Thoughts on Parker's questions presented
The Supreme Court obviously wanted to be very precise. That likely explains why it skipped announcing last week, they had to work on it, perhaps negotiations between Justices on the precise wording. I suspect the wording is the result of a lot of careful thinking.
The reference to "Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated
with any state-regulated militia..." is good. Implicit in that is that the old collective right theory (that Second Amendment rights are rights of states only) is off the table. We're down to sophisticated collective rights vs. individual rights. And I might even venture a guess that the Court is showing favor for individual rights here. The sentence presupposes that there are "Second Amendment rights of individuals." There's no "if any" language in there. Read literally, it presupposes that individuals not in such a militia do have second amendment rights... the only question is whether the laws violate those rights. But that may be reading too much into the wording... then again, it was probably the result of some careful thinking, and negotiation.
"with any state-regulated militia" is interesting. It seems to dodge the question of how "well regulated" a militia would have to be if sophisticated collective rights view were taken. That'd be a legal mess -- just how much organization, how many drills a year would you need? The early federal militia acts, and the debates over them, suggest that "well-regulated" didn't require a lot, and the Congress recognized that full-time farmers and tradesmen couldn't spare a lot of time.
Inclusion of the functional firearm ban -- again, good. Perhaps even a slap at DC's petition, which had insisted that that question was not in line, and then rather dishonestly defended the handgun ban by saying residents were still allowed to defend themselves with rifles and shotguns.
Inclusion of its carrying permit issue -- that'd give me a bit of heartburn, but the Court made it clear the issue centers on "keep[ing] handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes..." That narrows it: it's only on whether the carrying restrictions, as applied to "carrying" in your own home, are constitutional.
Still gives a bit of worry, to the extent that the Court *might* thereby say something about carry permits generally. Then again, even were it to say something approving here, we'd still be far better off than we are now, when the only barrier to open carry permits is legislative: I can't recall any court striking one down, so if your state doesn't have such, it's because the voters won't let it be.
Overall, I'd say the rewording is a good sign.
By the way, on timing:
Petitioner's brief, that of DC, is due 45 days from the grant, or January 4 by my count.
Parker side's brief is due 30 days after that, or about February 3.
DC has 30 days to reply, or around March 5.
The Court is now booking arguments for March, so I'd guess an argument in late March.
UPDATE: No, it's not usual for the Court to write the questions presented on its own. Questions presented are right at the front of the petition and response, so that the Court can quickly see just what the issue is. Usually a cert. grant is simply cert. granted. Occasionally, where several questions are presented, you may see cert. granted as to this question but not as to the others. But a complete rewrite is in my research quite unusual. I haven't researched enough to know whether it's extremely rare or just quite unusual, but it's one or the other.