SCOTUS Sidesteps 2A Cases In Monday's Orders

After considering nearly a dozen different Second Amendment-related cases in conference on Friday, the Supreme Court released its list of orders from the conference this morning. The bad news is that the Court has not yet accepted any of the cases, but the good news is that they haven’t dismissed any of the cases either.  Instead, the Court has carried over all of the cases, which means they’ll once again be heard in conference on May 14th.

There was a lot of speculation last week that the Court would quickly agree to hear at least one of the challenges, after justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh all stated that the Supreme Court needs to hear a Second Amendment case sooner rather than later to address lower courts’ misreading or unwillingness to abide by the Heller and McDonald decisions. The justices made their statements in opinions in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York City case, which the court declared moot after New York City changed the gun transportation law that was being challenged.

While it’s disappointing that the Court didn’t take up a case immediately, it’s not exactly cause for alarm. There is likely a lot of discussion among the four justices that have expressed a desire to hear a Second Amendment-related case (or cases) about which of the cases are ripe for review.

Here’s a quick look at each of the cases currently in conference. Note that more than half of the cases before the Court deal with onerous carry laws that prohibit the average citizen from exercising their right to bear arms.

Mance v. Barr is a case challenging the ban on interstate sales of handguns.

Pena v. Horan is a challenge to California’s microstamping law, which took effect in 2012 and has curtailed not only the availability of new models of handguns, but has caused existing models of handguns to be barred from being sold in the state.

Rogers v. GrewalCheeseman v. Polillo, and  Ciolek v. New Jersey all deal with challenges to New Jersey’s carry laws and “justifiable need” requirement for a carry permit, while Malpasso v. Pallozzi takes on similar requirements in the state of Maryland.

Culp v. Raoul challenges an Illinois law barring residents from 45 other states from applying for a non-resident concealed carry license, while Wilson v. Cook County takes on the Illinois county’s ban on modern sporting rifles.

There are also two cases out of Massachusetts being considered by the Court; a challenge to Massachusetts’ carry laws called Gould v. Lipson Worman v. Healey and a challenge to the state’s ban on so-called assault weapons.

Finally, there’s Beers v. Barr, a case dealing with the lifelong prohibition on firearms for those who’ve been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

It’s not unusual for a case to be re-listed several times before being accepted by the Court. In fact, NYSPRA v. NYC was heard in conference three times before it was accepted. Which of these cases will ultimately be heard by SCOTUS is still unknown, but I’d say the odds are good that at least one of these cases will be accepted in the not-too-distant future.