Second Amendment

Listen closely. Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of gun rights advocates emitting a yawning silence over the death of Michael Brown. An unarmed teen was shot dead in the street, sparking a national controversy. In any other situation like that, the Second Amendment nuts would be telling us that perhaps the victim could have “defended himself” if he had a gun.

In other news, citizens’ constitutional rights are being abridged by state actors. The Second Amendment is there, at least in part, so that ordinary citizens may defend themselves should the state unlawfully abridge constitutional rights… so the story goes. If the Feds were trying to bring medicine into an episode of Doomsday Preppers, gun nuts would be talking about their rights to a well armed militia. In Ferguson, the government is arresting journalists, and not a peep for those who think the Second Amendment is necessary to give citizens the ability to defend their constitutional rights. The Daily Beast called out the NRA today. This is the kind of situation the NRA usually politicizes to full effect….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Where You At, You Hypocritical Second Amendment Advocates?”

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Friday, Justice Stevens wrote about his proposal to correct the Second Amendment. His proposal to “add five words” to the Second Amendment to fix it comes from his new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution (affiliate link).

It’s a worthy endeavor for a former justice to examine the Constitution and propose the changes that judicial interpretation alone cannot reach (or at least are not reaching for political reasons). However, if his solutions to the other five amendments are as dumb as his answer to the Second Amendment, we’re all in trouble….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice Stevens Tries To Solve Gun Crisis The Dumbest Way Possible”

Reema Bajaj

* In his year-end report, Chief Justice Roberts politely asked Congress to make it rain on the federal judiciary in fiscal year 2014, because “[t]he future would be bleak” without additional funding. [Reuters]

* Utah finally asked for Supreme Court intervention in its quest to stop gay couples from marrying, but Justice Sotomayor wants a response from the other side before she weighs in. WWSSD? [BuzzFeed]

* Perhaps Justice Sotomayor saw the humor in this: she just gave a group of nuns a temporary reprieve from having to give out birth control to a bunch of women who have taken vows of chastity. [Bloomberg]

* Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego Steven Davis? Oh boy, Dewey have some news for you! The failed firm’s former chairman is now the chief legal representative for Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “The Second Amendment does not preclude reasonable regulation.” A judge upheld the majority of New York’s new gun laws as constitutional. Opponents are ready to lock and load on appeal. [New York Times]

* Just because your law school isn’t ranked, it doesn’t mean you can’t dream big. Case in point: one of this year’s Skadden Fellows will graduate from John Marshall (Chicago) this spring. [National Law Journal]

* Reema Bajaj, the attorney who pleaded guilty to a prostitution charge, decided that she wasn’t in the mood to ride this Johnson any longer. Like her panties, the case has been dropped. [Daily Chronicle]


The United States stands alone in its permissive laws regarding gun ownership among major industrialized powers. But the United States is also one of the most heterogeneous countries on the planet. Are those two factors related? Could it be that our fear of each other inspires pro-gun laws that one doesn’t see in less diverse cultures?

There’s an argument that the Second Amendment itself was adopted to defend slavery. Please note: I don’t agree with this argument. I think the Second Amendment was adopted because we’d just fought a war that we couldn’t have won without the martial powers of citizens militias. That’s why “A well regulated Militia” is right in the text of the Amendment (a phrase modern gun nuts are quick to gloss over). But it’s clear that widespread gun ownership helped white plantation owners keep control of their slaves. And the right to bear arms was certainly useful when it came time to “settle” additional territory away from the people who were already living there. Gun rights, who has them, and who does not, are inextricably tied to our history of racial oppression.

Do these “race-war” justifications for gun ownership still apply to our modern understanding of the right? A new study suggests that they could…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is The Second Amendment Racist?”

Here’s your fact pattern. You’re a young prosecutor and you get assigned a file for a troubled young woman.

She’s charged with a number of crimes, mostly revolving around meth, because it’s Oklahoma and there’s nothing else to do but meth and trade complaints about Texas.

But then you study the file a little more and see that the woman was caught with a loaded gun. Nothing too surprising there.

In her vagina.

Wait, what?!?

You know what they say, if you outlaw guns jammed in vaginas, only outlaws will have guns jammed in vaginas…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Woman Concealed a Handgun… Where?”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Righteous Indignation, our new column for conservative-minded lawyers.

In Houston last weekend, the National Rifle Association held its 2013 national convention. Although Houston is my once (and future) home, I did not attend the convention. I did, however, watch videos of several of the Leadership Forum speakers, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. You can watch them online too if you (a) care to hear the NRA’s platform articulated by people with very nice hair, (b) wish to entertain your morbid liberal curiosity, or (c) want to see Glenn Beck get choked with emotion about freedom — again.

