Predictions of the 10th Justice: McDonald v. City of Chicago (Chicago Gun Ban Case)

January 8th, 2010

Welcome to the fifth installment of Predictions of the 10th Justice, brought to you by The league has over 3,200 members, who have made predictions on all cases currently pending before the Supreme Court.

One of the most anticipated cases before the Supreme Court this term is McDonald v. Chicago. McDonald considers whether Chicago’s handgun ban violates the Second Amendment. While District of Columbia v. Heller found that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms from infringement by the federal government, McDonald will determine if the Second Amendment is incorporated to the states.

Out of 78 predictions, 38% (30) predict that the Supreme Court will affirm the 7th Circuit decision, and uphold Chicago’s handgun ban, while 62% (48) predict that the Court will reverse the decision, and strike down the ban.

Of the 48 members who predicted a reversal, 35 predicted a 5-4 split (73%). Of the 35 members who predicted an affirmance of the lower court, 20 predicted a 5-4 split (58%). Thus, the case is almost likely to be split along 5-4 lines. But, how will Justice Kennedy vote? The results after the jump.

Forty-eight members (62%) predicted that Kennedy would vote with Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, causing 5-4 split to fall along predictable ideological lines.

Curiously, not a single member predicted that one of the liberal justices (Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor) would vote to strike down the Chicago handgun ban. Further, there are very few votes for any split other than 5-4, so this should be a contentious case along ideological lines.

We will revisit this case after oral arguments on March 2, 2010. Stay tuned for more opinions next week.

Many thanks to Corey Carpenter for his assistance with this column.