U.S. Supreme Court (courtesy spokane-news.com)

Included in a wave of new anti-gun laws passed following the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was an “assault weapons” ban in the city of Highland Park, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). A suit was filed challenging the law as an unconstitutional infringement on Americans’ right to own “commonly used” firearms, part of the court’s holding in the Heller decision. Now it appears that the Supreme Court has decided they aren’t going to actually enforce that holding, as they have declined to hear the case challenging the Highland Park “assault weapons” ban . . .

From CNN:

The Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to a Chicago suburb’s ban on assault weapons Monday, a move that will encourage gun-control advocates and could frustrate supporters of gun rights.

The city of Highland Park, Illinois, passed the ban in 2013 following a series of mass shooting incidents around the country. The law prohibits the sale, purchase and possession of semi-automatic firearms with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, dissented from the denial of the case. Thomas wrote that several Courts of Appeals have upheld “categorical bans on firearms that millions of Americans commonly own for lawful purposes.”

“Because noncompliance with our Second Amendment precedents warrants this Court’s attention as much as any of our precedents, I would grant certiorari in this case,” Thomas wrote. The arguments from the parties in the case reflect the deep divide nationwide between those who are pushing what they consider reasonable restrictions and others who think the lower courts are thumbing their nose at Supreme Court precedent by upholding certain restrictions.

The Supreme Court, by declining to step in, sent a message that it is not going to dive into the current gun debate right now. It will allow the issue to percolate in the lower courts.

The Supreme Court might be giving the lower courts time to figure things out, but in the meantime these blatant infringements on Second Amendment rights will be allowed to stand.

106 Responses to BREAKING: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Assault Weapons Case, Allows Law to Stand

    • Why would anyone want to overturn it when they can just ignore it?

      (Assuming you meant “Heller …”. If you really meant Helen, please provide a photo of Helen. I might like to see her overturned.)

    • Heller and MacDonald are going to be the last two SC cases we see in favor of gun rights. Going forward, SCOTUS is going to ignore gun cases for now until Hillary manages to appoint some liberal replacements for the conservatives on the court. Once the “activist” liberal wing has the head count they need, expect them to wade into gun cases with gusto and really support the anti-gun position.

      I’d expect to see Heller all but reversed within the next decade.

      The only hope gun owners have is to convince more fence sitters that prohibition is not the way to go. Absent that, gun rights will begin to erode once again.

      • Yes, that’s part of the plan, going by things I see on lefty sites. Get more judges, overturn Heller, repeal the PLCAA and start suing. They’ll never stop trying.

        • Vote Cruz if you love big war and the big banks. If you actually put America first you will run far from Cruz.

        • @Chris Mallory

          Aside from Rand, who seems to be about as likely a candidate as Jefferson, who else is preferable to Cruz? Is it even theoretically possible to become a major party candidate without being some bankster/leech apologist?

        • Cruz is for small federal government , states rights , free capital markets and local banking . Please don’t spread the occupy wall street garbage without statistics and real world facts about Cruz . He will try to restore our constitutional republic .

        • There’s no Republican candidate in this election cycle who can both 1) win the primaries, and 2) be a challenge for Hillary in the general election. Cruz certainly isn’t it; he’s way too far right for general. Trump would bring Democratic voters out in droves, even those who don’t normally vote, and might even push some centrist Republicans across the aisle. The only one who has something resembling a chance is Rubio, but even then I’d bet 10:1 on Hillary.

          Basically, at this point, if you want to be pragmatic (as in, actually doing something as opposed to ranting), assume 8 years of a Democrat president, and Democrats taking over some of the House seats, and plan accordingly.

      • Jim Barrett,

        “I’d expect to see Heller all but reversed within the next decade.”

        These recent federal Appellate Court decisions have absolutely reversed Heller. And the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear them is their stamp of approval on the reversal.

        • Yes, I agree. SCOTUS is, in the end, a political institution. They see that the right side of the political spectrum is OK with gay marriage, women in the infantry and special ops, and so they think why not neuter the 2nd Amendment.

    • No, not by ruling they haven’t overturned Heller. But in practice they are.

      AWBs are insidious – the fudds are fine with them and they do jack to stop crime, so they’re nothing but an entry point to move next to much stronger legislation.

      I fear that many folks don’t realize how bad this news may be.

    • With many of the federal judges nominated by Obama, the courts rule over any possible legal document.

      While it would be nice to believe that the Constitution is the guiding document, that document has pretty much been thrown out by progressives.

      This is why for the POTUS election, you are really voting for which potential next POTUS will either uphold, or throw out the Constitution given the next person will most likely nominate one if not two of the next POTUS and if a democrat is allowed to be president, they will more than like kill whatever gun rights we have because the Constitution will have no bearing.

