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NRA argument plea challenged

Attorneys for individuals and groups seeking to expand Second Amendment gun rights urged the Supreme Court on Friday not to allow time at its podium to the National Rifle Association, saying that group is merely making a new try to get further involved after the Justices opted not to hear the NRA’s own appeal.   The opposition to NRA’s plea for divided oral argument in McDonald, et al., v. Chicago, et al., is here.   The case is scheduled for oral argument March 2.  The Justices will consider next week what groups will be allowed time in the argument session.

To NRA’s main reason for wanting in the argument — that the Court will not hear enough debate on using the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment as the route through which to apply the Second Amendment to gun laws enacted at state and local level — those whose appeal is being heard said their lawyer won’t ignore the issue, but, anyway, they had good reasons for choosing how to argue the case in their merits brief.

Briefing on the constitutional issues in the case was worked out among those on the McDonald side of the case, their opposition filing said, and the NRA’s lawyers took part in that process.  One reason the Due Process argument wound up with less discussion than the argument about the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the filing said, was that the Court was “relatively more familiar” with that argunent than with broader backgroujnd on the origins and meaning of the 14th Amendment.

The opposition document also disputed the NRA argument that it was entitled to be involved in the argument because it is a party and not just an outside amicus group.  The only difference between NRA and the amici, it commented, is that the NRA had to pay a filing fee as a party.   Moreover, it said, NRA “has no unique ingterfest in this case that would set it apart” from the McDonald group.  Among those in that group, in fact, is the NRA’s own affiliate in Illinolis, the Illinois State Rifle Association.

If the Court wishes to hear from someone to deal further with the Due Process argument, the filing said, it should agree to the plea of 38 states for 10 minutes of argument time.