Fall 2020 Second Amendment Symposium

  • Date:
  • September 28th, 2020

By: Jacob Charles

We are incredibly excited to announce that the Center’s 2020 Symposium – The Second Amendment’s Next Chapter – will be hosted by the Northwestern Law Review on Friday, October 9, 2020. We have a stellar line-up of prominent scholars from a diverse set of perspectives and methodologies. Given the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the importance of the conversation over the Second Amendment takes on heightened importance. The event will be hosted virtually through Zoom and is open to the public (and qualifies for CLE credit for Illinois lawyers). For more information and to register, please see NLR’s symposium page here.

Prior to December 2, 2019, the Supreme Court had not heard oral arguments in a Second Amendment case for nearly ten years. Even with its blockbuster decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Court has offered very little concrete guidance to lower courts as they have grappled with more than a thousand Second Amendment challenges in the years since. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York was poised to change all that, but ended up with a majority dismissing the case as moot. Nonetheless, it is clear that—a decade after Heller—the law and scholarship of the Second Amendment have entered a new era, with new questions. The scholarly, doctrinal, and practical stakes could not be higher. Scholarship has played an incredibly prominent role in shaping the Second Amendment in the past few decades, and we expect that trend to continue.

This Symposium will help provide the necessary foundation for resolving this new set of questions, and setting a scholarly agenda for the Second Amendment going forward. How will the Amendment’s evolving doctrine account for the multiple constitutional interests—the right to keep and bear arms and the “right not to be shot,” for example? How does the right work with other rights, like the right to free speech or equal protection? How does the new composition of the Court change the kinds of evidence and arguments that will shape the right to keep and bear arms? What is the future of gun rights in a world where March for Our Lives and other movement actors are increasingly employing constitutional rhetoric?

Below you can find a schedule of events and our terrific contributors.