      It has been some time now that we are no longer a nation of laws but really a nation of politically appointed Judges whose only purpose is to pursue a political narrative than to uphold any law unless that law also is meant to uphold a narrative of their political leaning. Really, the role of POTUS now is to stack the courts to make sure when they leave their politics remains.

      While the lawyers that frequent here may have a different opinion, this seems to be what I see is happening.

        • It isn’t about politics at this point , not economics , not abortion , not borders , not climate change , drill baby drill , or who will fix race relations . It is only ONE thing . Restore states rights and respect and restore the constitution . If we do this we will face all the other challenges and overcome , if we do not , we are doomed for complete and utter failure and in kind so goes the entire world , it really is this extreme and important this time around . The fate of the entire world is balanced on this coming presidential election . We must put in a person who knows everything about the founders and the constitution and the intent and purpose behind it .
          When Rand Paul was learning about eyes , when Ben Carson was studying brains , when Marco Rubio was learning politics , and Donald Trump was waiting for his daddy to kick the bucket , Ted Cruz was learning the constitution and arguing it’s intent and winning those arguments before debates and judges . If we make this election about the constitution and nominate Ted Cruz , The only way Hillary will win is if Trump pulls a Perot and goes third party .

        • *Sigh*

          Mark, this kind of ignorance is WHY we’re in a horrible situation. Look back at the past 50 years – Republicans are just as pro-big government, anti-Constitution as the Democrats. THAT is why, until the American people learn to pull their heads out of their obese asses and STOP VOTING FOR THE SAME PEOPLE OVER AND OVER AGAIN (don’t worry, I know that Americans are too dumb to learn), nothing will improve. Whoever sits upon the throne is largely irrelevant anyways, since the real change would come from removing the career politicians from Congress that everyone despises (yet somehow 90% of them get re-elected every time…).

          You’ll shout some BS about voting for “the lesser evil”, while ignoring the fact that YOU’RE STILL VOTING FOR EVIL! You have the ability to not vote for evil, but you’ll insist that you MUST vote for either evil candidate A or evil candidate B while ignoring literally EVERY other option….then you’ll come cry about how the result was that you got evil. The human race has shown over the last 50 to 100 years that we’ve failed – we’re too dumb to survive and will always destroy ourselves.

        • Really? Do you need a lesson in gun laws in states controlled by Republicans vs. states controlled by Democrats? Have I missed your pet “pro-gun” Democrat POTUS candidate?

          Sheriff Clarke was (is?) a Democrat. He’s one of the few I know.

        • The real problem is more that the role of Chief Executive is somewhat inherently opposed to the concept of an armed populace (which is why you never see a dictator –the exact same job but without constraints– arming the populace, except against an immediate threat to his power). We haven’t had a pro-gun president since Kennedy, and his death brought about the modern gun control scheme. The last pro-gun prez we had before that was probably Teddy who’s populist statism led directly to FDR’s gun control onslaught in the ’30’s. And neither of those two guys saw guns as a means to a human civil right.

        • Accur81 has some wonderful reading comprehension. You point out that Republicans have just as much hatred for the Constitution as the Democrats and he goes full retard about how you love Democrats. This stupidity is EXACTLY what I was talking about. As long as you live in a world where you have to choose between a tyrant with an R or a D after their name, you will never be free. Only you can prevent electing the same SOBs each election!

        • Publius ,
          I did not shout out my contention that anyone should vote for the lessor of two evils . I don’t believe in that any more than you do . I do not in my wildest dreams believe Cruz is evil or that he would do anything but what he has always done , defend uphold and protect the constitution of the USA . He could not do anything but so since it has been nearly his whole life .
          It would be easier for you to start gun hating than Cruz to abandon his love , respect and devotion to a document he believes was inspired by God .
          He is as close to a Libertarian as you’ll find in todays politic save for Rand and Rand plays politics much more than Cruz with the establishment GOP and if you cannot see this you’re either a DEM troll or a Trumpite or a few screws loose on the ladder .
          Trump will get you Hillary in 16 and guns gone in 17 .
          Rand will lose to Hillary in a general and same result .
          Cruz can whip the socks off Hillary in the general if Trump goes away .
          If you cannot bring yourself to vote GOP , no matter who the nominated is then please , don’t go Adolf Trump and be prepared to make another inventory of your guns . You’ll perhaps be able to keep your Red Rider , your air soft and maybe a revolver and Hunting rifles will be black powder or single shot when Clinton is done .
          Be prepared to duct tape your head on because it will be spinning like a top /

    • SCOTUS has been making stuff up for some time now. Every pro-gun guy who was ambivalent on gay marriage and other social issues has no one to blame but themselves. Politics is a coalition game. They weaken your coalition, it is only a matter of time before they come for you.

