This morning, the Supreme Court released its orders from last week’s conference. There was some hope that based on Justice Kavanaugh’s concurrence and the Alito/Thomas/Gorsuch dissent in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, and the adding of all 10 Second Amendment cases that had been “held” pending NYSR&PA, we might see a cert grant this morning.
On the other hand, if we saw a bunch of “cert denied” decisions come out of the conference (which is the fate of over 99% of all cert petitions), as I previously wrote, that would likely signal that Roberts has likely gone into full coward mode, and we’re back to an Anthony Kennedy-era standoff on gun rights cases.
This morning’s orders were thus anticlimactic. No cert grants on Second Amendment cases, but no denials either. The pending 2A cases are thus likely relisted for a future conference (which is also a very common practice).
What does this mean?
It could be that the pro-2A block (which has the necessary four votes to grant cert) is holding fire until they can get a better read on Roberts. It could be that there was just too much business at last week’s conference (especially given that they are holding the conferences telephonically or by vidconference).
It could be any number of possibilities…all of which are sheer speculation at this point.
For now, it’s wait and watch. Frustrating, but par for the course when it comes to Supreme Court practice.