The court’s conservatives have two choices: Tell violent abusers everywhere they can keep their guns, or strike a blow against their beloved principle of “originalism,” the idea that the Constitution must be applied today by divining the original intent of the men who wrote it and the values of the world they lived in centuries ago.
While oral arguments will give us a better idea of where the justices stand, for now most legal observers believe the plaintiff, Zackey Rahimi, is going to lose. The consequences of him winning — for both the court and the Republican Party — are just too grave. …
So it’s possible the court’s less extreme conservatives are looking for a way out. That could mean loosening the Bruen test to say a regulation doesn’t need a directly analogous law from two centuries ago, just a general justification — say, that sometimes guns were taken from certain people deemed dangerous, so it’s fine to take them from domestic abusers.
If Rahimi wins, laws on everything from carrying guns on planes to background checks to licensing gun dealers might have to be struck down. Even the court’s conservatives (apart from Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.) are probably hesitant to go that far.
— Paul Waldman in How the Supreme Court’s next gun case could deal a blow to originalism