And you thought the left was already acting insane, unhinged and violent? Wait until a second Trump Supreme Court pick — someone, one would hope, with a more reliable, Gorsuch-like originalist judicial philosophy — is nominated.
The Supreme Court ended its current session today and with it, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the bench. That gives President Trump a second Supreme Court pick.
This is, of course, a much bigger deal that was his first high court nominee. Trump chose the reliably conservative Neil Gorsuch to replace the reliably conservative Antonin Scalia. That resulted in no net change in the balance of the court.
Justice Kennedy has occupied the “middle” seat, swinging between the four conservative and four liberal justices in his decisions. Assuming a nominee who sees the Constitution and the law in the same way that Gorsuch does, the balance of the Court will now be tilted decidedly to the right.
What does that mean for gun owners? That’s not exactly clear. The Court has stayed out of Second Amendment law since its landmark Heller and McDonald decisions. They’ve let stand a variety of adverse lower court rulings that affirmed “assault weapons” bans (Maryland) and the need to “show good cause” for a concealed carry permit (California).
Some observers speculated that the Court chose not to wade in on those cases because Justice Kennedy’s vote was so unpredictable. They’d prefer to let those decisions stand, the reasoning went, rather than take the chance that the mercurial Kennedy would do something to further weaken individual Second Amendment rights.
If that was their motivation for avoiding RKBA cases, that’s probably about to change.
Again, everything depends on who President Trump nominates to fill the middle seat. Gun owners can be fairly optimistic based on the Gorsuch pick and a raft of other judicial nominations Trump has made to fill lower court vacancies. But there will be a lot of people sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the President’s announcement. Watch this space.