Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Guns: Heller oral arguments

The Heller oral arguments took place this morning, and here's a handy transcript in PDF form. For those unfamiliar with the appellate advocacy process, the oral arguments are nowhere near as important as the opening and closing arguments in a trial, so the omission or misstatement of certain arguments or facts by counsel for either side shouldn't be taken too seriously. After all, the Justices have already had plenty of time to review the briefs (including the dozens of amicus briefs) and to form an opinion.

Why have oral arguments then? It is a way to bring some transparency to what would otherwise be 9 people interpreting the law in a vacuum, but the final opinions would seem to me to be clear enough. In any case, the oral arguments can sometimes reveal where the Justices are leaning. From today's transcript, there's reason to hope the DC ban is going down, though I still fear a weak opinion that confirms the Second Amendment protects an individual right but that somehow contorts the law to uphold the DC ban.

It's a bit disheartening to hear some of my classmates, though. The "I don't want anyone to have guns" and the "It's impossible for citizens with guns to resist the government nowadays" attitudes are all too prevalent. May your chains rest lightly upon you in the future, I suppose. :-P

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