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

Alito: COVID Crisis Has Been a ‘Constitutional Stress Test’
Supreme Court
Alito: COVID Crisis Has Been a ‘Constitutional Stress Test’
November 13, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., told the Federalist Society in a keynote address Thursday night the coronavirus pandemic has led to "previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty." "I am not diminishing the severity of the virus's threat to public health," Alito continued in a... Read More

Supreme Court Appears Likely to Preserve Most of Affordable Care Act
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Appears Likely to Preserve Most of Affordable Care Act
November 10, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON -- So much for the new conservative majority of the Supreme Court dismantling the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, during oral arguments for California v. Texas, one of this term's most anticipated cases, two members of that majority, suggested they're not inclined to strike down... Read More

All About the New ACA Challenge Before the Supreme Court
Supreme Court
All About the New ACA Challenge Before the Supreme Court
November 10, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — This morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a legal challenge seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act.  This third major challenge to the ACA heard by the Supreme Court, Texas v. California seeks to decide whether Congress, by eliminating the penalty... Read More

Political Gaze Shifts to the Supreme Court as Justices Hear Pivotal Health Care Case
Supreme Court
Political Gaze Shifts to the Supreme Court as Justices Hear Pivotal Health Care Case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett hears oral argument Tuesday in a case that threatens to wipe out the 2010 health care law, likely the term's most consequential case, under a political spotlight that rarely shines brighter on justices who would rather stay out of it.... Read More

Supreme Court Blocks Injured Officer's Suit Against Leader of Black Lives Matter Rally
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Blocks Injured Officer's Suit Against Leader of Black Lives Matter Rally

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday set aside an appeals court ruling by a panel of conservative judges that held an injured police officer could sue and win damages from the leader of a Black Lives Matter protest rally. The case had raised alarms among civil libertarians, who said it... Read More

Justice Barrett Participates in Her First Supreme Court Arguments
Supreme Court
Justice Barrett Participates in Her First Supreme Court Arguments
November 2, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined her new colleagues on the Supreme Court Monday, participating in oral arguments for the first time. The cases on the docket Monday were no head-turners. The first, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club Inc., concerned public disclosure... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top