The left lobbying the Supreme Court to do nothing

  • 19 August 2019
  • NormanL

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a gun rights case challenging a New York City ordinance restricting the transport of lawfully owned firearms outside a place a residence. The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York.

Perhaps anticipating the Supreme Court would look unkindly upon its draconian treatment of gun owners, the city told the Court it has amended its law and the case was now moot, because it gave plaintiffs "everything" they asked for when they challenged the ordinance. The city also told the Court it shouldn't rule on the case, and instead, send it back to a lower court ordering it to be dismissed without ever addressing the plaintiff's arguments.

But there's no guarantees the Court will do this. Realizing the Court might actually rule on the merits, and possibly set a game-changing precedent barring similar regulations elsewhere, gun rights opponents are lobbying the Court -- and Chief Justice John Roberts -- to drop the case for political reasons. One of those lobbyists is New York Times columnist Linda Greenhouse, who wrote the Court should not rule on the case because it might slow the push to limit gun rights:

I won’t get into the weeds of Second Amendment doctrine here, but if the court rules the way the gun lobby and its lawyers are urging in this case, if it adopts “strict scrutiny” as the only valid judicial approach to assessing the constitutionality of any limitation, then the political branches will effectively lose the ability to enact what the emerging political consensus deems to be common-sense regulations. Is this what the chief justice wants for the court — to pre-empt debate and turn the politics of gun regulation over to the judges?

The left is eager to have courts determine all manner of issues that should be left to politicians. But best not take a chance with guns, particularly because of the Second Amendment-friendly Trump administration's growing number of conservative judicial appointments.

Lobbying the court from the op-ed page is as old as the courts themselves. But we cannot imagine those same op-ed lobyists urging a court to do nothing were draconian curbs on free speech at issue.