Also in the last few days, the website Neighborhood Scout released a list of “the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.” The rankings relied on the violent crime rate per 1,000 residents, 2011 census tracts and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and violent crime statistics from the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, and local law enforcement agencies. They defined “violent crimes” as murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, and forcible rape. (You know, the legitimate kind of rape.)

Two of the neighborhoods in the top 15 on that list are areas where I have lived, worked, or studied. In one of those neighborhoods, the 2011 violent crime rate was 91.27 per 1,000 residents. A resident there has a one in 11 chance per year of becoming the victim of violent crime.

I was never the victim of violent crime in those parts of town, though I experienced several thefts and one burglary while living nearby. Even so, taking advantage of Texas’s option of a concealed carry permit and a manageably small-caliber handgun seemed like a sensible option to at least consider. Why should I be the only one who thinks a responsible, safety-conscious response to a high-crime urban neighborhood is to purchase and carry a firearm?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Righteous Indignation: Why Is the NRA So White?”

* If you’re looking for an easy résumé line, then consider joining the Supreme Court bar, an elite organization that doesn’t check to see if its members are still alive. All you need is three years of practice, two signatures, and $200. [Associated Press]

* Stanley Chesley, the master of disaster himself, was disbarred for his “shocking and reprehensible” conduct in a fen-phen case. His wife, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott of the Southern District of Ohio, must be oh so pleased. [Courier-Journal]

* Howrey like dem apples now? Some of Howrey’s former partners, including ex-chairman Robert Ryuak, all lined up to make deals to delay lawsuits from the firm’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* This Biglaw firm’s future was just a little bit dimmer in 2012, with a 4.9 percent dip in profits per equity partner. This is unexpected from Milbank, a number 3 seed in our March Madness competition. [Am Law Daily]

* The NRA’s New York affiliate filed suit challenging the state’s new gun laws, claiming that a ban on assault weapons violates the Second Amendment — because this is clearly what the founders intended. [Reuters]

* Raj Rajaratnam’s younger brother, Rengan Rajaratnam, was indicted yesterday in a federal insider-trading scheme tied to the Galleon case. You can’t fault the guy, he was just trying to keep it in the family. [Bloomberg]

* Sorry, Dean Boland, but you’re not going anywhere. A judge denied the attorney’s request to withdraw from Paul Ceglia’s Facebook case. He must be wishing there were a dislike button now. [Law 360 (sub. req.)]

I think I’m supposed to like this story: A man was walking along the street, enjoying a legal activity. He was stopped and harrassed by a police officer, and instead of giving in, he used his legal training to argue with the officer and defend his rights. Truly one of the best uses of a law degree is intellectually defending yourself “when they come for you” as it were.

Normally, I’m a fan of this kind of thing.

But the “legal” activity this guy was “enjoying” was walking around with a firearm. And his way of talking to the police officer sounded less like Atticus Finch and more like a punk bitch.

And I can’t shake the feeling that if this guy were black, if this was an African-American male strutting around with a firearm who then got mouthy with the police and refused to show ID, he be sitting in The Tombs right now.

Or the morgue…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mouthy, Gun-Toting Law Student Talks Back To Police Officer, Doesn’t Get Shot 51 Times”

* Congress isn’t standing up to the Supreme Court as much as it used to. [SCOTUSblog]

* The Second Circuit really wants you to use a current email address. [Find Law]

* A bar exam for teachers? Why would we create a system that would make BAR/BRI more money? [Constitutional Daily]

* I kind of wish that everybody who offers an opinion on gun safety laws was required to have a law degree just so they could understand what’s actually being proposed. [Media Matters]

* Not that getting a bunch of constitutional lawyers together is a recipe for compromise on the Second Amendment. I just want people to know what’s being talked about. [Huffington Post]

* Stupid law firm slogan time! [Legal Cheek]

* Henry Blodget defends internet trolls everywhere. [The Awl]

* A Charleston School of Law student leader was arrested for stalking. I’m not sure how else Charleston Law students are supposed to get jobs. [Fitsnews]

* I think this is a very poor reading of the history of the Second Amendment that is making the rounds. Sure, having weapons really helped slaveholders, but that’s not “the reason” the Second Amendment was ratified. The founders had better reasons… reasons that have nothing at all to do with the time we live in, but that’s a different story. [Truthout]

* By the way, you saw that Obama nominated a black lawyer for something, right? Since the Republicans in Congress are so concerned about Obama’s record on diverse appointments, I’m sure Todd Jones will be confirmed super quickly. [Daily Beast]

* Should pet owners be allowed to recover for “sentimental value”? A Texas case might answer that question. I’m looking forward to the companion case in Arkansas where pet owners try to recover from loss of consortium. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* I’d be shocked if this Manti Te’o thing doesn’t end up with somebody suing someone for something. [New York Daily News]

* There’s going to be a law and robots conference at Stanford in April. Because we all know how much robots love law. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

Page 1 of 212