ScotusBlog Tomorrow:LiveBlog DC-Heller Oral Argument


Winchester 73
March 17, 2008, 11:06 PM
Monday, March 17th, 2008

Tomorrow at 10 am eastern, the Court will hear argument in DC v. Heller - better known as the “DC Guns” case - and it is one of the most hotly anticipated oral arguments in recent memory. Only a lucky few will be allowed in the Courtroom tomorrow to watch the hearing, so we’ll be providing full coverage of all of the developments here on SCOTUSblog for everyone else.

The centerpiece of our coverage will be a “LiveBlog” of the oral argument based on the C-SPAN audio feed, and we’ll be debuting a new AJAX-based plugin to bring this to you. You won’t need to do or install anything special to take advantage of this new technology, but with this interface, we’ll be able to “push” updates to you without your needing to refresh your browser as you have in the past. Of course, though we’d love to deliver a true LiveBlog beginning at 10 am with the oral argument (as we have done in the past for the announcement of opinions, and will do again this spring), the Court does not feed oral audio into the press room as it does for opinion announcements, so a true LiveBlog is not possible given the Court’s ban on electronic equipment in the Courtroom. Still, we believe that having a live-updating “transcript” to the C-SPAN feed will allow you to follow the argument far more efficiently than by listening to the audio feed itself. Both the LiveBlog and the C-SPAN broadcast should begin at the close of oral argument, around 11:30 am.

In addition to the LiveBlog, we’ll also be bringing you instant analyses and links to other blogs and news articles, both in the LiveBlog interface and in separate posts. Tom will send his immediate impressions of what transpired at the conclusion of argument, and Lyle will weigh-in with his instant recap as well sometime after that. Overall, we hope that SCOTUSblog will be a resource throughout the day tomorrow for timely updates and analysis of this landmark case as well as a portal for finding further information around the web

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March 18, 2008, 12:29 AM
Also, CSPAN 1 (on my DirecTV) lists DC vs. Heller starting at 8:30 AM PST... commentary? audio? Video?

Gene Beasley
March 18, 2008, 12:38 AM
Normally I'm a BIG-TIME political fan and live for the presidential returns. Not so much this year. I get that same feeling in anticipation of hearing some awsome arguments and then waiting around for the opinion. Guess it's an old man's version of like a kid before Christmas.

Robert Hairless
March 18, 2008, 01:58 AM
March 4, 2008
Contact: John Cardarelli


Chief Justice Roberts Approves Immediate Release of Oral
Argument For District of Columbia v. Heller

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Tuesday, March 18, 2008, C-SPAN will air the Supreme Court oral argument of District of Columbia v. Heller which the Court is scheduled to hear that day. The immediate release of the audio recording of the Court's argument was in response to a request by C-SPAN (Release time is approximately 11:15 A.M.).

The Court will make the recording available to the media soon after the conclusion of the oral argument. The oral argument will air on C-SPAN, and C-SPAN Radio as soon as it is released. The audio recording will also be archived online at on the ďAmerica and the CourtsĒ page.

Since 2000, C-SPAN has regularly made requests to the Supreme Court for immediate release of oral argument recordings for cases that have a heightened public interest. For nearly 20 years, C-SPAN has argued for greater public access to the federal judiciary. C-SPANís web site, , chronicles C-SPANís involvement in the issue and features a collection of public statements made by the Justices regarding cameras in the Supreme Court.

March 18, 2008, 02:31 AM
I'm viewing the case with some trepidation because I just don't have the faith in any of the branches of government that I may once have had, especially the Supreme Court - not after thier hideous decision in the Kelo* case.

Once upon a time the high court was interested in upholding the Constitution and safeguarding our Rights, however these days its not about the law, its about the justices and what they may or may not want, like, or approve of. Worse yet, many of them seem more swayed by popular opinion or foreign precedents than the Constitution.

In the lower courts we've seen police powers greatly - and unconstitutionally, expanded due to the reluctance on the part of some justices to overturn a conviction and set a guilty criminal free. (I cannot recall the case off hand, but it involved a woman passenger who was searched after the driver was pulled over for a minor offense) For the sake of upholding one conviction they've effectively negated much of the Fourth Amendment. Why should the Supreme Court be any different? Just as in the other cases, I'm sure that some - perhaps all, of the justices on the Supreme Court will weigh the potential impact of their ruling and if they feel it will be too negative, too risky, or too controversial then they may well ignore their duty and do what they feel is best "for the good of the people."

*Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 circa (2005)

March 18, 2008, 07:50 AM
:banghead:NPR's eternal legal correspondent Nina Totenberg in a report this morning delivered the judgement that for the last hundred years the Second Ammendment (which she actually read) has been generally interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean the right to bear arms is a "collective right associated with military service", and that todays hearings are an "opportunity for the Supreme Court to change this interpretation".
This is what passes for journalistic integrity, and is a good indication of what we're up against.