      • You forgot the part where they make your coalition to begin with. What the hell do gun rights and gay rights have to do with each other? Unless you’re a libertarian, very little. Why is one on the left and another one on the right? Because each party claimed it for themselves accordingly, because they thought they could capitalize on it. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, it’s just a box that’s made by someone else for you to squeeze in. Will you?

  1. 9 black robes is…I’ve been to Highland Park. I bet most of the upper middle class elites who live there applaud this. THIS is no big deal(to me) to one who lives in a pretty good(for Illinois) town…

    • I live 10 miles from highland park. It’s a weird town, they might be upper middle classes, but they’re white trashiest upper middle class in the area. It’s the border town between the trashy gang infested areas of the north and the really nice homes and areas of Chicago’s north shore.

      • Are you thinking of Highwood? North of H.P. is Lake Forest (definitely NOT white trash). Great Lakes Naval Base is more like the buffer you are talking about.

    • “THIS is no big deal(to me) to one who lives in a pretty good(for Illinois) town…”

      When any blatantly unconstitutional law is upheld, it should be a big deal to every American, regardless of how many or how few citizens are actually affected by the law.

      • THIS is all about the focked up Illinois political scene-nothing else…get a grip guys. Tit for tat for CC with the corrupt(and dumb) governor Quinn.

        • It doesn’t really matter what the backstory is. If a bad law is allowed to stand, it will spread. It emboldens other city councils and legislatures to pass similar garbage laws. Gun control laws are like an infectious disease, you have to quarantine them immediately to stop their transmission.

    • This IS a big deal because, as with the denial of review in Jackson v. San Francisco (which also drew dissents from Thomas and Scalia) [upholding San Francisco’s storage requirements which are only a small step away from the D.C. requirements in Heller], the gun banners will be encouraged to enact similar restrictions in all major cities and (liberal) towns. For example, the SF ordinance in Jackson has been followed by an almost identical ordinance in LA, and now Oakland is considering one as well. Since the proposals are already in the works, that there will be an EBR ban/ registration requirement in California in 3, 2, 1….is a certainty, and that ban will withstand review in the federal district and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal..

    • Hey, if they slowly eliminate the market for guns, one small town at a time, eventually, there won’t be enough to support our gun industry. There are many ways for the anti-gunners to win in the long-term and this is without question a development in their favor.

  2. “If a ban on semi‐automatic guns and large‐capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit,” –Judge Frank Easterbrook

    Good to know the Supreme Court has given the thumbs up to trampling on rights based on people’s feelings.

    • “perceived risk” Utterly ridiculous and complete nonsense. It either reduces it or it does not, end of story.

    • The public may well feel safer if all muslims here were hauled off to internment camps west coast WWII-style. I’m guessing that judge would have his clerks pull an all nighter trying to wriggle out of applying his own ruling to such a case.

    • To the “heckler’s veto” of the First Amendment, we can now add the “Pillow-hugger’s veto” of the Second …

  3. While it would be great to get a Supreme Court affirmation that the Second Amendment includes weapons such as the AR-15, I am not holding out any hope that we would get such a positive ruling from this Court. As it stands, infringement is better fought at the state and local level rather than taking a gamble on SCOTUS voting with us. If they go the wrong way, we are all screwed. I would rather wait till there is a more firm majority in the Court if we can win the presidential nomination and get some good appointees.

      • Absolutely. Miller should have already addressed this which makes it even scarier. All the SCOTUS would have to do is point to a decision that was already made, and done. It *should* be a fairly easy decision. However, given that we are not seeing lower courts abide by this ruling and the SCOTUS doesnt have enough of a consensus to even take the case, this worries me. It either means that we are going to see some more gymnastics with the english language, or a complete overturn of Miller and Heller and get sent back to the dark ages. Which is why I’m happier it wasn’t taken on by SCOTUS.

    • You’re going to be waiting awhile, I fear. The court is not getting any more conservative and President Hillary is not going to help.

  4. “Now it appears that the Supreme Court has decided they aren’t going to actually enforce that holding, as they have declined to hear the case challenging the Highland Park “assault weapons” ban . . .”

    Really, it means Roberts thinks that Kennedy will or might go the wrong way, and the Court could end up giving its seal of approval to these sort of bans. I’m not happy, but I recognize it could be worse.

