Statement of Doug Kendall, President, Constitutional Accountability Center, on the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago


DATE: June 28, 2010                               
CONTACT: Doug Kendall, 202-296-6889, Ext. 308

Statement of Doug Kendall, President, Constitutional Accountability Center, on the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago

WASHINGTON, DC — Justice Alito’s opinion for the Court today in McDonald v. City of Chicago correctly finds that the Second Amendment, like other provisions of the Bill of Rights, limits state as well as federal laws.  The Court’s opinion accurately chronicles the text and history of the Fourteenth Amendment, explaining that the Amendment protects substantive fundamental rights, including the right to bear arms.   While the Court declines to revisit The Slaughterhouse Cases or restore the Privileges or Immunities Clause, its opinion favorably cites to scholarship which shows Slaughterhouse should be overruled and the Clause should be restored.  It decides not to revisit these profoundly important questions of constitutional law mainly because a robust interpretation of the Due Process Clause has emerged from the Court’s case law as a worthy alternative. 

Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) filed a brief in McDonald on behalf of preeminent constitutional scholars from across the ideological spectrum in support of restoration of the Privileges or Immunities Clause.  CAC’s brief was cited twice in today’s majority opinion.  We argued in our brief and in our report, The Gem of the Constitution, that the Privileges or Immunities Clause should be restored to provide a more secure foundation for the protection of substantive fundamental rights.  While that did not happen in today’s opinion, the Court’s recognition of the text and history we presented, along with the acceptance, by the Court’s conservative wing, of the critical and historically-supported role of the 14th Amendment in protecting substantive fundamental rights, is a momentous development in American law. 


Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.