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Constitutional Law

2010

Legal History

David B Kopel

Articles 1 - 4 of 4

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Right To Arms In The Living Constitution, David B. Kopel Jan 2010

The Right To Arms In The Living Constitution, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

This Article presents a brief history of the Second Amendment as part of the living Constitution. From the Early Republic through the present, the American public has always understood the Second Amendment as guaranteeing a right to own firearms for self-defense. That view has been in accordance with élite legal opinion, except for a period in part of the twentieth century.

"Living constitutionalism" should be distinguished from "dead constitutionalism." Under the former, courts looks to objective referents of shared public understanding of constitutional values. Examples of objective referents include state constitutions, as well as federal or state laws to protect ...


State Court Standards Of Review For The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, David B. Kopel, Clayton Cramer Jan 2010

State Court Standards Of Review For The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, David B. Kopel, Clayton Cramer

David B Kopel

Cases on the right to arms in state constitutions can provide useful guidance for courts addressing Second Amendment issues. Although some people have claimed that state courts always use a highly deferential version of "reasonableness," this article shows that many courts have employed rigorous standards, including the tools of strict scrutiny, such as overbreadth, narrow tailoring, and less restrictive means. Courts have also used categoricalism (deciding whether something is inside or outside the right) and narrow construction (to prevent criminal laws from conflicting with the right to arms). Even when formally applying "reasonableness," many courts have used reasonableness as a ...


The Keystone Of The Second Amendment: Quakers, The Pennsylvania Constitution, And The Questionable Scholarship Of Nathan Kozuskanich, David B. Kopel, Clayton Cramer Jan 2010

The Keystone Of The Second Amendment: Quakers, The Pennsylvania Constitution, And The Questionable Scholarship Of Nathan Kozuskanich, David B. Kopel, Clayton Cramer

David B Kopel

Historian Nathan Kozuskanich claims that the Second Amendment-like the arms provision of the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution-is only a guarantee of a right of individuals to participate in the militia, in defense of the polity. Kozuskanich’s claim about the Second Amendment is based on two articles he wrote about the original public meaning of the right to arms in Pennsylvania, including the 1776 and 1790 Pennsylvania constitutional arms guarantees.

Part I of this Article provides a straightforward legal history of the right to arms provisions in the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution and of the 1790 Pennsylvania Constitution. We examine Kozuskanich’s ...


Commerce In The Commerce Clause: A Response To Jack Balkin, David B. Kopel, Robert G. Natelson Jan 2010

Commerce In The Commerce Clause: A Response To Jack Balkin, David B. Kopel, Robert G. Natelson

David B Kopel

The Constitution’s original meaning is its meaning to those ratifying the document during a discrete time period: from its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in late 1787 until Rhode Island’s ratification on May 29, 1790. Reconstructing it requires historical skills, including a comprehensive approach to sources. Jack Balkin’s article Commerce fails to consider the full range of evidence and thereby attributes to the Constitution’s Commerce Clause a scope that virtually no one in the Founding Era believed it had.