This coming Friday has been set by the Appellate Division in the state of New York as the deadline for a “show cause” order against the state, compelling them to prove that the message of necessity used to rush the SAFE Act through, avoiding the mandated 3-day waiting period, was valid and constitutional. Which they can’t do. As a result, most people expect the court to either kick the can down the road to the Court of Appeals, or issue a much anticipated injunction against the SAFE Act. For a little more detail on the case and what’s going on, I talked to one of the plaintiffs in the case . . .
To be clear, this case is not the Tresmond case, which attacks the constitutionality of the content of the new law. This case is Bob Shultz’s attack on the way the act was passed, which gets more disgusting every time I hear about it.
On the first day of the new legislative session, the Democrats introduced bill #1 (which was the SAFE Act) accompanied by a “letter of expedience” signed by the governor. The NY constitution requires a minimum of three days between introduction and passage unless there is a pressing and urgent need to get something done. In the letter, the governor stated that the SAFE Act would get these “dangerous assault weapons” and magazines off the streets immediately. Of course, the act does no such thing. The governor’s letter was an outright lie.
Less than 30 minutes later the bill was passed by the first chamber of the legislature, the members of which hadn’t even read the bill. Less than a day later the bill was signed into law.
Bob Shultz is attacking this on the grounds that the “letter of expedience” was unconstitutional, and that the way the SAFE Act was passed is morally (and procedurally) repugnant. It’s an effective argument, since after comparing the language of the letter and what the act actually does, it looks like the governor tried to pull a fast one on the people of New York, hoping the subjects wouldn’t notice.
This case made headlines when the state Supreme Court (the lower court in New York) failed to issue an injunction a few weeks back. But the case has been passed on to the higher Appellate Division on an expedited schedule. The Supreme Court’s failure to act was based on their reading of a 2005 case. According to that precedent, as interpreated by the judge, the court is not able to question the contents of a “letter of expedience” from the governor. However, Bob Shultz’s argument is that the court misinterpreted that previous ruling, and judicial oversight is a necessary component of these expedited legislative endeavors, not to mention the separation of powers.
Whatever happens on Friday, we’ll bring you the news as soon as we have it. For more information on the case you can visit wethepeopleofny.org.