    • Yeah, I kind of get that feeling, too. That some of the conservatives on the SCOTUS are willing to trade a handful of places for the greater good of leaving things alone.

    • Exactly. As I said above, i would rather have the liberty being infringed in some areas opposed to the entire nation. If either Roberts or Kennedy flipped, we would be looking at an affirmation that federal bans/ confiscation would likewise be held up and all it would take is a bad president and a few seats to go blue in both houses and we’ve got a huge problem. Better to wait.

      • One of the Heller/McDonald 5 has figured that this gun rights thing has gone far enough. I don’t know if it’s Roberts or Kennedy — but it’s one of those two (I’d put slightly higher odds on Kennedy). That’s why they’ve stopped taking 2nd Amendment cases. There’s a danger that Kennedy will go with his emanations and penumbras and decide that “bear arms” doesn’t mean bear them in public.

        It’s more important than ever to elect a Republican to the presidency in 2016. It doesn’t assure us of putting a constitutionalist on the court should Ginsburg or Kennedy croak, but the odds are certainly better.

      • It’s not a “healthcare” law.

        Roberts seems to give unusual deference to Federal laws – not so much for municipal.

    • You should be more worried that there are Judges that are ready to rule based on their political bias versus written law. That the Chief Justice has to use these tactics because one or more Judges would vote with their politics versus the law should scare everyone.

      This is the same as a Judge wanting to rule that 2 + 2 = 3 versus 4 because their common core leanings tells him to vote for the politics versus the fact that all math theory tells you 2 + 2 = 4.

      They are no longer ruling on law but simply politics.

  5. As an Illinois resident, this is incredibly frustrating for me. Although the requirements to get my IL CCW permit are ridiculous, it’s actually a pretty great permit to have as far as reciprocity goes. But with the state and now the USSC allowing Highland Park and other towns to create a patchwork of laws regulating the possession of different types of firearms, I can now carry more freely across the border in Wisconsin than I can when I’m traveling across my own state. If someone has the time and money to spend getting arrested in Highland Park lawfully carrying a commonly available handgun with a greater than 10 round capacity, I’ll donate to your legal defense and any lawsuit that follows.

      • Well, sort of. The wording of the Concealed Carry statute still gives local governments more wiggle room than I’m comfortable with.

        • You are both right-it’s bad because of the capricious nature of the ban goons. I live in a “good” town in southern Cook co but only a few miles away they ban freakin’ lasers on guns…they also ban AR’s in a few other suburbs-or try to.

    • Read up on the part about state preemption of local handgun laws and then get back to me. Even Chicago has a line at the end about the local city laws to not apply where preempted by state law. !6 hours of training may not have been enough.

  6. Between the Supreme Court shredding the Constitution by upholding Obamacare, and the Supreme Court failing to support its own precedents as in this case, the Court has ruled on its own irrelevance and endorsed a lawless legislative-executive axis of oppression.

    History’s harshest judgements will be reserved for those who squandered the easiest opportunities to avoid the most dire outcomes.

    • Dred Scott vs Sandford has a lot of eerie parallels to the Obamacare rulings, so perhaps Roberts (or Scalia/Thomas even though they say the case should have been heard) was concerned a similar poorly-wrought decision would be forced (by political or personal blackmail, as we all suspect of the two O-care cases, and as was proven to be the case with Dred Scott) on a far, far more important topic than healthcare payments. An upholding of assault weapons bans at the federal level would likely be about as inflammatory as the Dred Scott decision, and would spark a political arms race of states taking sides and seeking influence for a future legislative push for a federal ban, not unlike the run up to the Civil War. The election of a president & congress likely to make that push would probably once more light the fuse that destroys this nation, leaving God only knows what to come after.

  7. In addition to my above, I would like to pose a question. I have a pretty decent understanding of Constitutional jurisprudence but I am always looking for other points of view on the topic. Instead of attacking laws such as this head on, why not use logical consistency against the left? What I mean by this, is that recently, full faith and credit has been used to affirm that marriage in one state (such as gay marriage) must be recognized in the rest of the states. This was used to ensure that there isn’t a patchwork of marriage laws around the nation and people could receive the federal and state benefits of a marriage no matter what they are. So why not argue the point of firearms ownership or carry laws on the same basis? If you get a carry permit in one state, it should be recognized by all other states the same as a marriage license or a drivers license.

    • A driver’s license is not valid in all state’s due to ‘full faith and credit.’ Good luck finding that caselaw.

