[I]t would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. Of course there’s maneuvering on both sides. That’s the nature of Supreme Court practice these days, and it applies not only to Supreme Court lawyers but to the other side of the bench as well. Justice Alito is an Olympic-quality champion at writing opinions that invite attentive and like-minded readers to bring him exactly the case he wants in order to achieve his desired result.
This case offers a snapshot, a little drama in which all the players are in their assigned places. The court’s liberals, who surely never wanted the case on the docket in the first place, just want it to go away. Consistently applied law, at this point, happens to be on their side. The appetite of the conservative justices for a vehicle to expand the Second Amendment is palpable, and at least some of them are willing to turn cartwheels to keep this one going.
In the faraway land of not-too-long ago, it was judicial conservatives who invoked the virtues of judicial modesty and relied on doctrines like mootness and standing to keep cases out of court. Now, seemingly, it’s come down to this: whatever it takes.
– Linda Greenhouse in Gunfight at the Supreme Court