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US Supreme Court agrees to hear DC handgun ban and California labor cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday granted certiorari in two cases [order list, PDF] and postponed jurisdiction in a third case. In District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Supreme Court will consider whether the Second Amendment [text] to the US Constitution prohibits the District of Columbia from banning private handgun ownership, setting the stage for what could be the biggest Second Amendment challenge in almost 70 years. The Supreme Court last directly addressed the Second Amendment in 1939's US v. Miller [case materials]. In September, Washington DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and DC Attorney General Linda Singer [official profiles] formally appealed [JURIST report] a March federal court ruling invalidating the District of Columbia's handgun ban [JURIST report] to the Supreme Court. In March, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that the city's 30-year-old ban on private possession of handguns was unconstitutionally broad. City lawyers have warned that the ruling "severely limits" the ability of local and federal legislatures to regulate firearms to protect citizens and law-enforcement officers. AP has more. SCOTUSBLOG has additional coverage.

In Chamber of Commerce v. Brown (06-939) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of a California law [Assembly Bill 1889] passed in 2000 that prohibits employers from using certain funds they receive from the state to influence union elections. In 2006, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld [text, PDF] the California law, ruling that it was neither preempted by the National Labor Relations Act [text] nor rendered unenforceable by the US Constitution's Supremacy Clause. AP has more. SCOTUSBLOG has additional coverage.

In Riley v. Kennedy (07-77) [docket; motion to dismiss or affirm, PDF], the Supreme Court agreed to postpone further consideration of whether the court has jurisdiction over the case until a hearing of the case on the merits. The appeal concerns a move by Alabama's Republican governor to appoint a Republican county commissioner to a heavily Democratic district; a federal court found the appointment to violate the Voting Rights Act [DOJ backgrounder]. AP has more.

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