    • Full Faith and Credit is widely misunderstood. It requires states to recognize public records from other states, but does not define the consequences of such recognition. So one state cannot refuse to recognize the fact that a couple is married in another state, but it doesn’t actually have to treat them as married in its own jurisdiction. For example, back when anti-miscegenation laws were still a thing, states that had them wouldn’t recognize marriages of their residents performed in other states that did not, and that was never challenged in court on Full Faith and Credit grounds – eventually SCOTUS just ruled all such laws unconstitutional throughout the country, and the point became moot, so it was never contested. Ditto with same-sex marriage, until SCOTUS ruling other states could and did refuse to recognize such marriages.

      So no, recognition of your driver’s license by another state has nothing to do with FF&C. They do it because they can and most people find it convenient, but most states do require you to get their license if you reside for longer than a certain time, and any state could in theory refuse to recognize license issued by any other state for purposes of driving (but they would have to accept it for record purposes, e.g. as evidence of your ID).

      Same story with concealed carry. States do what they want there, and there’s no broad public support in favor of nation-wide reciprocity, so it doesn’t happen.

  8. This confirms how totally and utterly corrupt our United State Supreme Court is.

    In the 1939 Miller decision, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision declared that firearms which have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia” would be protected under the Second Amendment. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision protected firearms “in common use” for lawful purposes in the United States.

    And what does the Highland Park ban prohibit? The AR-15 rifle — the most popular rifle in the United States … a rifle which is for all intents and purposes identical to the semi-automatic M-4 rifles that our United States military uses. (Their magazines are even interchangeable.)

    Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear the case and overturn a law that bans the most common rifle in the United States which is effectively identical to a rifle commonly used in the military and by extension the militia.

    In other words the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned its own precedents. And for what? This stinks to high Heaven.

    • That’s not entirely true. The USSC turns down far more cases than it hears. Maybe there are other reasons – maybe some of the conservative justices think that the AWB cases from CT or NY would be better.

      Declining to hear a single case doesn’t really send much of a message either way – if it becomes a pattern, with increasing encroachment on Heller, then the court will have to take a stand (or look completely irrelevant).

    • Indeed, when a court chooses to ignore its own rulings, it’s hard to put much faith in the “checks and balances” of our system any more. The division in the Federal government along party lines is truly complete, when the highest judges in the land can’t be relied on to set their political leanings aside and rule on the merits of a case.

      • Exactly. When SCOTUS is sent a ruling in direct contradiction to its precedent (especially recent/contemporary precedent), they typically rule with assertiveness, giving the judicial back-hand (with ring) to the morons on the lower court who made work for them. This is the fourth or so time that SCOTUS has surprisingly declined to hear cases with either stark district contradictions, or direct contradictions to recently-reviewed cases like Heller. I suspect what happened is Kennedy has come to realize exactly what he agreed to in voting with the majority in Heller, and has major buyer’s remorse. He will vote anti every time from now on, so you will never get four conservative justices (if there even are four; I’m not so sure about Alito or Roberts at this point) to agree to hear a case, and the liberal judges get exactly what they want by not hearing these cases at all; the gradual enshrinement of AWBs, without a flashpoint ruling that results in severe repercussions (like a Constitutional Amendment)

    • “a rifle (AR-15) which is for all intents and purposes identical to the semi-automatic M-4”

      The M-4 is a select fire weapon capable of fully automatic firing mode. AR-15’s are semi-auto only, so they are not at all identical. Similar maybe, but hardly identical.

      “effectively identical to a rifle commonly used in the military”

      Not really. Having an M-4 will get you 10 years in Federal prison but there is no Federal law prohibiting ownership of an AR-15. Do you really want to encourage the misconception that a semi-auto rifle is effectively identical to a machine gun?

      • The only material difference between an M-4 and an AR-15 is the full auto sear in the trigger group.

        Yes, the bolt is ever so slightly different as well and yet the M-4 bolt works fine in an AR-15 as I understand it.

        Hold them up side be side and the only way that a person would be able to tell the difference is the third position on the selector switch. They use the same forward grips, gas tube, sights, buffer tube, rear stock, lower receiver, upper receiver, barrel, flash suppressor, magazines, etc.

        I stand by my assertion that both rifles are effectively identical. Any differences are not sufficient to claim that one gets Second Amendment protection and the other does not.

  9. I wonder which side fears the outcome of hearing a 2nd Amendment case? I think it might be the Left as Thomas and Scalia wanted to hear it.

    • That doesn’t really stand to reason. EITHER side could have granted cert as it only takes 4. Since this was a pro-gun control ruling the denial of cert means either 6\8 justices agree with the gun control (unlikely) or some of them disagree but don’t think they can get the votes.

