Decision by Judge Frank Easterbrook '70 on Assault Weapons Ban Stands

Judge Frank Easterbrook '70 H'12 receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Swarthmore

Judge Frank Easterbrook '70 received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College in 2012.

The Washington PostSupreme Court won’t review laws banning assault weapons

The Supreme Court [this month] declined to review the ability of cities and states to prohibit semiautomatic high-capacity assault weapons that have been used in some of the nation’s most deadly recent mass shootings. In turning away a case from a Chicago suburb, the justices decided they would not pass judgment on a kind of weapons ban that is also in place in seven states. ...

The decision that the Supreme Court decided not to review came from a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. That ruling noted a statement in the Heller decision that said legislatures retained the ability to prohibit “dangerous and unusual” weapons, and Judge Frank Easterbrook ['70] said the guns Highland Park banned qualified.

“Why else are they the weapons of choice in mass shootings?” he wrote. He said a ban may not prevent mass shootings “but it may reduce the carnage if a mass shooting occurs.”

Easterbrook graduated from Swarthmore in 1970, majoring in economics and political science, and received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. In 2012, the College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree; listen to him address that year's graduating class. Since 1985, he has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.