Supreme Court Shows Little Appetite For Expanding Gun Rights In Arguments Over Repealed New York Regulation

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 4 days ago

That article title comes from CNBC, not me.

The Supreme Court seemed unlikely to deliver a major win for gun-rights activists during arguments on Monday in the first significant Second Amendment case the justices have heard in nearly a decade.

The case was challenging a New York City gun regulation that barred the transport of handguns outside of the city, even to a second home or firing range. After the court agreed to hear the case, though, the city did away with the regulation and the state passed a law that prevented the city from reviving it.

While court conservatives including Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito seemed eager to use the case to address the reach of the Second Amendment, it appeared likely after an hour of arguments that Chief Justice John Roberts would side with the court’s liberals to dismiss the matter altogether as moot in light of the repeal of the regulation.

Paul Clement, who argued on behalf of three gun owners in New York and a state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, argued that the case was still active because his clients could potentially seek monetary damages in the future.

Clement also argued that even under New York’s new regulations, his clients could still be penalized if they did not travel directly to a firing range outside the city, such as if they stopped for coffee.

But Richard Dearing, an attorney for New York, said that the city guaranteed that gun owners would not be prosecuted for such stops. And he said that any challenge to the new regulations would have to be argued in a future battle.

“There may be a controversy here. But it’s a new controversy that will have to be litigated in a new case,” Dearing said.

Clement, who argued for 20 minutes, had little time to address the merits of New York’s gun regulation. Instead, he spent nearly all of his arguments fielding questions from the court’s liberal wing about why the justices should rule on the case at all.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who asked the first question of the day, sounded off on a theme that would be heard throughout.

“The state says: Thou shalt not enforce the regulations. So, what’s left of this case?” Ginsburg asked.

The court’s other liberals also wrestled with Clement over whether it was proper for the court to decide the case.

“You’re asking us to opine on a law that’s not on the books anymore,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an Obama-appointee.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, said he did not think it was bad “when people who have an argument settle their argument.”

Roberts asked few questions throughout. But at one point, the chief justice asked Dearing if it was possible that individuals who violated the old regulation could be targeted in any way by the city, even though it is no longer in force. Roberts also asked whether gun owners could still seek damages if the high court were to find the case moot.

Dearing responded that the gun owners would face no consequences for any past violations of the regulation, and he left open the possibility for damages, though he suggested there could be a time limit.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who is known to have an expansive view of the Second Amendment, did not ask any questions.

One wrinkle during arguments came from a difference in opinion between Clement and Jeffrey Wall, the Justice Department’s principal deputy solicitor general, who was arguing in favor of the gun owners.

Gorsuch asked Wall whether he agreed with Clement that the potential for gun owners to be prosecuted for stopping for coffee while traveling to a gun range kept the case alive.

“Why isn’t that good enough?” Gorsuch asked.

Wall said it was a “close call” and a “hard question” but stopped short of endorsing the argument. Instead, Wall emphasized that the gun owners could still seek monetary damages.

All in all, the justices spent just a few minutes probing the key constitutional question that gun-control activists feared would be on the table and that gun-rights groups hoped the court would address.

“Jeffrey Wall, the Justice Department’s principal deputy solicitor general … was arguing in favor of the gun owners.”

Sure he was.  He didn’t even know if the possible overbearing enforcement of the revised law kept the case alive.  He wasn’t even smart enough to jump on the plank Gorsuch gave him.  Or perhaps he was, and this failure was nefarious.

Good job, DoJ.  Good job, Barr.  Good job, Trump.  You presented a divided front to the Supreme Court.  Y’all can all mark this one as a colossal failure.

And as for the Supreme Court, along with the statists on the court, everyone except Gorsuch and Alito (and also presumably Thomas) let this go, allowing New York to impose yet more restrictions in the future, requiring the next case to be brought back, if it even makes it that far.  Roberts did exactly what we expected him to do.

So if you thought that the black-robed tyrants were going to help you by recognizing your God-given RKBA … sucker!

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Comments

  1. On December 2, 2019 at 2:43 pm, Fred said:

    “Jeffrey Wall, the Justice Department’s principal deputy solicitor general and the NRA fighting your rights? What could possibly go wrong for the controllers at all, after all they ARE the controllers, are they not?

    This case was pre-designed to at least conserve if not further the current progress. Gun owners get had yet again, but but but Trump is good and NRA is helping. Pfft.

    Conservatives have conserved progressiveness. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

  2. On December 2, 2019 at 4:13 pm, Matt said:

    “Conservatives have conserved progressiveness. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.”
    Well, I guess now we know the answer for the next time someone asks, “What exactly have conservatives conserved?”

  3. On December 2, 2019 at 6:26 pm, Rolf Steiner said:

    It will be so Spicy when vibrant diverse pets turn on the traitors. They will still have armed security details and large walls around their diversity free areas.
    The roaring twenties are going to rock! Plan now while you still can.

  4. On December 2, 2019 at 8:42 pm, Dave said:

    These sessions don’t always reflect what each justice is actually thinking. Sometimes they even play Devils Advocate. The real debate goes on behind the scenes in the judges chambers.

    And that is MSNBC reporting.

    I don’t trust Roberts, and the legal team seems to have done a poor job, but until the decision comes down I’m not declaring this a loss.

  5. On December 4, 2019 at 12:14 am, Henry said:

    “But Richard Dearing, an attorney for New York, said that the city guaranteed that gun owners would not be prosecuted for such stops.”

    The Legislature makes a promise in legislation, not in description, not by prediction. I reviewed the legislation. There was no promise.
    –MASS. SENATE PRESIDENT THOMAS BIRMINGHAM, 8/22/2000

  6. On December 4, 2019 at 3:52 pm, Sanders said:

    Wait…Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked questions? It is alive? Or was it a puppet?

  7. On December 5, 2019 at 1:11 am, Fergus Boone said:

    The gun grabbers only backed down when they realized they were going to lose. For six years they refused to give in. They have infringed on the right to bear arms. This is a clear violation of two federal statutes which prohibits anyone from limiting of preventing the rights listed in the Bill of Rights. These people should be sued under these statutes, and sued till they bleed, all of them.

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You are currently reading "Supreme Court Shows Little Appetite For Expanding Gun Rights In Arguments Over Repealed New York Regulation", entry #22470 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published December 2nd, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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