    • The liberal justices don’t WANT to have to write an opinion upholding them. If they keep refusing to hear these cases, the same precedent gradually develops, but without all the controversy. If they ruled the feds can restrict whatever they want (which is basically what the ruling would have to say), there’d probably be 3/4ths of the states within five years ratifying a Constitutional Amendment making federal weapon bans illegal in response. But this way, they get what they want slowly, quietly, incrementally, and never raise too big a fuss.

  10. NOT a Constitutional scholar, but if it takes one on this FU.

    IMPEACHMENT PROCEDINGS THEN, because the Constitution leaves us only that or violence.

    So, 1) Articles of Impeachment to the House of Representatives; 2)(if approved) Senate conducts the trial; and
    3) (because the US senate is such a bunch of POS’s that we all should have had a civil war over their stupid cr_p many years ago) the prescribed violence protected under the 2nd Amendment.

  11. Sadly, instead of acting as checks and balances on governmental overreach, all three branches of the government seem obsessed with accruing as much power as possible.

    • It’s because We, The People, stupidly began dismantling the checks and balances over a century ago so government would “work more efficiently.” Otherwise, the VP would always be from the opposing party (conveniently making removal of overly-divisive presidents a somewhat corrective measure, rather than a pointless gesture), the Senate would be appointed by governors (conveniently side-stepping the populist urban sideshow it’s become), and the Supreme Court would only rule interactions between states (as opposed to conflicts entirely confined within a state), and its precedents would be non-binding (thus requiring all supporting arguments to derive directly from the constitution, itself)

  12. We have 4 rabidly anti-gun scotus judges. I would recommend we table this issue until a republican president can nominate a more favorable panel.

    Remember: heller and mcdonald were both 5-4 rulings!

    • Yep. I wouldn’t trust this Supreme Court with this decision.

      Also if is not uncommon for the Supreme Court not to hear cases at all. They don’t entertain most of them. Especially until there is a split among the lower courts.

    • Seeing the concealed-carry revolution that Heller directly caused, I suspect Kennedy has major buyer’s remorse at this time.

      Sadly, the waiting game is a loser, too; just look at the pool we draw our jurors from. All Ivy League institutions have been thoroughly infested with statist ideology that is no longer of reliably producing lawyers capable of putting law before politics, or individual rights before the collective.

  13. SCOTUS is out of the 2A business for the time being, mostly because nether side trusts Kennedy.

    The next President will choose as many as four Justices. POTUS had better be a right-wing Republican or you can kiss your rights and your country goodbye.

    • Said “Right Wing Republican” nominee would simply be filibustered because abortion.

      And an pro-choice, pro-2A justice that might get past the filibuster will never be nominated by such a president, because abortion.

      • Not any more.. Back in 2013, when Whorehouse Harry and the democrats were in control, they invoked the ”nuclear option” and eliminated the filibuster on judicial nominees, to get obama nominees confirmed. When the GOP took over, they left the rules the way the democrats made them.

        • I nominate the judge who wrote the opinion for Peruta, and the judges that oversaw the forcible implementation of concealed carry laws in Chicago and DC.

          But sadly, I must confront the reality that even the most constitutionally and gun-friendly candidate –Ted Cruz– was the one who first recommended John Roberts to Bush while solicitor general (granted, it’s not like he could have known about whatever it is Obama used to blackmail Roberts for the Obamacare Rulings, but still)

    • And then we can look forward to better 2nd Amendment rulings but the state getting more and more power with the 4th and 5th. Dandy.

  14. OK, it looks bad. But don’t read too much into the Court’s refusal to hear a particular case. If the cases keep going up on the issue, they will eventually hear one, particularly if they get a conflict between appellate circuits.

    • Stevens doesn’t understand why the Second Amendment exists.

      “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” — Thomas Jefferson

    • Justice Stevens does not understand what the Founders knew, which is that at the time the Constitution was ratified, the militia consisted of every able bodied adult male. I live in WA, which did not become a state until 1889, a century after the Constitution of the United States was ratified. And yet, the law of WA to this day holds that the militia consists of all able bodied citizens and those residents who have declared their intention to become citizens. The organized militia is the National Guard, and the unorganized militia is literally every other able bodied adult in the state (there’s no discrimination against women).

      Google RCW 38.04.030 if you don’t believe me on that. Other states commonly have similar laws. Therefore, if the 2A is to be interpreted as regarding only militias and military style weapons, it would follow that able bodied adults inherently have the civic duty to be ready for military service- and the laws according to many of the original states required men to maintain a rifle suitable for such work. This may sound ridiculous (to some) today, but if Justice Stevens is appealing to a period specific meaning of the 2A, we should be required by law to keep an assault rifle and be proficient in its use.

