also numerous members of the media present (e.g., a Swiss TV crew).
We took an informal survey of the first 20 campers, to find out their views on the case. Fifteen of the 20 supported Heller and an individual right to bear arms (although their views differed somewhat on what might constitute reasonable regulation). Four were in favor of the D.C. gun ban in its current form. One described himself as a “swing vote,” a la Justice Kennedy.
We also took some photographs. The picture appearing at the top of this post is of Richard Hohensee, previously introduced to ATL readers here. You can see the rest of the pics, which together constitute a photo essay of sorts about the Heller case, by clicking here (or on the Picasa web album link below).
Photo Album: District of Columbia v. Heller [Picasa]