Law & Economics Working Papers
In NRA v. City of Chicago, Judge Easterbrook held that the Second Amendment, which protects the right to keep and bear arms, did not bind state governments. This article examines the reasoning that he uses to reach that result, which it contrasts with the style of argumentation that led to the opposite conclusion in Judge O'Scannlain's decision in Norkdye v. King. Easterbrook's approach emphasized the imperative need for lower court deference to the Supreme Court's explicit Reconstruction Era holdings that the Second Amendment does not bind the states, even after the Supreme Court's game-changing decision in District of Columbia V. Heller and thus gave only scant attention to the various historical authorities that O'Scannlain referred to in Nordyke. On balance it appears that Easterbrook is against incorporation on a variety of historical and federalism grounds, none of which are likely to prevail when the Supreme Court addresses the issue of incorporation when it hears the case later in the 2009 October Term.
Richard A. Epstein, "NRA v. City of Chicago: Does the Second Amendment Bind Frank Easterbrook?" (John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics Working Paper No. 496, 2009).