      Justice Stevens is looking through the lens of judicial activism and an understanding of the Constitution shaped by the New Deal, which may be why the first case he cites is United States v. Miller, 1939. Look at the words he uses-

      ‘the court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that sort of weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated Militia.” ‘

      He believes that only weapons related to militia use cannot be regulated by Congress. Ignoring the ‘shall not be infringed’ language of the actual 2A, imagine that he is correct. Weapons related to militia use are not defined by type in the Constitution. Just as speech has been held in law to expand with changing technology (the 1A has never been assumed to only apply to a manual typeset printing press), weapons related to militia use change over time.

      During the American Revolution, private citizens brought their own personal cannon to the battlefield. Most of the militia brought their flintlock rifles or muskets. The essential point is that private citizens in the unorganized militia were expected to have modern arms suitable for military use. As new weapons were developed, they were adopted by the military, often at a slower rate than the civilian market. You can find in history multiple occasions when the military refused to issue repeating or magazine fed rifles on the grounds that soldiers would waste ammunition.

      Never mind that in the Miller case, the defendants were not even present, nor were their legal counsel, to state their position. Never mind that in the trenches of the First World War, shotguns (the weapons contested in the Miller case) were used by American soldiers to such great effect that the German Army wanted to have their use forbidden by the laws of war. If the Miller court was correct, then citizens should be allowed, if not required by law, to have the same type of arms issued to the armed forces of the United States.

      Currently, this includes grenade launchers, automatic rifles, belt fed light, medium, and heavy machine guns, without even considering heavy weapons suitable for mounting on vehicles or towed artillery (remember the privately owned cannon of the American Revolution). The standard issued rifle of the United States Army, which I carried for seven years between active duty and the National Guard (there’s the well organized militia again), is the M4, which has a three round burst mode (legally a machine gun) and a barrel short enough to be a felony charge in civilian hands.

      Setting aside the logical conclusion of Justice Stevens’ argument that Congress is only forbidden to regulate or ban military weapons from private ownership, his belief is the symptom of tremendously distorted legal tradition. Look up FDR’s packing of the court to force the New Deal through. The Supreme Court after FDR was dramatically different than the original intent of the Founders, allowing massive growth in the power and size of federal government, leading to absurdities like Wickard v. Filburn, holding that the federal government can regulate a person growing food on their own land even if they never bring it to market.

      Either way you want to look at it, Justice Stevens is wrong. A simple reading of the Constitution does not give Congress or any other entity power to infringe the right to keep and bear arms. Other writings of the time (Federalist Papers, etc.) support this. The convoluted twisting of language and outright invention of law that has followed in the years since support bans only on weapons not suitable for the military (what Justice Stevens wrote about the Heller decision is nonsense, if Miller permits only military weapons, it cannot also forbid military weapons and allow in their place only non military weapons) .

      I’d tell you where to send my M249, but you can save the tax dollars. Really, all the vast majority of gun owners want is to be left alone. At least, until the unorganized militia is needed. On that day, I’ll be there with my rifle.

    • My response is that you read federalist paper #46 by James Madison. The point being that we need to be a larger and more powerful force than the standing army controlled by the federal governement. On another note, every male 17 and older is a member of the “unorganized” militia (Dick Act of 1903). So whether or not we add those 5 words means absolutely NOTHING. Those on the left have this misconception that the militias morphed into the national guard. They did not. The Nat Guard has always been an instead of due to some inherent issues with the constitutional militia systems (poor training and no federal control). So the congress pushed the militia into what it called the “unorganized militia” and created an “organized militia” that is an adjunct part of the standing Armed Forces, but also under state control (which can and is pre-empted by federal control). As you can see, the Nat Guard is a reserve force of the US Army. As such, it fails to meet the 2A requirement as belonging to the states and only the states. however other so called militia groups like Oath Keepers are protected under the 2A as well as the State Defense Forces that some states still maintain. As there is no federal control (nor should there be) over these entities.

    • There is little in the historical record to suggest that the Framers intended the second amendment to apply only to those actively serving in a militia. In fact, the concept is nonsensical, since in Colonial times, militia were formed as needed and disbanded when their purpose was complete. So protecting the right to keep and bear arms only when serving in the militia is a ridiculous notion: what were the citizenry to do with their weapons and ammunition between those times when a militia was needed? Reserving the right to own weapons to agents of the government is completely counter to the spirit of the Revolution, and it’s inconceivable that the founders would have given such a notion even a moment’s thought.

