by Michael C. Dorf
On Friday of this week I'll be participating in an all-day symposium sponsored by the Duke Center for Firearms Law and the Northwestern University Law Review: The Second Amendment's Next Chapter. Like just about every other academic conference these days, we panelists will be attending via Zoom, which has, as an upside, relative ease of viewing for interested audience members. Registration info can be found here. The schedule (using Central Time) can be found here.
I often use the occasion of an upcoming conference or public speech to preview my remarks on the blog, but for this conference I'm in the course of writing up my paper and will therefore wait until I have it closer to finished to summarize it in substantial detail. For now I'll just say that: (1) My paper is tentatively titled When Two Rights Make a Wrong: Armed Assembly Under the First and Second Amendments; (2) it expands on my 2017 analysis of the Charlottesville march and mayhem; (3) I argue that using standard sources of text, history, and doctrine, neither the First nor Second Amendment protects a right to armed assembly; (4) nor, I say, do they combine to produce such a right; and (5) finally, I look at the somewhat bewildering array of approaches the Supreme Court's cases have taken in cases involving combinations of constitutional provisions. Although there are contexts in which two non-rights combine to make a right, I conclude that this logic, which is dubious in its most well-known setting (the so-called hybrid right doctrine spawned by Employment Division v. Smith), does not, in any event, apply to armed assembly.
That's all for now. I might have more to say about the conference in a follow-up post.