With Monday evening’s confirmation and swearing in of Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court is back to nine justices, and in the coming weeks and months Barrett is likely to provide a crucial vote in deciding what, if any, Second Amendment-related cases the Court should consider.
While the Supreme Court just turned away a case called Rodriguez vs. City of San Jose that dealt with firearms seizures, gun owners and Second Amendment advocates are hoping that with Barrett on the bench, 2A cases will start to be addressed by the Court for the first time in a decade. It was 2010 when the Court struck down the city of Chicago’s ban on handguns in the McDonald case, but since then SCOTUS has been mostly silent on the issue.
So what are the cases that could soon come before the Court? While the Supreme Court doesn’t currently have any Second Amendment-related cases that are being considered in conference, a case called Caldara vs. City of Boulder could go to conference by the end of the year. This case is a challenge to the city of Boulder, Colorado’s so-called assault weapons ban, but the question before the Court is whether or not the plaintiffs in the case will actually be able to bring a challenge to the local ordinance, with lower courts turning away the case and petitioners asking the Supreme Court to revive the issue.
The Court will also soon consider a case called Carey v. Throwe, which involves a right-to-carry challenge brought by Norris Paul Carey, Jr., a retired officer with the Maryland Natural Resources Police who sought to carry under the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act, but had his LEOSA card stripped from him after his former department claimed that he had not retired in good standing.
While this case could ultimately be used as a vehicle for the Court to weigh in on the right to bear arms outside of the home, because the challenge deals with LEOSA and not the standard concealed carry licenses for civilians, if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case it could issue a narrow ruling that doesn’t directly impact the ability of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm.
There are also a number of cases currently in circuit courts of appeals that could soon make their way to the Supreme Court for consideration, including a challenge to California’s ban on online and out-of-state sales of ammunition (Rhode v. Becerra), a case taking on California’s magazine ban (Duncan v. Becerra), and a challenge to the state of Hawaii’s ban on open carry (Young v. Hawaii).
The Young case could be one of the next cases to arrive at the Supreme Court, since oral arguments have been held in the en banc review of the case in the Ninth Circuit. Once the en banc decision comes down, it’s likely that the losing side will appeal the case up to the Supreme Court, and that could be the first case that deals with a right to carry that the Court will hear after Barrett’s confirmation.
This case not only deals with the right to openly carry a firearm, it also implicates an earlier case out of the Ninth Circuit (Peruta v. San Diego) that held that there is no constitutional right to carry concealed. The Young case would allow the Supreme Court to not only undo the damage done in Peruta, but to finally weigh in on whether the right to keep and bear arms actually protects a right to, you know, bear arms.
There are a few other cases percolating in the circuit courts of appeals that we’ll be taking a closer look at later today, but I’d say the cases listed above are the first that have the opportunity to be heard by the Supreme Court now that Amy Coney Barrett is officially an Associate Justice.