McDonald v. Chicago (Alito)


Another brief submitted by 38 States takes the same
position. Brief for State of Texas et al. as Amici Curiae 6.

Second, petitioners and many others who live in high-
crime areas dispute the proposition that the Second
Amendment right does not protect minorities and those
lacking political clout. The plight of Chicagoans living in
high-crime areas was recently highlighted when two Illi-
nois legislators representing Chicago districts called on
the Governor to deploy the Illinois National Guard to
patrol the City’s streets.31 The legislators noted that the
number of Chicago homicide victims during the current
year equaled the number of American soldiers killed dur-
ing that same period in Afghanistan and Iraq and that
80% of the Chicago victims were black.32 Amici supporting
incorporation of the right to keep and bear arms contend
that the right is especially important for women and
members of other groups that may be especially vulner-
able to violent crime.33 If, as petitioners believe, their
safety and the safety of other law-abiding members of the
community would be enhanced by the possession of hand-
guns in the home for self-defense, then the Second
Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and
other residents of high-crime areas whose needs are not
being met by elected public officials.
—————— ——————-
31 See Mack & Burnette, 2 Lawmakers to Quinn: Send the Guard to
Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Apr. 26, 2010, p. 6.
32 Janssen & Knowles, Send in Troops? Chicago Sun-Times, Apr. 26,
2010, p. 2; see also Brief for NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund,
Inc., as Amicus Curiae 5, n. 4 (stating that in 2008, almost three out of
every four homicide victims in Chicago were African Americans); id., at
5–-6 (noting that “”each year [in Chicago], many times more African
Americans are murdered by assailants wielding guns than were killed
during the Colfax massacre”” (footnote omitted)).
33 See Brief for Women State Legislators et al. as Amici Curiae 9–-10,
14-–15; Brief for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership as
Amicus Curiae 3–-4; see also Brief for Pink Pistols et al. as Amici Curiae
in District of Columbia v. Heller, O. T. 2007, No. 07–-290, pp. 5-–11.


Third, JUSTICE BREYER is correct that incorporation of
the Second Amendment right will to some extent limit the
legislative freedom of the States, but this is always true
when a Bill of Rights provision is incorporated. Incorpora-
tion always restricts experimentation and local variations,
but that has not stopped the Court from incorporating
virtually every other provision of the Bill of Rights. “”[T]he
enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes
certain policy choices off the table.”” Heller, 554 U. S., at __
(slip op., at 64). This conclusion is no more remarkable
with respect to the Second Amendment than it is with
respect to all the other limitations on state power found in
the Constitution.

Finally, JUSTICE BREYER is incorrect that incorporation
will require judges to assess the costs and benefits of
firearms restrictions and thus to make difficult empirical
judgments in an area in which they lack expertise. As we
have noted, while his opinion in Heller recommended an
interest-balancing test, the Court specifically rejected that
suggestion. See supra, at 38–-39. “”The very enumeration
of the right takes out of the hands of government-—even
the Third Branch of Government-—the power to decide on
a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth
insisting upon.” Heller, supra, at ___ (slip op., at 62-–63).

* * *

In Heller, we held that the Second Amendment protects
the right to possess a handgun in the home for the purpose
of self-defense. Unless considerations of stare decisis
counsel otherwise, a provision of the Bill of Rights that
protects a right that is fundamental from an American
perspective applies equally to the Federal Government
and the States. See Duncan, 391 U. S., at 149, and n. 14.
We therefore hold that the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amend-
ment right recognized in Heller. The judgment of the


Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for
further proceedings.

It is so ordered.

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