District Of Columbia V. Miller Case Summary

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In my first case, I will analyze the Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. In this case, in a 5-4 decision, the Court overrules its decision in United States v. Miller, in which, it stated that the Second Amendment only protects the right to keep and bear arms in relation with service in a well-regulated, government sponsored militia. In the majority opinion of Heller, Scalia divides the Second Amendment into two parts: the prefatory clause and the operative clause. The prefatory clause is the first half of the Second Amendment, it reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” while the operative clause is the second half of the Amendment: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall…show more content…
Scalia points out that the operative clause contains the phrase, “right of the people,” which is only used two other times in the First and Fourth Amendments. Scalia argues that all instances of this phrase have pointed towards individual rights. He goes on to state that because of this it can be presumed that the Second Amendment is meant to be interpreted as an individual right. While it is true that Miller and Heller dealt with two different types of firearms, the interpretations of the cases led to two different outcomes. In Miller, the Court stated that the firearm in question does not further the cause of a government sponsored militia, which essentially means that only those participating in a government sponsored militia are guaranteed the right to possess a firearm. However, Heller overturns this decision by the means of Scalia’s interpretation of the Second Amendment provided above. Since the Second Amendment’s prefatory clause does not limit its operative clause, the Amendment can be interpreted as an individual right available to all citizens of the United States, not just those who serve in a

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