Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Locked and Loaded: The Supreme Court Argument Appears To Confirm A Major Gun Rights Victory in the Making, by Jonathan Turley

It looks like the Supreme Court is going to come down on the side of the Second Amendment. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

We have been discussing (here and here and here) the Supreme Court challenge in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. (NYSRPA) v. Bruen, the first Second Amendment case before the Supreme Court in over ten years. Yesterday’s oral argument appeared to confirm the expectations in those columns on the likely reversal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a reinforcement of Second Amendment rights.

In 2008, the Supreme Court recognized the right to bear arms as an individual right in District of Columbia v. Heller. Two years after Heller, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that this right applied against the states.

This case concerns concealed-carry restrictions under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f) that require a showing of “proper cause.” Lower courts have upheld the New York law, but there are ample constitutional concerns over its vague standard, such as showing that you are “of good moral character.” New York wants to exercise discretion in deciding who needs to carry guns in public while gun owners believe that the law flips the constitutional presumption in favor of such a right.

The oral argument quickly confirmed the likely votes of five justices against the New York law. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh appeared clearly committed to a reversal as well as a possible expansion of protections for gun rights. Chief Justice John Roberts appeared committed to vote against the law but not necessarily on board with a significant expansion of protections from the earlier holdings of the Court.

The surprise of the argument came from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who wrote a strong Second Amendment opinion as an appellate judge.  Barrett appeared open to arguments that greater regulation of guns may be appropriate in cities or “sensitive places.”

As I wrote earlier, justices like Roberts could vote down the law but retain the view in Heller that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” That includes restrictions in “sensitive places.”

However, in one telling moment, Roberts noted that gun rights should be more expansive in cities to allow self-defense. After all, he asked New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, “How many muggings take place in the forest?”

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The Supreme Showdown: Bruen Has The Makings of a Major Second Amendment Victory, by Jonathan Turley

The Supreme Court has an opportunity to clarify and expand gun rights under the Second Amendment, and the betting is that they will do so. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.com:

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will take up arguably the oldest and most controversial right in our history. New York State Rifle Association v. Bruen is the first major gun rights case in over ten years to come before the Supreme Court and it has the makings of a major gun rights victory in the making.

The case concerns concealed-carry restrictions under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f) that require a showing of “proper cause.” Lower courts have upheld the New York law, but there are ample constitutional concerns over its vague standard, such as showing that you are “of good moral character.” New York wants to exercise discretion in deciding who needs to carry guns in public while gun owners believe that the law flips the constitutional presumption in favor of such a right.

There are few constitutional rights that have been debated so long in this country as gun rights. Indeed, before other Englishmen were given a written guarantee of the right to bear arms, colonists in Virginia in 1607 were given such a written guarantee by the Crown.  Since that time, the right to bear arms has been an engrained part of our culture and ultimately our Constitution.

Despite that history, the meaning of the right has remained the subject of heated debate. That is evident from the fact that it was not until 2008 that the Supreme Court finally recognized the right to bear arms as an individual right in District of Columbia v. Heller. Two years after Heller, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that this right applied against the states.

This is actually the second time in two years that the New York State Rifle Association has come knocking on the door of the Supreme Court. The Association previously challenged a New York law that imposed stringent conditions on the ability of gun owners to even transport their guns outside of their homes. The law was viewed by some of us as unconstitutional under existing case law, but New York politicians insisted that it would be defended all the way up to the Supreme Court.  However, when the Court called their bluff and accepted the case, those politicians quickly changed the law and pulled the case before the Court could rule.

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Locked and Loaded: Supreme Court is Ready for a Showdown on the Second Amendment, by Jonathan Turley

The Supreme Court has been looking for the right case to reaffirm the Second Amendment and it looks like they’ve found it. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in the Hill on the makings of a blockbuster case in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the first major gun rights case before the Supreme Court in ten years.  Justices have been openly discussing a case to push back on lower courts that have been chipping away at its Second Amendment jurisprudence. They found that case with a strikingly familiar plaintiff.

Here is the column:

In the movie “True Grit,” federal marshal Rooster Cogburn is asked if the gun that he brandished at a crime scene was loaded. Cogburn, played by John Wayne, dryly responds, A gun that’s unloaded and cocked ain’t good for nothing.” Something similar might be said of a Supreme Court docket, particularly when there is a Second Amendment case that could prove one of the most impactful decisions of the term.

