Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    “The Supreme Court on Monday refused to decide on the constitutionality of a controversial New York City gun law that has since changed, ruling in an unsigned opinion that the case is now "moot" because of the changes in the law.”

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ali...-supreme-court

    The Supreme Court on Monday refused to decide on the constitutionality of a controversial New York City gun law that has since changed, ruling in an unsigned opinion that the case is now "moot" because of the changes in the law.

    The court's move to even hear the gun rights case despite a perceived procedural issue previously drew veiled threats from Democratic senators who filed a brief in the case, saying "[t]he Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be 'restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.'"

    The statute in question initially restricted the transportation of firearms outside city limits -- even when licensed, locked and unloaded. The city's statute was later amended after the Supreme Court agreed to review it and New York state passed a law overruling the original version of the city's law. The court heard arguments over the original measure anyway.

    "After we granted certiorari, the State of New York amended its firearm licensing statute, and the City amended the rule so that petitioners may now transport firearms to a second home or shooting range outside of the city, which is the precise relief that petitioners requested in the prayer for relief in their complaint," the unsigned opinion read.

    Petitioners’ claim for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the City’s old rule is therefore moot," it continued.

    The Supreme Court sent the case back down to lower courts for undefined further action.

    But Justice Samuel Alito issued a lengthy dissent in which he not only disputed whether the case is moot, but tore into the original New York City law as clearly unconstitutional.

    Alito argued that the New York gun owners who sued over the original law didn't get "all the prospective relief they seek" because there was still a lack of clarity in the new version of the law on what travel restrictions actually apply to gun owners. Gun owners under the new law are told they have to bring their guns directly between their homes and gun ranges they wish to practice at with only "reasonably necessary" stops.

    "But the meaning of a 'reasonably necessary' stop is hardly clear," Alito wrote. "What about a stop to buy groceries just before coming home? Or a stop to pick up a friend who also wants to practice at a range outside the City? Or a quick visit to a sick relative or friend who lives near a range? The City does not know the answer to such questions."

    Alito also noted that if the Supreme Court ruled the original law was unconstitutional, then the gun owners on the case could seek damages from the city for the violation of their rights.

    On the actual merits of New York City's now-replaced law, Alito made clear he thinks it violates the Second Amendment.

    "This is not a close question," he wrote.

    "If history is not sufficient to show that the New York City ordinance is unconstitutional, any doubt is dispelled by the weakness of the City’s showing that its travel restriction significantly promoted public safety. Although the courts below claimed to apply heightened scrutiny, there was nothing heightened about what they did," Alito said.

    Alito continued, scolding the city over its arguments.

    "In sum, the City’s travel restriction burdened the very right recognized in Heller," Alito said, referring to the landmark gun rights case. "History provides no support for a restriction of this type. The City’s public safety arguments were weak on their face, were not substantiated in any way, and were accepted below with no serious probing. And once we granted review in this case, the City’s public safety concerns evaporated."

    Justice Brett Kavanaugh issued his own opinion, straddling the fence between the unsigned opinion that refused to rule on the merits of the New York City law while also agreeing with Alito that lower courts are not sufficiently protecting the Second Amendment.

    "I agree with the per curiam opinion’s resolution of the procedural issues before us—namely, that petitioners’ claim for injunctive relief against New York City’s old rule is moot," Kavanaugh wrote. "And I share JUSTICE ALITO’s concern that some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases with petitions for certiorari now pending before the Court."

    While the case is a defeat for gun rights advocates, there may be a silver lining for those who wish to see the Supreme Court reinforce Second Amendment rights in the near future. With Kavanaugh, Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch all putting their names on opinions raising concerns about infringement of gun rights, there appears to be a large enough contingent of justices with a desire to boost such rights to force the court to hear future cases on the issue -- likely without the messy procedural issues in the New York case.

    The Supreme Court agrees to hear cases under the "rule of four," meaning that if just four justices want the court to accept a case, the court will hear it.

    The dissenting and concurring opinions from conservative justices got the attention of at least one gun-control group.

    "We remain concerned that a number of Justices appear to have an appetite to expand gun rights at the risk of Americans’ rights to enact the gun laws they want and need," Brady United President Kris Brown said in a statement. "Brady remains determined and vigilant in our fight for Americans’ right to live, and self-determination on public safety issues, a fight which is far from over."

    But other gun-control advocates saw the case as a victory, pure and simple. "Today’s decision to dismiss the case as moot is a victory for the rule of law and common-sense, constitutional gun safety laws. It’s yet another loss for an NRA and gun lobby that are in disarray and at odds with the majority of Americans who want the government to keep them safe," Hannah Shearer, the litigation director at the Giffords Law Center, said in a statement.

    "This case is not moot," Alito concluded. "The City violated petitioners’ Second Amendment right, and we should so hold."

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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    Life has a melody.

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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    Not sure what the complaint here might be. The court functioned just as intended. The appellant called NYC’s bluff, with the court’s blessing. NYC folded and changed its law to avoid a loss at showdown.

    The court does not and should not hear moot cases. It’s job is to try actual controversies, not theoreticals. When NYC changed its law, the actual controversy became a theoretical.

