Supreme Court Won't Hear Gun Cases, Liberty Abolished Yet Again
While the Supreme Court's landmark "LGBT people have civil rights" decision rightly made all the news yesterday, the Supremes also made waves with a batch of cases they decided not to hear. The Court announced it wouldn't review 10 Second Amendment cases, greatly disappointing gun humpers who thought for sure that with that old wimp Anthony Kennedy gone, the Court would finally command that no restrictions on owning or carrying firearms ever be allowed again. Sadly, the NRA and friends will have to wait a little longer before a new age of peace and justice dawns, when all Americans can own any weapon they want up to and including atomic bazookas, as the Founders intended.
The Court's last big Second Amendment decision remains the 2008 DC v Heller case, which held (dubiously!) that the right to own a gun is an individual right, but which also said, thanks largely to Kennedy, that state and local governments have the ability to set some restrictions on guns. F'rinstance, while Heller tossed out the District of Columbia's outright ban on handgun ownership, states and localities can still restrict open carry or even ban certain types of weapons like semi-automatic assault-style rifles. The Court has been very consistent in not wanting to hear cases involving assault rifle bans, and wouldn't you know it, assault weapons bans in Massachusetts and in Cook County, Illinois, were among the 10 cases the justices declined to look at yesterday.
Among the biggest cases the Court decided not to review were challenges to Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey laws requiring permits to carry a handgun. The New Jersey law requires applicants for a permit to show "justifiable need" for a weapon, based on a particular danger, and the Maryland law states applicants must show a "good and substantial" reason. Lower courts ruled that both states' laws met constitutional muster.
The Washington Post reports Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh really wanted to review those laws:
"This court would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights. And it seems highly unlikely that the court would allow a state to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion," Thomas wrote, regarding the New Jersey case.
"But today, faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens' Second Amendment rights, the court simply looks the other way."
Because carrying a deadly weapon is exactly like free speech and healthcare, duh.
In April, the Court decided not to address a New York City law that restricted how people could transport guns outside their homes, because the city had repealed it, rendering it moot. But four justices signed on to a dissent saying that while the case was moot, they really wanted to revisit how lower courts are interpreting Heller, since maybe there aren't enough people doing gun liberty as there should be (we are paraphrasing). As Yr Wonkette said at the time, it sure looked like the Court's conservatives were ready to take another swing at Heller for the sake of knocking down regulations that have so far been upheld by lower courts.
For the moment, it looks like the Court has decided to let Heller stand a little while longer, permitting gun regulations and all. Maybe some of the justices doubt John Roberts's commitment to Sparkle Motion conservatism and might turn into a common swing vote? Or maybe they figure that with all the Trump appointees to federal courts it would be fun to spread out the complete burning down of American jurisprudence over a few years instead of all at once.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.