The court will soon take up New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, more than a decade after its last major gun rights decision. The case promises to be a showdown between the Supreme Court and lower courts, which have been chipping away at the high court’s prior Second Amendment rulings.

In 2008, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, recognizing the Second Amendment as encompassing an individual right to bear arms. Two years after Heller, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that this right applied against the states.

The new case concerns concealed-carry restrictions under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f) that require a showing of “proper cause.” Lower courts have upheld the New York law, but there are ample constitutional concerns over its vague standard, such as showing that you are “of good moral character.” The case presents a single short, direct question — whether New York’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.

The high court has been carefully waiting for just the right case to address states and cities that have sought to limit gun rights. Indeed, just this week, the court turned down a challenge of a Wisconsin law imposing a lifetime ban on gun ownership for former felons, including cases involving nonviolent crimes. That and other cases seemed tailor-made for Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who wrote a strong defense of the Second Amendment in a similar case as an appellate judge.

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Supreme Court Hearings On Palestinian Man Anally Raped and Hung from Hooks By CIA Causes Biden Administration to Tremble, by Eric Striker

Your government at work. From Eric Striker at unz.com:

After years of having his case hung up in federal courts, Abu Zubaydah could finally be given the opportunity to tell his story.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the cause of United States v. Abu Zubaydah, which deals with the largely known details of a Palestinian man who was captured in Pakistan by the CIA and tortured in a barbaric fashion.

In 2002, Zubaydah, a veteran who previously fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, was shot and transferred to the CIA. It is believed that he was transported to CIA black sites, referred to colloquially as “dungeons,” in Poland, Thailand, and other countries, where he was subjected to crimes against humanity.

Zubaydah, who the CIA has admitted played no role in Al Qaeda, has been held in a secret facility within the Guantanomo Bay prison camp. The federal government has admitted that they cannot prosecute the man for any crimes, yet he has been held and cut off from the outside world (with the exception of his lawyers) as an “enemy combatant,” which many suspect is due to fear that he may go public with his story.

According to a brief filed with the Supreme Court, Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 separate times in one month, had his head repeatedly smashed against the wall, and was sleep deprived for 11 consecutive days.

Additionally, he was stripped naked and hung from hooks and stuffed into a small box for hours. The disturbing practice of “rectal hydration,” where prisoners are essentially sodomized, was also utilized.

In a 2014 Senate investigation regarding the practice, CIA torturers were exposed as using “rectal feeding” — which experts have held has no medical or physiological use — as a means to sadistically rape men by grinding up food from their lunch trays and forcing it up their rectums.

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Five Reasons Roe Is Ripe for Reversal, by Adam Mill

Abortion may no longer be the burning issue it has been, which means Roe v. Wade might be overturned without the feared firestorm. From Adam Mill at amgreatness.com:

Now may be the perfect time to render a thoughtful decision without fear of an organized retribution from the Left.

It seems like only yesterday the Left went to war to stop Judge Brett Kavanaugh from ascending to the Supreme Court. Crackpots and charlatans flocked to the call for accusations, no matter how fictional, that might sink his nomination. The Left extracted a compromise from squishy Republicans to give the FBI enough time to frame . . . er, “investigate” Kavanaugh before proceeding to a confirmation vote. The Left is still furious at FBI Director Christopher Wray for failing to gin up a predicate for stopping Kavanaugh’s eventual confirmation.

Even then, it was very clear that the public relations assault had nothing to do with Kavanaugh’s history with the opposite sex. As they tried to weaponize sketchy sexual abuse allegations against Kavanaugh, we learned later that Democrats suppressed allegations of sexual abuse committed by their own leaders and supporters (Andrew Cuomo, Harvey Weinstein, U.S. Represenative John Conyers, former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Bill Clinton to name just a few examples). When these leaders were held accountable, it usually followed a long period of cover-ups and denials by their political allies.

But Democrats didn’t really care about whether Kavanaugh committed sexual assault in the 1980s. It was, everyone knew, all about abortion.

