While the Second Amendment community anxiously awaits a decision in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, we have to consider if a moot decision in this case will effectively moot the United States Supreme Court itself. On the other hand, any ruling other than moot will likely see the extreme left wing of congress working to reshape the Court itself. Either way, there is a whole lot more involved in this case than just the case itself.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York is about the draconian Premise Licenses issued by the City of New York. It allowed Licensees to legally possess their firearms at the single permitted home or transported unloaded and locked to one of seven authorized ranges in the City. ANY transportation to ranges or homes outside the city was strictly prohibited, as was any travel not directly between their home and the approved ranges.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association has been fighting this law for seven years. During this time, the City of New York has vigorously defended this law through the courts as a completely Constitutional restriction. After all, they claimed it was in the interest of “public safety” and that was all that was necessary. That all changed once the case was granted cert (a writ of certiorari) for review by the United States Supreme Court. Following this action, the City made a number of attempts to nullify or moot, the case including claiming they would relook at the law, amending the law administratively and finally reversing and revising the law so it gave the petitioners the ability to leave the City with their firearms. They even went so far as to have the State of New York loosen the state laws to back this up. All of this happened at a speed unheard of in New York for pro-Second Amendment legislation.
So that should be the end of it, right? Well, not really. There are a number of questions still remaining including the entire judicial process of how it got there. For seven years, the City of New York has been ardent in their defense of this law. Only after the highest court in the land, a court now leaning slightly more conservative, do they pull the plug and say mea culpa. Why? Because a ruling against the City of New York could have a far reaching and devastating impact on gun control legislation around the country.
This isn’t the first time in recent history where the gun control community has decided to bite the bullet (sorry, bad pun) and accept less gun control than see a conservative leaning Supreme Court make a nationwide ruling. Washington DC became “Shall Issue” following Wrenn vs. District of Columbia where the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia court ruled the ban on open carry and “good reason” restrictions on concealed carry were unconstitutional. In order to protect the gun control laws of states like California, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Connecticut, Washington DC did not pursue further appeals. Of course, DC continues to change their rules to make it extraordinarily expensive and difficult to obtain and keep a “Shall Issue” permit, but you wouldn’t expect them to just follow the law now would you?
So what would a non- moot ruling mean? Other than getting a ruling on the original case itself, it would prevent the City and State of New York from simply reversing the law again and reinstating the exact same restrictions they had in place. But what the gun control zealots fear the most is the Court will rule favorably on firearms possession outside the home OR that Second Amendment cases must be examined under “Strict Scrutiny”.
Some quick notes on Rational-Basis, Intermediate Scrutiny, and Strict Scrutiny
- Under rational-basis the government must have a legitimate interest and the law must be “rationally related” to the interest.
- Under intermediate scrutiny, the government must have an important interest and the law must be substantially related to the interest.
- Under strict scrutiny, the government must have a compelling interest and the law must be narrowly tailored to the interest.
Note that the likelihood of a law being overturned increases as the level of scrutiny increases.
It’s also important to note that even when the district courts have examined cases under intermediate scrutiny, they have relied on shady, unreliable and incomplete “evidence” to reach their biased opinions in Second Amendment cases.
What was the evidence in favor of the NYC travel ban? An affidavit with nothing more than a series of conclusory statements. The entire evidence in support of the travel ban was an affidavit from a former gun-licensing official. He speculated that licensed New York City handgun owners transporting unloaded handguns outside the city might perpetrate “road rage.” Without a strong, definitive ruling from the US Supreme Court, logic like this is what will determine whether or not you get to keep your natural rights.
And let’s not forget the attacks on the US Supreme Court members themselves. After the disgraceful attacks during Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, the possibility of his impeachment was openly discussed. This, as well as the so-called “grassroots” movement by graduates to remove him from his position as a lecturer at Harvard Law School and other positions, is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate him into tempering his rulings.
Even more blatant was the brief five Democratic Senators filed in response to the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York case itself. They argued: “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it,” said the brief, filed in August by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.'”
The threat is crystal clear. If the court rules against the City of New York, it will be restructured to a more liberal point of view. If that isn’t the definition of political influence of a Supreme Court case, nothing is.
So there you have it. If the case is ruled moot, the City of New York will be free to un-reverse their regulations and restrict law-abiding citizens in new and creative ways until another case makes it back to the US Supreme Court, just in time to be moot again. OR, the court can rule against the City of New York and establish the proper procedure for all Second Amendment cases – and risk being restructured to the point where it is no longer able to make any non-politically approved ruling.
Who is to blame for having a non-independent judicial branch of our government? We are… all of us citizens / voters who have allowed our representatives to make a mockery out of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Who we vote for has consequences and we’ve only begun to see how bad it can be.
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