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December 10, 2007
The Implications of Watson v. United States

Earlier, I forecasted a 6-3 win in the Supreme Court for Parker v. DC, now DC v. Heller. That forecast was based on the conservative four justices being joined by Souter and Ginsburg.

Watson v. United States was decided today. The key issue was whether or not a person buying a firearm with narcotics was "using" the firearm. Souter wrote the majority opinion joined by all but Ginsburg stating that one does not "use" an item one buys and therefor the firearm wasn't "used" in a narcotics transaction. Ginsburg concurred in the result but went further saying that the whole point behind "use" in this law was to stop the offensive or defensive use of a gun in a narcotics transaction and a prior case that said buying drugs with a gun was use should be overturned too.

The implications are that both Souter and Ginsburg even more strongly feel that even criminal laws about firearms should be construed limitedly. That's certainly not a set of opinions that the anti-gun would support. I'm actually starting to think we may actually get 9-0 or an effective 9-0 with concurring opinions in Heller.

Glenn Reynolds posted on this as well, but his post had just reminded me that I was delinquent.

Posted by hoffmang | December 10, 2007 02:59 PM


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