Anti-gun folks need a civics lesson. They need to understand that the purpose of the Supreme Court is to serve as a check on the legislature and the executive branches of government. Those branches also provide a bit of a check on the Supreme Court by how justices are appointed in the first place.
And for the last two centuries plus, it’s worked out pretty well, all things considered. Not perfectly, mind you, but nothing can when people are involved. In time, those mistakes are reevaluated and remedied.
But for some, the issue is that the Court isn’t expressly onboard with what they personally believe.
Over the last handful of years, due to a couple of quirks that few could have predicted, the Supreme Court isn’t as progressive as many might like. Among those displeased with the Court are the anti-gunners.
That’s especially true with the Rahimi case coming down the line, and for them, that means we need to “reform” the Supreme Court.
This month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that embodies the absurdity of this court’s approach to gun violence prevention measures. In United States v. Rahimi, the justices will decide whether to strike down a law that restricts gun ownership for individuals under domestic violence restraining orders.
The Rahimi case exists today because the Supreme Court has already dramatically expanded rights to gun ownership, which has made it harder to keep our communities safe. Last summer, the Supreme Court caused chaos with its ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen by upending gun violence prevention laws across the country, even as guns have become the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens.
In Bruen, the Republican-appointed justices introduced a new legal standard that requires judges to solely consider whether gun measures are “consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition.” In other words, since domestic violence was fully legal in the 1700s, can this horrific act be a basis for removing a gun from a home? Yes, you read that correctly.
While we do not know how the Supreme Court will rule in this case, I do know that a Supreme Court that even entertains the question of whether the state can, or should, disarm violent abusers is a deeply broken one. A decision overturning the law in Rahimi would be disastrous, but if the justices are willing to capitulate to the National Rifle Association on this issue, imagine what is next.
We need to act urgently for court reform to safeguard our democracy and our very lives. We need a binding code of ethics to restore integrity to the institution. We need term limits to end the chaos caused by lifetime tenure.
Of course, this was never a thing for Democrats before they lost any hope of controlling the Court. They didn’t care about lifetime appointments because it wasn’t much of an issue for them. Now, though, they want to take aim at these because they figure they can immediately bounce a couple of justices off the Court right away and replace them with more progressive voices.
Yet we need to remember that part of why there was a lifetime appointment made in the first place is so justices wouldn’t feel any pressure to conform to popular opinion as opposed to what the Constitution actually says.
For example, let’s take the Rahimi case.
No one thinks Zackey Rahimi is a good person. All indications, including his own words, make it clear he’s done some pretty bad things. Yet while this case is framed as being about arming domestic abusers, the reality is that Rahimi hadn’t been convicted of any such crime.
That is the question before the Court, really. Should a restraining order lead to someone being disarmed when the standard of proof isn’t the same as a criminal trial or where there’s no jury of their peers?
It’s a question we should see asked and we should discuss.
It’s not about Rahimi in and of itself, but about whether due process is actually met when a judge unilaterally decides to strip someone of their rights.
Yet because the Court is willing to ask these questions, the Supreme Court is “broken.”
No, the problem here is that it’s only “broken” because it’s not anti-gun.
Had Bruen come down with an anti-gun ruling, there’d be no talk of term limits or court packing. All would be right with the Court and any talk of changing anything would just be sour grapes.
Instead, the Court ruled otherwise and now the anti-gunners are losing their minds because they know it’s unlikely that most other gun control measures would survive judicial challenge now. So, rather than accept that they need to find another way to address so-called gun violence, they just want to play Calvinball and change the rules.
It’s not about the Constitution for them but whether they can get away with what they want to get away with. That’s it in a nutshell.
What they forget is that if we start “reforming” the Court, both sides get to play. You pack the Court, we pack the Court. You establish term limits on justices and we change them to suit our needs.
This doesn’t happen in a vacuum and no one is going to just roll over, shrug, and think, “Oh well. Good one, guys.” They’re going to fire back.
As they should. These are our rights, after all, and anti-gun voices need to accept that we’re not going to just accept whatever they want to dish out.