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

Thousands Gather to Remember Ginsburg as Justice and American Icon
Supreme Court
Thousands Gather to Remember Ginsburg as Justice and American Icon
September 23, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The crowd began gathering early behind the aluminum railing that ran up and down East Capitol Street Wednesday morning. Some said they'd journeyed to the neighborhood the night before to scope out their logistics for the day ahead. One woman, wearing a facemask covered... Read More

Supreme Court Expected to Forge Ahead With Eight Justices After Ginsburg’s Death
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Expected to Forge Ahead With Eight Justices After Ginsburg’s Death

WASHINGTON — A shorthanded Supreme Court can move forward as usual with the slate of oral arguments already set for the first few months of its new term that starts in October, but having only eight members changes how they might be decided. Among the potentially... Read More

Is Kamala Harris the Democrats’ Secret to Stopping Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee?
Supreme Court
Is Kamala Harris the Democrats’ Secret to Stopping Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee?

SAN JOSE, Calif. — If it seemed like the most pivotal point in Kamala Harris’ quest to help Democrats win the White House was a looming debate with Vice President Mike Pence, that may all have changed Friday evening. Now Harris, 55, faces what are almost... Read More

What GOP Senators Said About Election-Year Supreme Court Picks in 2016 and Now
Political News
What GOP Senators Said About Election-Year Supreme Court Picks in 2016 and Now

Within hours of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death Friday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that President Donald Trump’s nominee would get a vote. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer put out a statement as well. “The American people should have a voice in the... Read More

Trump Zeroes in on Coney Barrett as Likely Supreme Court Pick
Supreme Court
Trump Zeroes in on Coney Barrett as Likely Supreme Court Pick

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is moving toward nominating Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, according to people familiar with the matter, despite the president saying Monday he’s considering as many as five candidates. Barrett is a favorite... Read More

GOP Appears to Have the Votes to Act as Trump Weighs Supreme Court Pick
U.S. Senate
GOP Appears to Have the Votes to Act as Trump Weighs Supreme Court Pick

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Monday he is likely to name a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday, as Senate Republicans continued to discuss whether to push for a vote before the election, despite furious Democratic opposition. As more senators declared... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top