Does the Fourteenth Amendment Protect Unenumerated Rights?


Mr. Gura, an expert on Second Amendment issues, has argued and won two major Second Amendment precedents before the Supreme Court, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010). In his arguments for the plaintiff in McDonald, Mr. Gura argued that the Privileges or Immunities Clause incorporated the Second Amendment, and also protected all fundamental natural rights, whether enumerated in the Constitution or not. The Supreme Court chose to rely upon traditional substantive due process analysis in deciding the Second Amendment should be treated as a fundamental liberty.

The Privileges and Immunities clause of the 14th Amendment has a checkered past, beginning with Corfield v. Coryell and the Slaughterhouse Cases, circa 1823-1873. Many constitutional scholars view with skepticism theories put forth regarding unenumerated rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has written that "the demise of the Privileges or Immunities Clause has contributed in no small part to the current disarray of our 14th Amendment jurisprudence." To clarify things, "I would be open to re-evaluating its meaning in an appropriate case."

Alan Gura is a constitutional lawyer focusing on civil rights cases and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University. Prior to private practice, he was counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and a California deputy attorney general. Mr. Gura began his career clerking for U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle in the Eastern District of North Carolina, and earned his J.D. at Georgetown (1995) and his B.A. at Cornell University (1992). National Law Journal named him among the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America and he has been a frequent contributor in the national media on Second Amendment and other constitutional issues.

When: Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 11:30 a.m. (registration), 12:00 pm (lunch)

Where: First Floor Conference Room, 2040 Main Street, Irvine, CA 92614. Parking in the structure; please bring your parking ticket for validation.

Cost: $30 member/ $35 nonmember/ $20 students/judges for lunch and 1 hour of MCLE credit. (The Federalist Society is a California State Bar approved provider of MCLE).

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