So when the Supreme Court appeared to take a step toward remanding the abortion issue back to state legislatures in its decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Reeve, I found myself bracing for the kind of hurricane of public outrage that swept the media during Kavanaugh’s confirmation. It didn’t come. Compared to the drama of the late summer of 2018, you could hear crickets. Why?

Here are five factors I believe have caused the Left to de-prioritize abortion as a political issue:

1) The decline in necessity. 

If you talk to women who are pro-abortion, you might notice they often tend to be Baby Boomers. The boomers came of age in an era during which the traditional role of a woman as a child-rearer and wife was compared to slavery. Women who chose these traditional roles were made to feel inadequate when compared to those who delayed or avoided having children. In 1972, when the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, women who chose motherhood had their first child at an average age of 21. Motherhood at that age required forfeiting career and education opportunities that, in the minds of feminist thinkers, prevented women from accessing the promise of equality.  That explains why abortion was such an emotional issue to women of that generation.

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A Brief History of the Law of Personal Privacy and Bodily Integrity, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The law of mandatory vaccinations is not settled by a 1905 Supreme Court ruling. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

As more governors issue so-called mandates requiring municipal and state employers, as well as private employers and public accommodations, to require their employees and patrons to be vaccinated against COVID-19, they are being challenged by arguments based on personal privacy and bodily integrity.

The former argues that personal medical decisions are protected by the right to privacy, which is a natural right that supersedes governmental needs. The latter argues that since we each own our bodies, we can decide what goes into them. Both the personal privacy and the bodily integrity arguments recognize that the government can only trump fundamental rights if it can prove fault at a jury trial.

Thus, a case where an infected and contagious person is intentionally infecting healthy folks can and should result in an arrest and prosecution for aggravated assault at which the state would need to prove its case. If it did, the convicted defendant would be incarcerated and isolated for the duration of her sentence. But that does not animate the government today.

Today, the government — local, state and federal — is attempting to compel healthy people to be vaccinated against their wills. All three levels of government are attempting to do this by command, not by legislation.

The favorite U.S. Supreme Court case that the pro-mandate folks cite is the 116-year-old Jacobson v. Massachusetts. There, in the era before the court recognized personal privacy or bodily integrity as constitutionally protected, it upheld a Massachusetts statute requiring inoculation for smallpox.

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The Police State’s Reign of Terror Continues … With Help from the Supreme Court, by John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead

The belief that the third branch of government would stand apart from the other two and stop their depredations and tyranny, if it ever had any validity at all, now looks positively quaint. From John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges.”—George Carlin

You think you’ve got rights? Think again.

All of those freedoms we cherish—the ones enshrined in the Constitution, the ones that affirm our right to free speech and assembly, due process, privacy, bodily integrity, the right to not have police seize our property without a warrant, or search and detain us without probable cause—amount to nothing when the government and its agents are allowed to disregard those prohibitions on government overreach at will.

This is the grim reality of life in the American police state.

In fact, in the face of the government’s ongoing power grabs, our so-called rights have been reduced to mere technicalities, privileges that can be granted and taken away, all with the general blessing of the courts.

This is what one would call a slow death by a thousand cuts, only it’s the Constitution being inexorably bled to death by the very institution (the judicial branch of government) that is supposed to be protecting it (and us) from government abuse.

Court pundits, fixated on a handful of politically charged cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term dealing with abortion, gun rights and COVID-19 mandates, have failed to recognize that the Supreme Court—and the courts in general—sold us out long ago.

With each passing day, it becomes increasingly clear that Americans can no longer rely on the courts to “take the government off the backs of the people,” in the words of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. When presented with an opportunity to loosen the government’s noose that keeps getting cinched tighter and tighter around the necks of the American people, what does our current Supreme Court usually do?

It ducks. Prevaricates. Remains silent. Speaks to the narrowest possible concern.

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Texas, Abortion, and the Constitution, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Texas abortion law obviously has implications for abortion law, but it also has important implications for the concept of state nullification of federal law. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last week, this column addressed state nullification and secession under the U.S. Constitution. It argued, in effect, that when the government fails to protect fundamental liberties or actively assaults them — as it has done in the past 18 months under the guise of public health — the states and individuals can peacefully ignore the government and, if necessary, leave it.

The concept of states leaving the federal government has been dead and buried since the outcome of the War Between the States. Yet four years after the war, the Supreme Court recognized secession in an old Texas case and held that three-quarters of the states would need to consent for any one of them to leave.

