As far as the Second Amendment is concerned the Roberts Court is a dud.
U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Opponents of gun safety laws have again failed in their efforts to get the Supreme Court to adopt their extreme and dangerous approach,” Eric Tirschwell, managing director for Everytown Law crowed Monday, following the high court’s refusal to consider any of the 10 gun owner rights appeals petitioning to be heard. “In each of the cases, the lower courts correctly determined the Second Amendment is not a barrier to the reasonable, life-saving gun safety policies being challenged. The Supreme Court recognized there is no need to revisit these thorough rulings.”
They were pretty moderate cases, really, some challenging “special needs justifications” used to turn “may issue” into “don’t hold your breath,” bans on “commonly owned” standard capacity magazines and firearms, a challenge to interstate prohibitions on handguns sales, a challenge to a ban on handguns that do not employ microstamping and a challenge to the denial of rights to non-residents.
It’s not like anybody was asking them to admit the Founder’s mandate that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Or recognize the core purpose of the Second Amendment, and how state infringements undermine “the security of a free State” and of the Republic as a whole to the benefit of “enemies foreign and domestic.”
And that makes it fair for gun owners to ask what the hell is going on with the Supreme Court, and particularly with its top turncoat.
“The Supreme Court’s refusal to take a Second Amendment Foundation case falls squarely at the feet of Chief Justice John Roberts,” Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation asserted in a press release condemning the high court’s deliberate indifference. “He owes every gun owner in the United States an explanation about why the high court declined to hear a number of important Second Amendment cases.”
For those of us who have been watching Roberts for some time, his dereliction from fidelity to the Constitution comes as no surprise, particularly after his Obamacare betrayal. Speculation about who’s got what on the guy seems more than warranted. Some of us questioned why gun owners were overwhelmingly supportive of him before he was confirmed, noting there was plenty of Republican establishment rah-rah, but no real basis from which to make an informed judgment.
That holds true for other nominations, where the name of the game is partisan rubberstamping instead of finding out what really makes the justices tick. A report by Congressional Research Service explains:
“In recent decades a recurring Senate issue has been what kinds of questions are appropriate for Senators to pose to a Supreme Court nominee appearing at hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Particularly at issue has been whether, or to what extent, questions by committee members should seek out a nominee’s personal views on current legal or constitutional issues or on past Supreme Court decisions that have involved those issues. Usually, when Senators at confirmation hearings have asked Supreme Court nominees to comment on topical legal and constitutional issues, the nominees have firmly declined to do so. In those situations, the nominees typically have taken the position that answers to questions that convey their personal views would conflict with their obligation to avoid appearing to make commitments or provide signals, as to how they would vote as a Justice on future cases.”
Think of one job you’ve ever applied for where you’d have gotten it if you decided to play coy with the hiring managers. While it may be “inappropriate” for a judge to weigh in on a specific case before confirmation — for legitimate reasons, including not having studied and evaluated all the particulars, evidence and precedents against the “supreme Law of the Land,” — there’s no reason why general principles of understanding should be off-limits. Such hearings are supposed to be, among other things, high-level employment interviews, not pre-coronation ceremonies.
As such, here are questions gun owner rights advocates should expect the representatives they enable and support to ask that any qualified candidate shouldn’t have any trouble answering:
- What did the Founders mean by “A well regulated militia”?
- What did the Founder mean by “being necessary to the security of a free State”?
- What did the Founders mean by “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”?
- What did the Founders mean by “shall not be infringed”?
- How can past Supreme Court opinion specifying protected arms as those being “in common use at the time” not apply to the types of firearms needed for militia service?
Hell, correctly answering these should be required to graduate high school. But it won’t happen even with Republicans nominally in control of things, let alone if there’s a blue wave in November. So what “legal” recourse is available?
You can’t hoist them on their own petard. Judicial immunity means you can’t take them to court for the subversion of Founding intent. And good luck getting the current crop of interested/compromised/beholden Deep State Swamp denizens to even suggest impeachment, although allow a Democrat supermajority and don’t be surprised to see Clarence Thomas targeted anew.
There is one other legal alternative. Per the Hoover Institute:
“Congress should exercise its power to limit the jurisdiction of the courts. The Constitution provides that Congress is authorized to establish those federal courts subordinate to the Supreme Court and set forth their jurisdiction. Congress also has the power to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and regulate its activities. Accordingly, Congress should exercise this authority to restrain an activist judiciary.”
Again, don’t hold your breath. Too many string-pulling special interests like things the way they are and are counting on legislation coming from the bench when they know they don’t have the votes to advance their agendas the Constitutional way – yet.
That too is changing. And with Thursday’s 5 – 4 ruling, with John Roberts once more siding with the “liberals” writing the majority opinion on DACA “undocumented immigrants,” expect Democrats to renew their push to transform the “pathway to citizenship” to an open borders superhighway. If they take all in November, get ready for the electoral, legislative, and judicial evisceration of the Second Amendment, especially after another high-profile exploitation of “gun-free zones,” their very existence guaranteeing more coming.
Do you think “legal” semiautos won’t be next on the ban list, and that in-your-face legal abominations like ruling they are the same as machineguns won’t be upheld? (And to think there are still some ignoramus gun owners out there bloviating the “bump stock” ban was about stupid toys, and who ridicule those warning of new dangers that will arise from the “precedent.”)
So – if “legal” doors are slammed in our faces, what choices will gun owners have, except to surrender or defy confiscation orders?
“[T]he liberties of the American people were dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box; that without these no class of people could live and flourish in this country,” civil and human rights pioneer and giant Frederick Douglass maintained in his classic Life and Times autobiography.
“By calling attention to ‘a well regulated militia,’ the ‘security’ of the nation, and the right of each citizen ‘to keep and bear arms,’ our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.”
At this point, there are plenty of reasons for gun owners to be concerned, not the least being Donald Trump’s unique ability to alienate the core constituency that got him elected (and a new report of a potential ATF reversal on arm braces isn’t helping). What we know for certain is that if Joe Biden and the Democrats win “bigly,” the means of peaceful redress supposedly guaranteed by the First Amendment will be as closed off to us as “Second Amendment protections.”
None of us has a crystal ball to know what is coming next, but it does look like November could be our “last best hope” for such redress using the remarkable system bequeathed us by our Founders. After that, who knows what terrible choices each of us will be confronted with, and when?
The one thing we will come to know to our credit or our shame is how serious we each are when we declare “WE WILL NOT DISARM” and the only choices left by those who would claim our rights as theirs are surrender or resist.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.