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Notes and Renderings

Supreme Citing

Student’s article noted by High Court

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Brian L. Frye '05The NYU Journal of Law & Liberty is barely three years old, but already it—and one of its cofounders—has shot into the spotlight. A 2008 article by Brian L. Frye ’05, “The Peculiar Story of United States v. Miller,” was cited in U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s June majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, which ruled Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns unconstitutional.

“This is recognition of the highest order,” noted Barry Friedman, vice dean and Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law.

Frye first became interested in the 1939 Miller case, the Court’s last Second Amendment case, while doing research for Inez Milholland Professor of Civil Liberties Professor Burt Neuborne. “I realized that people had not done a lot of primary source research” on it, says Frye, who is now a Sullivan & Cromwell associate.

After graduating, Frye slotted his Miller case research into time left over from his federal and state court clerkships. “I was fortunate that NYU has a really fantastic legal history subdepartment, with professors like Bill Nelson and John Reid and Daniel Hulsebosch, all of whom were incredibly helpful,” says Frye.

In Justice Scalia’s opinion, he cited Frye’s article, saying that Justice John Paul Stevens’s dissent was incorrect in relying upon Miller because Miller “did not even purport to be a thorough examination of the Second Amendment.” Now Frye is working on his next article; combining his passion for law with his long-time fascination with film, it will describe how an avant-garde film affected Abe Fortas’s nomination for Chief Justice. “I just hope I can continue to produce scholarship that people find useful,” he says.

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