Nullification posits that any state individually — through its legislature or highest court — can determine that an action of the federal government is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution and therefore it is nullified and may legally be ignored in that state.

Both ideas were embraced by many who ratified the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and they were defended forcefully by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Last week, the Supreme Court revived the concept of nullification.

Here is the backstory.

Since January 1973, when the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Roe v. Wade, abortion has been lawful everywhere in the United States up to the time of fetal viability, after about 24 weeks of gestation. This principle has been challenged many times in many courts, and it has always been upheld.

The Supreme Court has faithfully upheld Roe every time it has come before the court. Sadly, Roe also permits the states to permit abortion up to the moment before birth, as some states do.

Texas, the state where Roe began, recently enacted legislation that directly contradicts Roe’s central holding. The Texas statute prohibits abortions upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat, after about six weeks of gestation. That legislation was challenged by abortion providers in a federal court.

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The Appeal of Chaos: How Politicians and Pundits are Misconstruing The Supreme Court’s Order on the Texas Abortion Law, by Jonathan Turley

When it comes to laws and judicial decisions, you’ve always got to read the fine print. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in The Hill on reaction to the refusal of the Supreme Court to enjoin the Texas abortion law. The order of the Court expressly did not reach the merits and certainly did not, as claimed, overturn Roe v. Wade. The Texas law is not even the greatest threat to Roe. Not only is there a pending case on the docket of the Court that has long been viewed as a serious threat to Roe, but the White House and the House of Representatives are threatening immediate actions that could also create new challenges for pro-choice litigants.

Here is the column:

It is often said that “in the midst of chaos, there is opportunity.” Widely attributed to Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, that saying came to mind when President Biden declared this week that the Supreme Court “unleashed unconstitutional chaos” by declining to enjoin a Texas abortion law. In this self-described chaos, Democratic leaders moved to renew efforts to pack the court with a liberal majority, end the filibuster and federalize abortion laws.

The problem with chaos, however, is that it can be easier to fuel than control. Indeed, Democrats may undermine abortion rights with plans for ill-conceived federal regulations and legislation.

Just before midnight on Wednesday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 not to grant an emergency injunction of a Texas law allowing citizens to enforce a highly restrictive abortion law. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) promptly declared that the court “overturned” Roe v. Wade, and she demanded immediate action; many media flogged the same narrative that conservative justices killed Roe in a midnight attack.

Both were legally and factually wrong.

The Texas law was enacted in May — but challengers waited until shortly before it was to take effect on Sept. 1 to demand emergency court intervention. It was a gamble that backfired when the court refused to intervene. However, the decision neither upheld Texas’s law nor reversed Roe.

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Unpacked & Undivided: Is The Court Sending A Message With A Litany Of 9-0 Decisions, by Jonathan Turley

Is the court telling the Biden administration and Congress to back off on the plans to add more justices? From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Today the Supreme Court issued two more unanimous decisions in Garland v. Dai and United States v. Cooley.  This follow two unanimous decisions last week.  The weekly display of unanimity is notable given the calls by Democratic leaders to pack the Court. Yesterday, I wrote about how the heavy-handed campaigns might backfire with the justices. As we await important and likely divided decisions on issues like abortion, Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues seem to be sending a message that the Court is not so rigidly ideological as Democratic members and activists suggest.

In the Garland case, the court ruled (again) unanimously to reverse the Ninth Circuit in an opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch on the rule in immigration disputes regarding the credibility of noncitizens’ testimony.   In Cooley, the Court unanimously ruled in an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer that a tribal police officer has authority to detain temporarily and to search a non-Native American traveling on a public right-of-way running through a reservation.

Last week, there were two unanimous opinions making this six 9-0 rulings in two weeks. Justice Sotomayor wrote the opinion in  United States v. Palomar-Santiago, an immigration decision that ruled for the government and against an immigrant. It also ruled unanimously in Territory of Guam v. United States, in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas. The Court ruled in favor of Guam on the collection of funding from the U.S. government to remediate environmental pollution on the island.

This is an extraordinary litany of unanimous decisions and could in part reflect an implied message from the justices that this is a court that is not nearly as rigid and divided as suggested by Democratic members and activists.

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