How did the Supreme Court incorporate the Second Amendment? The Virginia Supreme Court isn’t sure.

January 13th, 2011

Today the Virginia Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of DiGiacinto v. Rector of George Mason University. In this case, my alma matter was sued for prohibiting people to conceal carry a weapon on its campus. Eugene Volokh has a thorough analysis of the case here. One point of interest.

The Virginia Supreme Court had this to say about how the 2nd Amendment was incorporated:

In McDonald, the Court further held that the Second Amendment applies to the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment, 561 U.S. at ___, 130 S.Ct. at 3050 (plurality opinion), or the Privileges and Immunities Clause, id. at 3059 (Thomas, J., concurring).

It irks me to no end that the highest court of my former Commonwealth calls it the “Privileges and Immunities Clause.” It’s Privileges OR immunities Clause! Anywho, this quote is still interesting.

The Court notes that the Second Amendment applies to the states through the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause OR the 14th Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause. This is exactly right. The plurality opinion relying on Due Process only received four votes. Thomas voted for the Privileges or Immunities Clause.

This Court recognizes the 4-1-4 McDonald paradox, and notes their uncertainty about how it was incorporated.