March 18, 2008, 07:55 AM
We very well could lose or end up with something not worth having.

March 18, 2008, 09:13 AM
Ah, but the good thing is that we'll finally have a decision on the subject, and stop decades of waffling over "is it or isn't it?", and take whatever's given us and run with it.

March 18, 2008, 09:24 AM
Well we aren't going to get anywhere without a great deal of risk. The make up of this court is at least a little better than what we've had for years, which is still not a guarantee but the best we can do these days...

March 18, 2008, 10:30 AM
It's happening as we speak!

March 18, 2008, 10:35 AM
Ah, but the good thing is that we'll finally have a decision on the subject, and stop decades of waffling over "is it or isn't it?", and take whatever's given us and run with it.

It will never truly be decided because even if the court affirms our individual right, our opponents will simply wait until the court is sufficiently stocked with a majority of liberals and then issue an opposing ruling claiming it is collective instead.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 18, 2008, 11:43 AM
Keep in mind when reading the SCOTUSblog version of oral arguments that SCOTUSblog is sponsored by the law firm of Akin-Gump. This is the same law firm that is representing the city of Washington D.C. in this case (along with O'Melveny).

Generally the commentary on SCOTUSblog is mostly evenhanded; but they do slant towards their sponsor on occasion.

March 18, 2008, 11:47 AM
11:36 Update: Tom left the argument early to provide the following reaction:

Based just on the questioning, which can prove inaccurate, the Court is divided along ideological lines in Heller, with Justice Kennedy taking a strong view that the "operative clause" of the Second Amendment protects an individual right unconnected with militia service that guarantees the right to hunt and engage in self-defense. If the oral argument line up were to hold when the Court votes, the Court will recognize an individual right to bear arms that will not be seriously constrained by military service of any kind. There was a seemingly broad consensus that the right would not extend to machine guns, plastic guns that could evade metal detectors, and the like. There was relatively little disccusion of the trigger lock provision. Justice Breyer seemingly sought to pick up a fifth vote for a narrower reading of the Second Amendment by attempting to tie the question of the reasonableness of the regulation to whether the challenged statute left individuals with the ability to possess weapons that could be used in milita service. But at argument, at least, none of the Court's more conservative members expressed much interest in that approach, and Justice Kennedy's view that the operative clause is not directed at militia service would seem not to point in that direction.

11:40 [Comment From James N. Markels]
Was there any discussion on what standard of review should apply to gun regulations?
11:40 According to Tom, there was some discussion of the standard of review during Solicitor General Paul Clement's portion of the argument, but there was not a lot of interest in the issue.

March 18, 2008, 11:49 AM
So we picked up Kennedy? was he one we were expecting?

March 18, 2008, 11:50 AM
Kennedy was a wild card that we hoped to pick up to get to 5.

March 18, 2008, 11:51 AM
BWB, I listened to the NPR piece today, and I thought it was remarkably even-handed. What you say is correct: the prevailing legal view has been that it's a collective right, and today is an opportunity to review that.

She did slip when she said that the DoJ position has been consistently collective--she missed Ashcroft's memo--but that memo arguably did very little to their actual policy, so I don't have an issue with it.

I thought it was very well done, which was a pleasant surprise. NPR is getting better, I think.

March 18, 2008, 12:00 PM
There was a seemingly broad consensus that the right would not extend to machine guns, plastic guns that could evade metal detectors, and the like.

Lovely.....but that's expected this time around I suppose, thanks President Bush for your wonderful work in supporting your Solicitor General.

March 18, 2008, 12:03 PM
Oral arguments are over and should be up on Cspan shortly....

March 18, 2008, 12:23 PM
oral args are up on cspan

March 18, 2008, 12:26 PM
BROADCast now on cspan radio

March 18, 2008, 12:26 PM
plastic guns that could evade metal detectors, and the like.

I guess "Dia Hard 2" still has a fanbase. And I was looking forward to spending my year's salary on a Glock 7.

March 18, 2008, 12:26 PM
Wow 30 seconds in and Roberts is WHACKING on Dellinger already.:what::neener:

Winchester 73
March 18, 2008, 12:28 PM
Wow 30 seconds in and Robertys is WHACKING on Dellinger already.

Dellinger is a folksy old boy.Nothing rattles him very much.

March 18, 2008, 12:30 PM
So is Kennedy

March 18, 2008, 12:33 PM
Kennedy is being very active on this.

March 18, 2008, 12:35 PM
Is there a transcript I can read as I listen?

March 18, 2008, 12:36 PM
Transcript isn't up yet, I'll holler when it is.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 18, 2008, 12:37 PM
Please direct discussion of the oral argument to this thread:

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