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Thread: A Supreme Court shaped by Trump could decide gun control

  1. #1
    Front Page News Moderator/Editor Smokepole's Avatar
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    A Supreme Court shaped by Trump could decide gun control

    A Supreme Court shaped by Trump could decide gun control

    By Charles Lane
    Washington Post
    February 21st. 2018


    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas earlier this month at the Library of Congress in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

    A decade ago, the justices handed the gun-rights movement a historic victory, declaring by a 5-to-4 vote in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to firearm possession.

    Like other constitutional rights, this one was not unlimited; the court said there might be room for “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in schools or government buildings.

    This obviously left a lot unresolved. Is there a constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense outside the home? By what standard, exactly, should federal courts decide whether any particular gun law is constitutional?

    For the most part, however, the justices have allowed lower federal courts to fill in those blanks. And those courts, in turn, have generally interpreted Heller as permitting state and local gun regulations. One exception came in 2016, when the Supreme Court summarily vacated a ruling by Massachusetts’s highest court upholding that state’s ban on nonlethal stun guns.

    The Supreme Court’s reluctance to weigh in again reflects the fact that, generally, only blue states enact restrictive laws in the first place. There are consequently few conflicts among the regional circuit courts of appeal for the justices to settle.

    In practical terms, this means that the states — red and blue — have been free to pursue their separate approaches, as long as no one tries to prohibit gun (or stun-gun) ownership outright.

    There’s a certain rough wisdom to that. What Thomas wants, though, is for the Supreme Court to rein in the lower courts — to nationalize a broad individual right to own guns and to require that any limitations face heightened judicial scrutiny, just as, say, restrictions on speech must do.

    “If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly,” he complained in the opinion, “I have little doubt that this Court would intervene.”

    Having placed the right to gun possession on the same plane as the other Bill of Rights guarantees, it is a trifle inconsistent for the justices to leave the precise definition of that right to others.

    Four justices must vote to hear a case; though only Thomas affixed his name to Tuesday’s opinion, he is probably not alone in his views. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote a vigorous denunciation of the Massachusetts stun-gun ban in 2016, and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch joined Thomas last year when the latter dissented from the court’s refusal to hear a challenge to California’s ban on carrying a loaded handgun in public.

    Thomas seems unable to persuade the court’s other two conservatives, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, to join his project. Like Thomas, both voted with the majority in Heller; unlike him, perhaps, they are not eager to engage in repeated constitutional analyses of blue-state gun laws, each case potentially more politically fraught than the last.

    A change in the Supreme Court’s hands-off approach may require a change in Supreme Court personnel. The current lineup can’t last forever.

    Kennedy is 81 and just completed his 30th year on the court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dissenter in Heller, is 84 . If either leaves before 2021, President Trump — “The right to keep and bear arms protects all our other rights,” he said in 2016 — would nominate the replacement.


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  2. #2
    “If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly,” he complained in the opinion, “I have little doubt that this Court would intervene.”

    Time for the leftist attack dogs to come out of their kennels.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer...ce-thomas.html

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics...s-guns/553910/
    Always remember. You're unique, just like everyone else.

  3. #3
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    I read his 14 page dissent yesterday. He ended it by saying he respectfully disagreed with the court's decision to drop it... but the respect was not really all that respectful.
    "Sec. 2. All persons who are commonly known as “Greasers” or the issue of Spanish and Indian blood, ... who go armed and are not known to be peaceable and quiet persons, and who can give no good account of themselves, may be disarmed by any lawful officer, and punished..." - Disarming of "Greasers", An Act to punish Vagrants, Vagabonds, and Dangerous and Suspicious Persons” California, passed April 30, 1855.

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