Justices Toss New York Case That Could Have Expanded Gun Rights

April 27, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday tossed one of its most closely-watched cases of the term, claiming a subsequent easing of the restrictions being challenged — a ban on transporting guns — effectively left them with nothing to decide.

The decision is a blow to gun rights advocates who had hoped President Donald Trump’s appointment of two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, could lead the court to expand on landmark decisions from the Antonin Scalia era that established a Second Amendment right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.

That belief may have been based on Kavanaugh’s writing in 2011, when he was still a U.S. Circuit Judge, gun laws “that are not longstanding or sufficiently rooted in text, history, and tradition are not consistent with the Second Amendment individual right.”

The case involved a New York City law that made it illegal for a city resident who lawfully owned a gun to transport it outside city limits. Following its adoption, the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association sued, arguing the law was a clear violation of the Second Amendment.

The NRA sought to block enforcement of the rule insofar as it prevented the transport of firearms to a second home or shooting range outside of the city.

Gun control advocates worried a decision in the NRA’s favor would open a Pandora’s box, leading to a loosening of restrictions on everything from who can carry guns in public to limits on large-capacity ammunition.

Hoping to prevent this both New York City and New York State took steps to undermine the lawsuit. The city changed its regulation to allow licensed gun owners to transport their weapons to locations outside New York’s five boroughs, but the state enacted a law barring cities from imposing similar restrictions.

Despite these moves, the justices went ahead with oral arguments in December. But on Monday, it was the control advocates who were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

In a 6-3 unsigned ruling a majority of the court said the actions by the city and state had left them with nothing to decide.

They sent the matter back to the lower court, asking it to consider whether the city’s new rules still violated the gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.

Gorsuch joined Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in dissenting from the dismissal.

“This case is not moot. The City violated petitioners’ Second Amendment right, and we should so hold,” Alito wrote for the dissenters.

Kavanaugh wrote a brief concurring opinion in which he agreed with the result, but also said he’s concerned lower federal courts are not properly applying the court’s recent gun rights decisions.

“The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases” pending at the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh wrote.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court Blocks Curbside Voting in Alabama
2020 Elections
Supreme Court Blocks Curbside Voting in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision Thursday blocked a lower court ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama and waiving some absentee ballot requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservative justices granted Alabama’s request to stay a federal judge’s order that would... Read More

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Release of Full Mueller Report
Supreme Court
Supreme Court to Hear Case on Release of Full Mueller Report
July 2, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it would decide whether Congress may see currently redacted parts of the report prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. As is their custom, the justices did not... Read More

High Court Strikes Down Ban on Taxpayer Funding for Religious Schools
Education
High Court Strikes Down Ban on Taxpayer Funding for Religious Schools
June 30, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court struck down a ban on taxpayer funding for religious schools on Tuesday, saying such institutions can't be prevented from participating in programs that use public funds to support private education. The 5-4 ruling upheld a Montana scholarship program that allows state... Read More

Justices Hold Booking.com Can Trademark Its Name
Business
Justices Hold Booking.com Can Trademark Its Name
June 30, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — A nearly unanimous Supreme Court said Tuesday that the travel website Booking.com can trademark its name, a ruling of high significance to other companies using a generic word followed by ".com." as a name. Lower courts had sided with Booking.com, but the Trump administration... Read More

Supreme Court Affirms Trump's Right to Say 'You're Fired' to Consumer Regulator
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Affirms Trump's Right to Say 'You're Fired' to Consumer Regulator
June 29, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed President Donald Trump's ability to fire the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Monday, but left undisturbed the rest of the statute that created the agency in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. Writing for the... Read More

Supreme Court Upholds Prostitution Pledge for AIDS Funding
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Upholds Prostitution Pledge for AIDS Funding
June 29, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court upheld a provision of federal law Monday that requires foreign affiliates of U.S.-based health organizations to denounce prostitution as a condition of receiving taxpayer money to fight AIDS around the world.  Writing for the majority in the 5-3 ruling, Justice Brett... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top