Amy Coney Barrett has already made a difference on the Supreme Court, but there’s still a lot more to do. The newest justice on the Court takes her seat on the bench a lot of hope for many on the right, but especially gun rights groups.
After all, it’s been more than a decade since the Heller and McDonald decisions remade court precedents for Second Amendment cases. In that time, many lower courts have opted to completely ignore Heller, figuring they know better. Meanwhile, the Court has only agreed to hear one Second Amendment-related case since then, and then they opted not to issue a ruling in that one.
In other words, the supposedly friendly Supreme Court wasn’t all that gun-friendly.
With Barrett on the bench, though, expectations are high that things will change, and gun rights groups are jumping at the opportunity.
Pro-gun groups have flooded the federal courts with challenges to various firearms restrictions, expecting the cases will work their way up to the newly constituted 6-3 conservative Supreme Court.
The high court generally has declined to take up major gun cases in recent years, but activists are banking that the recent addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett will help force the court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to weigh in sooner or later.
Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said his group immediately started lining up plaintiffs and crafting a flow chart of cases they wanted to file after President Trump nominated Justice Barrett to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Having her on the court, we think we really have six pro-gun votes and while Roberts has obviously been reluctant to hear a case, now I don’t think he has much of a choice,” Mr. Gottlieb said. “I think the court’s going to hear a case.”
Mr. Gottlieb’s group teamed up with Firearms Policy Coalition and other pro-gun groups to challenge laws in states such as Maryland, California, New Jersey, Louisiana and New York. All the suits were launched after Justice Barrett’s nomination in October.
In Maryland, they are challenging the state’s requirements that concealed-carry permit holders demonstrate evidence of recent threats or assaults to obtain a permit.
He said the groups are trying to get as many cases as possible filed before Inauguration Day so they can then turn their focus to combating potential gun-related executive orders from presumed President-elect Joseph R. Biden.
Honestly, that’s a sound strategy in my mind.
Now, will all these cases make it before the Supreme Court? Probably not. Some won’t be issues the Court will want to tackle no matter what. Others, however, will.
Chief Justice John Roberts has long been believed to be the stumbling block for many Second Amendment cases in recent years. While ostensibly one of the conservative justices on the Court, Roberts has apparently figured SCOTUS has done enough for the Second Amendment. Either that or he’s had a change of heart about gun rights.
Regardless, with Barrett on the bench, Roberts may not be able to stop the Court from taking on additional Second Amendment cases, thus forcing the Heller decision to be acknowledged by the lower courts.
Lord knows, it’s about damn time.