Monday, June 28, 2010

McDonald v. Chicago - SCOTUS, Guns, GMU and Employers

It was a big day at the Supreme Court today. It will take a few entries for me to work through everything I'd like to address, but I'll start with this post and McDonald v. Chicago. The Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment is incorporated through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In other words, the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments.

What's that got to do with me and/or employment law? Glad you asked...

  • First, on page 2 footnote 2 of Justice Stevens' dissent (p. 124 of the .pdf), he cites the George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal! Once upon a time, I was the Managing Editor of this fine publication. A Supreme Court citation is a big deal for GMU and the Journal.
  • Second, it clears one of the hurdles on the path to establishing Second Amendment Unemployment Compensation
  • Third, the case was not the "employment law blockbuster" that some had hoped for. The theory was that the Supreme Court would protect a right to bear arms through the privileges or immunities clause thus bringing that forgotten clause back from the dead to provide all kinds of new (sleeping?) rights. Only Justice Thomas embraced this theory and he only addressed the right to bear arms.

Random sidenote: Justice Scalia references Justice Stevens by name in every single paragraph of his concurring opinion save one. That one paragraph continues to discuss "he" who is clearly still Justice Stevens.

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.