The Volokh Conspiracy

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National Law Journal Provides More Background on Luttig's Second Amendment Brief

Judge Luttig, as well as Carter Phillips, were affected by gun violence.


On Monday, I wrote about the amicus brief that Judge Luttig, Carter Phillips, and others filed in the New York Second Amendment case. The National Law Journal provides more background on the brief. Marcia Coyle reports that Judge Luttig, as well as Carter Phillips, were affected by gun violence:

One of the 17 is veteran Supreme Court advocate and Sidley Austin partner Carter Phillips. Bernstein and Temple are former Sidley partners, he said, and they reached out to him to see if he'd be interested in joining the brief.

"But my part of the story is personal," Phillips said. "I have had strong anti-gun views ever since one of my co-clerks with Chief Justice [Warren] Burger, Chris Walsh, had one of his best friends shot and killed on the same day the Chief was having his reunion. I saw what that tragedy did not only to Chris's friend's family but also what it did to Chris and his family. I have been strongly in favor of regulating gun use ever since. After reading the brief, it was easy to join."

Also on the brief is former Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Gun violence touched his family in 1994 when his father, John Luttig, was fatally shot in a carjacking.

The implication here is that their legal views on the Second Amendment were affected by their personal experiences. On balance, I think Philips's interview reduces the effectiveness of the brief.