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Merrick Garland’s most famous vote was part of a huge Second Amendment case

Allan Smith
Merrick Garland

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Merrick Garland.

Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland's best-known vote involved what's considered one of the most important cases involving gun rights.

Garland, the chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, wanted the entire appeals court to reconsider a decision that had invalidated a handgun ban in Washington, DC.

In doing so, Garland called for an "en banc" review of the DC Circuit's 2007 ruling that invalidated the handgun ban in Parker v. District of Columbia.

The ruling was made by a three-judge panel that Garland was not a part of.

The case, which would become known as District of Columbia v. Heller at the Supreme Court level, determined whether the handgun ban was constitutional under the Second Amendment.

Garland's vote called for a review of the court's ruling, which invalidated the handgun ban. All 10 judges would have been a part of that decision.

But that request was rejected by a 6-4 vote by the court.

He did not take a formal position on the case's merits, however.

At the Supreme Court level one year later, in one of Justice Antonin Scalia's most prominent majority opinions, the ruling of the appeals court was upheld.

The Supreme Court's ruling, a 5-4 decision, was based on an interpretation that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of gun ownership for private citizens, and not just for instances of necessary militia service.

Because Garland called for a review of the DC Circuit Court's ruling, even though he took no official position on the case, gun-rights advocates have slammed him for supposedly favoring gun control.

On Wednesday, Garland was nominated by US President Barack Obama for the Supreme Court seat vacated by Scalia's recent death.

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