      Also, reading the contemporary writings of the thinkers of that time, such as Jefferson, Madison, et al, it’s clear that they intended all of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights to be individual rights retained by each citizen, not collective rights as Stevens would consider the second amendment. It is silly to think that the second amendment is the only one, of ten amendments in the BoR, that restricts the rights of citizens, while the other nine lay out restrictions on the power of government.

      In Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, the rules governing Congress’ power over the militia are laid out. If the right to keep and bear arms applies only to those serving in the militia, why is it not placed in that section? Instead, it is placed together with such critical individual rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, trial by jury, etc. That alone speaks volumes about the intent of the authors of that document.

    • ISIS poses no threat at all to our freedom. The only threats our liberty faces come from our government and fellow citizens.

  15. I wouldn’t trust this Court with Roberts or Kennedy to strike down legislation like an AWB. So good for now IMO. It sucks that AWB get passed, but we run the risk too much of the SCOTUS upholding an AWB IMO.

  16. TTAG – Was hoping for a little bit more original reporting, and certainly more than just a CNN quote. Important to note that at least two Supreme Court justices are prepared to rule that an AWB is unconstitutional under Heller and McDonald. Justice Thomas’ dissent, joined by Justice Scalia states: “The question under Heller is not whether citizens have adequate alternatives available for self-defense. Rather, Heller asks whether the law bans types of firearms commonly used for a lawful purpose—regardless of whether alternatives exist. 554 U. S., at 627–629. And Heller draws a distinction between such firearms and weapons specially adapted to unlawful uses and not in common use, such as sawed-off shotguns. Id., at 624–625. The City’s ban is thus highly suspect because it broadly prohibits common semiautomatic fire- arms used for lawful purposes. Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles. See 784 F. 3d, at 415, n. 3. The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. See ibid. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citi- zens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons. See McDonald, 561 U. S., at 767–768; Heller, supra, at 628–629.”

    • ……………and of the ‘ roughly ‘ five million Americans that own semiauto rifles , I would guess about 3.5 million own more than 3 of them in at least 2 calibers , that’s 15 million minimum , got to share with family and friends WSHTF

  17. “If a ban on semi‐automatic guns and large‐capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit,” –Judge Frank Easterbrook

    The act of reducing the “perceived” risk (without reducing the actual risk) necessarily reduces preparation and action against that risk. Is it better to know that houses sometimes catch fire, or is better to be oblivious to the possibility? Perhaps being prepared for life’s risks is the wrong approach to life itself.

    • A federal judge writing that perceptions are substance. The transformation is complete, America is now trans-moral.

  18. Four, not five, justices are required to vote in favor of the Supreme Court hearing a case. Unless Justice Thomas was only trying to work a clog out of his pen, he favored it, so it would have required a vote of Thomas +1 or +2. If it had been Thomas +3, cert would have been granted.
    The Court does a huge amount of its work quietly. A stunningly tiny percentage of lawyers appear before the Court over and over again, mostly because the Court has confidence in those lawyers’ abilities to write and argue persuasively enough to advocate a legal issue so powerfully. http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/scotus/

    We know that 4 of the 5 Justices in the Heller majority were pro-2A, with Kennedy as the swing vote, and we also know that one of those 5, Thomas, voted for cert. in Highland Park. The rest is guesswork, and my hunch is the pro-2A group agreed to take a pass on Highland Park, either because the facts weren’t over the top enough, or they weren’t confident the lawyers for the appellant could persuade Kennedy, or they don’t want to spank Highland Park in the midst of a volatile public squabble, or they want to let more states and local governments address the issue, or they want to wait until they (hopefully) don’t have to rely on Kennedy for a swing vote.
    Barring health issues, Ginsburg is the oldest, and Breyer is on record wanting to leave DC and go home. To shift the balance to liberals will take a Democrat in the White House plus 51 votes in the Senate for confirmation, a fairly unlikely combination.
    Denial of cert does not create a precedent, and only means fewer than four Justices wanted to decide a particular appeal. It’s unlikely that any of the conservative Four have changed their mind since Heller, and since they had the ability to grant cert but chose to demur, I’m thinking they know something we don’t about the situation and decided the time isn’t right. I wish they had, but I’m not going to lose my shit just because they declined.

    • Missed the edit time limit, just saw the Scalia comment above, but that reinforces my opinion that it’s a matter of timing, and that we will have reinforcement of Heller down the road.
      And apologies for the long post.

  19. Good comment-it eloquently states what I posted earlier. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s really good advice in the land of Lincoln…

  20. My own suspicion is that the other two pro-2A justices declined to support issuing cert because they feared the majority would overturn parts or all of Heller.

    Given current directions, I would suggest that the longer folks wait to buy semi-automatic rifles, the more likely that those rifles will be banned when folks really want to buy.

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