What the Supreme Court Decides to Hear

What the Supreme Court Decides to Hear
What the Supreme Court Decides to Hear

Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- The Supreme Court’s decision recently to refuse to hear a challenge to a law restricting abortion access in Arkansas raises the question of the implications of the cases that the highest court chooses to consider.

The Arkansas case deals with a law regulating the use of medications that induce an abortion. The Supreme Court did not offer any ruling, but instead simply declined to take up the appeal against the law.

Those of us who are not lawyers can be confused by the implications of denials like this. Does this mean that the court approves of all laws restricting access to abortion? Does it mean that Roe v. Wade is soon to be overturned?

No. It simply means that the court didn’t want to hear this particular case. According to FindLaw.com, the possible reasons for that are several: there is no conflict in law, the case isn’t sufficiently important, no justice has an interest in the subject, or the lower courts haven’t disregarded prior rulings. I find it hard to believe that any of those reasons apply to this case, but this is what at least some legal scholarship offers for why cases, in general, are not heard.

This is not the space to debate the morality or legality of abortion. My point here is to show that even when a case looks to an outside observer like one that needs review, the justices don’t have to agree.

There is a parallel here with last year’s refusal to hear an appeal against Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban and another regarding carrying firearms outside the home. The consequence of that was to leave lower court rulings in effect.

As with the Arkansas abortion law, whatever we may think about the subject of guns, it seems obvious that these cases are important and are being treated differently, depending on which states we live in, despite precedents that make the laws in question unconstitutional—at least in the view of someone who has spent decades reading, writing, and teaching English. What language judges use is for others to say.

I am told by advocates of gun control that when the Supreme Court declines to hear a case, this means that the justices agree with whenever decisions the lower courts have come to. Specifically, they assert that bans on AR-15s and the like fit in with what Antonin Scalia said about some regulations being permissible, that the denial of certiorari means that such bans are not unconstitutional.

They need to believe this, but the reality is that with the current composition of the Supreme Court, there will be a lot of controversies in the law that go unresolved. The Masterpiece Cakeshop decision this week is yet another example of this.

The law moving slowly can be a protection in that leaping to conclusions and to policy choices without weighing the facts and the competing interests is a bad idea—see the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act as an example. Or the NY SAFE Act. At the same time, when the Constitution and precedent is clear, leaving disparities in the exercise of rights is also wrong. But the court’s dodging does not imply that anyone’s pet whims are already enshrined in law.

About Greg CampGreg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.

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Sam W.

Thec correct and proper name is supreme court, over the years justices have broadened the scope to attempt a takeover of the government. They no longer desire to follow the U.S. Constitution. Instead they are following international corporate interests. It was a huge blunder to make appointment lifetime. Many are so old they should be in a nursing home. I am surprised that Hillary wasn’t put in there.

Clark Kent

‘Following international corporate interests’? ‘Attempt a takeover of the government’? Prove both. You DO know it was the Founding Fathers that determined Supreme Court justices be on the bench for life?

kenneth kaplan

Ras,I agree with you. All the USCC does is reject appeals. Why are they not doing there jobs? They are suppose to hear
cases that pertain to the 2nd.It is still in the constitution.


I suspect that the court does not hear hot button items because there is an element of cowardice among the liberals and some purported conservatives.


All of us know what happened to Justice Scaili, so that lying Hillery could appoint Obummer to the USSC. The USSC needs to get off their lazy Arsess and protect all of our rights.

Bob Koceja

I agree with Herb, Make sure Ginsburg is awake, I don’t know what they do in their off time (and I don’t care), but come to work ready to work. If a case is out of appeals, you should here it. It’s your job!

Clark Kent

And how, exactly, would they have the time to handle hundreds and hundreds of appeal cases? THINK before you post, Bob, it’s your job!


As time goes on, the states will slowly erode the 2nd Amendment and the Supreme Court will turn a blind eye to the unconstitutionality of the gun control laws that are passed. It almost seems inevitable that in time, a number of states will have complete gun bans while others will have laws severely limiting gun ownership. This could be expedited at the federal level if the Democrats (Communists) win control of the House and Senate in the mid-terms. Get out and vote this year like your lives depended on it.


Hear them all . Do your job . You work for us . Get fired for not doing your job . You don’t answer the call , Get fired . Simple math .

Clark Kent

Herb: They can’t possibly hear hundreds and hundreds of appeal cases. Simple math. You are fired.


The court is still not reliably conservative.
The conservative justices are waiting until
President Trump appoints another Justice.
Then the court will accept some big gun cases.