2010 was a memorable year and throughout the year we covered an assortment of interesting legal issues on this blog. There were a few, however, that stood out and that we discussed repeatedly.
First, a notable decision for Chicago was the United States Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago (08-1521). At issue in McDonald was whether the Second Amendment is incorporated into the Due Process Clause or the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, thus making it applicable to the States and invalidating ordinances prohibiting possession of handguns in the home.
The Court’s decision was arguably a victory for proponents of the Second Amendment. Essentially, the Court reaffirmed the right to bear arms, although, interestingly, many commentators noted that the decision appeared to be deliberately vague and didn’t even specifically address the Chicago gun laws at issue in the case.
Another issue that cropped up repeatedly in 2010 was the danger of distracted driving, whether in the context of texting while driving or iPads in cars. While everyone necessarily agrees that distracted driving is dangerous, the solution isn’t as obvious as the problem itself. As we explained in this post, instead of simply enacting laws banning distracted driving, the focus should be on educating people about the hazards of all types of distracted driving, while also passing laws that forbid people from engaging in very specific types distracting activities while driving.
Finally, another issue that we blogged about a number of times in 2010 was traumatic brain injuries–especially in young athletes. In March we explained that traumatic brain injuries are rarely mild. Then in September we discussed how student athletes are increasingly at risk for concussions and similar issues and reported that Congress was considering passage of the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act. The Act will help to educate the public about concussions and establish preventative guidelines, educational policies and standardized treatment procedures. Concussions are serious injuries and in 2010, this issue began to get the attention it deserved.