U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Commentators and readers—pro, con, or ostensibly neutral toward the Second Amendment—presume the U.S. Supreme Court will soon take up, on review, one or more of the several pending Second Amendment cases awaiting a vote by the Court. But will they?
SCOTUS Blog reporter, Amy Howe, reported, on April 28, 2020, that:
“We expect orders from Friday’s conference on Monday, May 4, at 9:30 a.m. EDT [Re: ten pending Second Amendment cases]
But, as of the posting of this article on the Arbalest Quarrel, May 19, 2020, AQ has not yet heard whether the High Court will be reviewing any one or more of the ten pending Second Amendment cases, even as CNBC News reported, on Sunday, May 17, 2020, that,
“The Supreme Court is looking eager to weigh in on the Second Amendment weeks after it punted on its first substantial gun rights case in nearly a decade.”
Eagerly looking forward to weighing in on a Second Amendment case? Really?
Well, apart from Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, who had previously written or joined dissenting comments asserting strong displeasure for the failure of the Court to take up any one of several cases, to date—and, we presume, apart from Associate Justice Samuel Alito who had penned the McDonald majority opinion, and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who had penned the dissenting opinion in Heller II when he had served as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, before joining the U.S. Supreme Court as an Associate Justice—the idea that the liberal wing of the High Court and the idea that the Chief Justice, himself, John Roberts, also relish the opportunity to review any Second Amendment case, except to rein in the fundamental, natural, immutable, unalienable right of the people to keep and bear arms, if they have the opportunity to do so, is a bit of a stretch. The only other Justice who would, if he could, had a strong desire to review another Second Amendment case would be the late eminent Associate Justice, Antonin Scalia, who had penned the majority opinion Heller rulings and holdings. The U.S. Supreme Court has had many opportunities to do so since the Court’s majority handed down the seminal rulings in the 2008 Heller and the 2010 McDonald cases. But, apart from the quasi Second Amendment Voisine case and the recent New York City Gun transport case, the Court never did review a Second Amendment case.
Concerning those two cases, Justice Thomas remarked of the former, that, while the Court did review Voisine, it never did address the Second Amendment issue, which might explain why the Court decided to hear the case at all. And, as for the latter—the New York City gun transport case—the High Court’s majority, comprising the Anti-Second Amendment liberal wing, along with Chief Justice Roberts, and, surprisingly, Associate Justice Kavanaugh, the recent addition to the Court, both ruled against allowing the case to proceed to the merits.
Can Americans be so certain that another Second Amendment case is going to be taken up soon? Consider how many writs of certiorari come before the High Court during any term.
On the U.S. Supreme Court site, supremecourt.gov, we are told:
“The Term of the Court begins, by law, on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October of the next year. Each Term, approximately 7,000-8,000 new cases are filed in the Supreme Court. This is a substantially larger volume of cases than was presented to the Court in the last century. In the 1950 Term, for example, the Court received only 1,195 new cases, and even as recently as the 1975 Term it received only 3,940. Plenary review, with oral arguments by attorneys, is currently granted in about 80 of those cases each Term, and the Court typically disposes of about 100 or more cases without plenary review. The publication of each Term’s written opinions, including concurring opinions, dissenting opinions, and orders, can take up thousands of pages. During the drafting process, some opinions may be revised a dozen or more times before they are announced.”
Do you honestly think one of the pending Second Amendment cases will garner the four votes necessary for the U.S. Supreme Court to review it, and relatively soon?
With a clear schism between, on the one hand, the entrenched liberal-wing of the High Court that detests any notion of a God-given, fundamental, immutable, unalienable, natural right of the people to keep and bear arms, and vehemently disagrees with the majority’s rulings in Heller and McDonald, and, on the other hand, the entrenched conservative-wing Constitutionalists of the High Court, consisting of Associate Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch who are adamant in their desire to preserve the Second Amendment as the framers of the U.S. Constitution had intended, it is to be seen whether Americans will henceforth be able to continue to own and possess firearms as a fundamental and unalienable right, rather than as a mere Government privilege. It will all come down to how Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Kavanaugh decide any such Second Amendment case.
Keep in mind, it only takes one vote, either Roberts or Kavanaugh, to rule with the liberal wing of the High Court to affirm the rulings of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld unconstitutional government actions, counter to the rulings of Heller and McDonald, striking a flagrant blow to Supreme Court precedent. But, it takes two votes, both Roberts and Kavanaugh joining the conservative-wing, to reverse or, otherwise, to modify, or vacate and remand, a badly decided lower court ruling.
Our guess is that, with a U.S. Presidential election approaching this year, which will, as well, also decide whether Democrats maintain majorities in the House and secure a majority in the Senate, the U.S. Supreme Court would prefer to await the outcome.
If Democrats win the Presidency and take control of the Senate, the liberal wing of the Court may be willing to provide the four votes necessary to hear a Second Amendment case. The liberal wing of the Court would do so not to chastise the Federal Circuits for failing to adhere to Heller and McDonald precedent, but to overturn those precedents, or, at least, to weaken Heller and McDonald, as they always took the position that the majority had wrongly decided Heller and McDonald.
Of course, if the four members of the liberal wing of the Court do decide to vote in favor of reviewing a Second Amendment case, it would do so only if they feel confident they would obtain a “conservative” wing majority, meaning that both Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Kavanaugh must join Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch, to reverse outright a Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld a government action infringing the core of the Second Amendment.
But, whatever the High Court decides to do with this new batch of Second Amendment cases, it behooves us to take a moment and proceed down memory lane to contemplate those cases the Court could have reviewed, should have reviewed, but failed to secure even four of nine votes necessary to review a case implicating the core of the Second Amendment: cases decided by U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals that blatantly, defiantly, arrogantly, egregiously denied and defied Heller and McDonald precedent. We do so in the next installment of our multi-series article on the New York City gun transport case.
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