EP 245 Bob Levy on the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court

Jim talks with Bob Levy about the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, in the Supreme Court. They discuss Bob’s late-career move to law, never being too old to reinvent yourself, how Bob got involved in a pivotal Supreme Court case in establishing the modern interpretation of the Second Amendment, the text of the Second Amendment, District of Columbia v. HellerUnited States v. MillerUnited States v. Emerson, the scholarship around framing the Second Amendment as an individual right, the state of play of gun control in D.C. at the time, the handgun ban, handguns in the home for self-defense, the NRA case & a rookie error by the NRA’s lawyers, legal strategy in the Heller case, sufficient vs necessary conditions for exercising the right, the meaning of “well-regulated,” the specific holdings in Heller, the meaning of fundamental rights, Breyer’s dissent against Scalia’s opinion, the rational basis standard, McDonald v. City of ChicagoNew York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, “good moral character,” the murky precedent of striking down laws that weren’t present during the framing era, a strict scrutiny approach, speculations on the future of Second Amendment jurisprudence, ghost guns, and much more.

Bob Levy was, for 14 years, chairman of the board of directors at the Cato Institute. He is now chairman emeritus. Bob joined Cato as senior fellow in constitutional studies in 1997 after 25 years in business. The Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies is named in his honor. He has also served on boards of the Federalist Society, the Foundation for Government Accountability, and the Institute for Justice. Bob received his PhD in business from the American University in 1966, then founded CDA Investment Technologies, a major provider of investment information and software. At age 50, after leaving CDA in 1991, Bob went to George Mason law school, where he was chief articles editor of the law review and class valedictorian. He received his JD degree in 1994. The next two years he clerked for Judge Royce Lamberth on the US District Court and Judge Douglas Ginsburg on the US Court of Appeals, both in Washington, DC.