Mr. Dooley Returns, Packing Heat

Slate's blog on legal issues.
March 27 2008 8:25 AM

Mr. Dooley Returns, Packing Heat

This new Gallup poll suggests that if, as Mr. Dooley says, the Supreme Court follows the election returns (or more correctly, national public opinion) it will hold that there is an individual right to keep and bear arms unconnected with militia service, and that regulation of gun use is also perfectly fine. Approximately 73 percent of the public believes that there is an individual right to keep and bear arms unconnected with militia service, while 87 percent want gun laws to be as strict as they are now or stricter.

Many of the arguments for Second Amendment rights are originalist in form. But the adoption of individual Second Amendment rights in 2008 is consistent with living constitutionalism. The court (or at least what people predict the court will do) is responding to contemporary values and attitudes about guns, attitudes that have developed in the past three decades as a result of sustained social and political mobilization. The lesson: Don't assume that living constitutionalism only swings to the left. It doesn't.

Jack M. Balkin is Knight professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
Oct. 23 2014 11:51 AM It Seems No One Is Rich or Happy: I Looked
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.