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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    Quote Originally Posted by free View Post
    Not sure what the complaint here might be. The court functioned just as intended. The appellant called NYC’s bluff, with the court’s blessing. NYC folded and changed its law to avoid a loss at showdown.

    The court does not and should not hear moot cases. It’s job is to try actual controversies, not theoreticals. When NYC changed its law, the actual controversy became a theoretical.
    While not getting a pro-2A decision out of SCOTUS is disappointing, I tend to agree. The reason this went to SCOTUS in the first place isn't there any more, but rest assured NY and the rest of those morons will give us another reason to do this song and dance again.

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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    The problem is this does nothing to smack down those who will continue to infringe more on our rights. By making it onerous to fight against illegal laws and regulations they effectively and by defacto infringe on those rights. SCOTUS needs to put teeth behind their rulings, to the point of people going to jail. Otherwise, we will continue to lose.
    Member: NJ "undocumented" Felons Club. NRA Life Member

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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    Quote Originally Posted by free View Post
    Not sure what the complaint here might be. The court functioned just as intended. The appellant called NYC’s bluff, with the court’s blessing. NYC folded and changed its law to avoid a loss at showdown.

    The court does not and should not hear moot cases. It’s job is to try actual controversies, not theoreticals. When NYC changed its law, the actual controversy became a theoretical.
    It's true NYC did modify the law in question. However without a decision finding the original law unconstitutional they could always change it back and other areas could pass a similar law. A favorable decision could have gave me more confidence in the court taking on additional second amendment cases especially ones that contest local and state semi auto bans, magazine limitations and carry restrictions. I don't think it is a good time for the courts to take a case like the aforementioned.

    There were also reports of Schumer along with other democrat senators threaten the SCOTUS over cases like this one. Maybe the threats hit a nerve.

    https://www.ammoland.com/2020/03/sen...#axzz6KrknoMpo

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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case


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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    Quote Originally Posted by eagleclaw View Post
    It's true NYC did modify the law in question. However without a decision finding the original law unconstitutional they could always change it back and other areas could pass a similar law.
    If NYC were to revert the law and it gets challenged again, I am certain that SCOTUS would hear the new challenge, and even if NYC were to do another undo.

    As for other places - yes they could - but that is speculation. It's not the court's role to rule on speculation. If some other locality passes such a law and it is challenged, it can make its way up and be heard. That's the time for the court to be involved.


    A favorable decision could have gave me more confidence in the court taking on additional second amendment cases especially ones that contest local and state semi auto bans, magazine limitations and carry restrictions. I don't think it is a good time for the courts to take a case like the aforementioned.
    In this case, the plaintiff got the relief they asked for, without SCOTUS having to make a ruling on the merits. That's a win for the plaintiff. You're supposed to be happy with your win, not upset because you didn't get a chance to make good law.

    There were also reports of Schumer along with other democrat senators threaten the SCOTUS over cases like this one. Maybe the threats hit a nerve.
    Yeah....that is kind of an issue, but at the end of the day, Congress has the right to make lower courts to dilute the power of SCOTUS. SCOTUS knows this. Congress threatening to use this power isn't exactly earth shattering.

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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    Quote Originally Posted by JustinHEMI View Post
    Completely inaccurate.

    NY changed the law so it would no longer be a case in court. Kavanaugh or any of the SCOTUS did nothing wrong. They could no longer rule on something that was no longer a violation according to the case that was brought.

    The ruling WOULD have been huge in our favor, but NY basically got scared and scrambled to prevent the case from being heard. We'll see if they change the laws back in the future, and if they do, they'll be back in court.

    Do I wish they could rule on the past/former law to prevent it from being done again? OF COURSE! Courts do not work that way.
    Psalms 73:26

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    Default Re: SCOTUS Refuses to Decide NYC Gun Rights Case

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacaheat View Post
    Completely inaccurate.

    NY changed the law so it would no longer be a case in court. Kavanaugh or any of the SCOTUS did nothing wrong. They could no longer rule on something that was no longer a violation according to the case that was brought.

    The ruling WOULD have been huge in our favor, but NY basically got scared and scrambled to prevent the case from being heard. We'll see if they change the laws back in the future, and if they do, they'll be back in court.

    Do I wish they could rule on the past/former law to prevent it from being done again? OF COURSE! Courts do not work that way.
    From a WJS editorial:

    The majority buckled and ignored previous rulings to do it. As Justice Alito writes, the Court’s precedents hold that “a case ‘becomes moot only when it is impossible for a court to grant any effectual relief whatever to the prevailing party.’” Plaintiffs want to transport their firearms without worrying about getting arrested if they stop somewhere along the way. The city even admitted in oral arguments that it’s unclear whether this is allowed. Justice Alito says this and more make the rule’s violation of the Second Amendment “not a close call.”

    On the mootness point, Justice Alito also pokes his colleagues with this hypothetical: “A State enacts a law providing that any woman wishing to obtain an abortion must submit certification from five doctors that the procedure is medically necessary. After a woman sues, claiming that any requirement of physician certification is unconstitutional, the State replaces its old law with a new one requiring certification by three physicians. Would the court be required to dismiss the woman’s suit?” You know the answer.


    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-chi...le_email_share


    Bill

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