Trump’s Court Appointments Will Be YUUUUGE For NJ’s Gun Owners

Donald Trump Signs
Donald Trump Signs
New Jersey Second Amendment Society
New Jersey Second Amendment Society

New Jersey –  -( Following the election of Donald Trump in November, New Jersey Second Amendment Society wrote a blog post about what President Trump means for New Jersey gun owners. If you haven't read it, I recommend reading it in full as there's A LOT he can do for us here. Briefly mentioned in the article we talked about his effect on the Federal Courts, but now we're going to go into greater detail about what exactly it means for New Jersey.

So after Trump was inaugurated last Friday he immediately inherited over 100 court vacancies to fill. Which is A LOT. Trump intends to use this to reshape the judiciary by appointing Scalia-like constitutionalists to fill these positions.

But what we care about is how this will effect New Jersey. So lets start with a brief refresher on how the federal courts work.

There are three levels of the Federal judiciary system. District, Appeals, and the Supreme Court. New Jersey is its own district, with three different duty stations inside of New Jersey that takes cases in their respective counties. The Camden duty station takes cases from the Southern Counties, the Trenton duty station takes cases from the Central Counties, and finally the Newark station takes cases from the Northern Counties. Those three duty stations make up the New Jersey District courts.

Any cases that get appealed from any court goes to the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd circuit, which covers New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and the US Virgin Islands.

Gavel and Gun
Two more liberal justices are going be eligible for senior status/retirement very soon. If they retire, the balance of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals would shift to a decisive 9-5 majority for conservatives.

So now that we've had a refresher on the Court system, what is Trump going to do? Trump is immediately going to be able to appoint five justices that effect New Jersey. Three to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and two judges to the District of New Jersey. (While writing this article another judge announced his retirement, bringing the total vacancies to three on the 3rd Circuit, formerly it was only two!) While those may seem like small numbers, they're a big deal.

The district level appointments are less important, but they do increase the chances of receiving a conservative judge to hear your case if you file in the Trenton Duty Station. The Camden duty station is actually 100% stacked with conservative judges already! The big enchilada though is the appointments to 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Currently the split on the 3rd circuit Court of Appeals is a 7-5 split in favor of liberal judges. Trump's appointments will immediately create a 7-7 tie on the Third Circuit. Two of the vacancies were from liberal justices while the other was a conservative who announced retirement after Trump won. This new 7-7 tie greatly increases the chances of getting a majority conservative 3-judge panel when appealing a case. Increasing our potential for a good ruling on gun rights dramatically. The only potential trouble could be the blue-slip system, which could allow our two Senators, Menendez and Booker, to prevent court appointments. The blue-slip system effectively allows Senators to block court appointments to their state, but it's less of a rule and more of an honor system.

But I suspect that the Senate Judiciary committee will tune out our Senators if they decide to obstruct Trump's Court appointments.

It gets better though. Two more liberal justices are going be eligible for senior status/retirement very soon. If they retire, the balance of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals would shift to a decisive 9-5 majority for conservatives. With a decisive advantage like that, the 3rd Circuit could rule on cases en banc in favor of gun rights. An en banc case is where the entire court of appeals rules on an issue where it disagreed with one of its colleagues 3-judge panels. So a situation like the Drake case could have been overruled by the entire Circuit, rather than having to appeal to the Supreme Court. This situation would have the potential to create some great precedent for gun rights in New Jersey.

NJ2AS is gearing up for more lawsuits given the newly favorable legal environment. Please support our lawsuits by donating or becoming a member.

New Jersey Second Amendment Society – Our mission is to promote the free exercise of Second Amendment rights within the community and Legislature of New Jersey, to educate the community regarding the enjoyable, safe, and responsible use of firearms, and to engender a sense of camaraderie and fellowship among the members and their families. Visit:

  • 9 thoughts on “Trump’s Court Appointments Will Be YUUUUGE For NJ’s Gun Owners


      ********** YOU’VE BEEN FOREWARNED!! ***********

    2. Everybody says such wonderful things about Scalia. Have you actually READ the Heller decision? As Oscar Wilde once pointed out “True friends stab you in the front”. Heller, rather than actually take a principled stand, was a wishy-washy pudding of a decision, allowing all sorts of truly anti-Constitutional exceptions.

      Scalia was a hack.

      1. Agreed! Based on the current climate for the 2nd amendment initiative, I can almost bet they will appoint someone that will surpass Scalia’s legacy.
        Whoever is appointed will need an iron fortress so he/she also doesn’t get assassinated.


      2. @Franke Clarke, We may never know all of the politics that played out between the justices behind the Heller case, but it is not fair to say that Scalia was a hack.

    3. As a CA resident who’s rights to gun ownership are disappearing faster than I could have ever thought, all I can say is I agree. Best of luck pushing back the idiotic and anti-constitutional edicts the lawmakers in your state have forced upon you. I am also hoping that Trump and his team will not forget CA… we need his help as well!!

      1. @David, One way that the federal government controls the states is by monitary aid. Highway funds is a classic example. All the federal government has to do is hold up California’s aid (just like Trump is about to do to sanctuary cities) until it repeals a whole list of state laws. But we have to push Trump for it. You have a phone and a pen, too!

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