Trump gets another court pick

President Trump gets the opportunity to to nominate another pro-gun justice, this one in the 7th Circuit:

Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced his retirement Friday afternoon … Posner is one of the most consequential legal figures of recent times, exerting significant influence on the practice and study of law from his perches on the Seventh Circuit and the University of Chicago Law School faculty … The Journal of Legal Studies says he was the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century. Posner subscribes to a method of judging called “pragmatism,” which seeks to balance the equities of each case and conform judicial rulings to the social, political, and economic arrangements of the times …”

Posner was critical of Scalia:

“… Posner was also in the headlines in 2012 when then-Justice Antonin Scalia accused him of lying about the justice’s new book in a review published in The New Republic. In the review, Posner had accused Scalia of deviating from his own strict, text-based approach to interpreting law when he struck down a District of Columbia handgun ban in 2008 by considering the legislative history behind the law. Scalia responded to the review by saying, “To say that I used legislative history is simply, to put it bluntly, a lie.” …”

However, his “pragmatism” did extend to gun rights:

“… Posner’s opinon in the new case Moore v. Madigan … “To confine the right to be armed to the home is to divorce the Second Amendment from the right of self-defense described in Heller and McDonald. It is not a property right — a right to kill a houseguest who, in a fit of aesthetic fury, tries to slash your copy of Norman Rockwell’s painting, Santa with Elves.” …”

Religious exemptions

The Post reports:

“… A bill introduced by state Sen. Catharine Young, an upstate Republican, would exempt the Amish, Mennonites and other religious sects from a state regulation requiring that photos be included in applications for weapons permits …”

The bill in question is S-6859. There was an earlier incarnation S-3855 by Sen. Kathy Marchione which had the enacting clause stricken.

The issue first came about during the SAFE Act lawsuit.  Affected Amish declined to get involved in the lawsuit for religious reasons.

Neither of these bills have an Assembly companion and are unlikely to go anywhere.

Schneiderman’s backdoor attack on Remington

A group of State Attorney’s General, including Eric Schneiderman, have filed a brief asserting the deal Remington made to correct “defective” rifles poses a threat to public safety:

“… This week, a group of attorneys general from 11 states fired back at a competing coalition that claims the settlement with Remington Arms Co. threatens public safety. Under the deal, owners of 7.5 million model 700 series rifles would get retrofits or refunds to fix an alleged defect that causes the rifle to unintentionally fire. But only 0.29 percent of class members have submitted claims, a claims rate that’s become the target of class notice critics. That means that most of the gun owners aren’t even aware their rifles could cause deaths and injuries, according to an amicus brief filed last month by 10 states, including Massachusetts, California, New York, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia …”

Their beef is that Remington’s statement to stop using the rifles in question until they have been inspected is not enough.

The response from the Alabama A.G. is spot on:

“… Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall blasted the group of “liberal AGs” for trying to “inject firearms regulation” into the settlement, which resolves class actions brought over economic damages, not injuries or deaths. “The criticisms Massachusetts and its companion states have lodged are not grounded in any concern about boosting the plaintiffs’ economic recovery, but are instead an unwarranted effort to use this litigation to achieve other policy goals about firearms regulation in general,” Marshall wrote in an amicus brief unsealed Wednesday …”

The entire Remington trigger lawsuit seemed funny from the start.  If there was a serious problem, like with the new SIGs, it would be all over the internet and I have not seen that.

Have another go

Another right-to-carry case is making it’s way towards SCOTUS.

The District of Columbia has filed an appeal with the U.S. District Court of Appeals requesting an en banc hearing in a case of Wrenn v. District of Columbia which struck down the “special need” requirement for obtaining a CCW.

Regardless of the District Court’s decision,  it is reasonable to assume one side or the other will petition SCOTUS.  If we follow the timeline, and the rumors of Justice Kennedy’s retirement are true, by the time it gets there the makeup of the court will have changed +1 pro-gun since Peruta vs. California was declined.

Breyer should retire too

There has been much speculation that another SCOTUS Justice will be retiring soon with Anthony Kennedy being the primary suspect.

Kennedy isn’t the only one who needs to go:

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said in an interview aired Tuesday that judges make poor politicians, that he misses late Justice Antonin Scalia, and that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to a citizen keeping a gun next to their bed …”

Statements like this explain why the Court decline to hear the Peruta carry case back in June.

Victory for due process

The New York Law Journal reports:

“A federal appeals court said there is “no clear reason” why a Nassau County woman whose rifles and shotguns were taken away as part of a now-expired order of protection should not receive a hearing to determine if her weapons should be returned. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed Eastern District Judge Joan Azrack’s 2015 decision to order a hearing on returning plaintiff Christine Panzella’s two rifles and two shotguns, which were seized as part of an order of protection filed by her ex-husband … Holding a “prompt” post-deprivation hearing would provide Panzella with a “timely and inexpensive” forum to challenge Nassau County’s retention of her weapons, the judge said …”

This could impact antigun efforts to enact laws which allow the “emergency” seizure of firearms when a family member complains because some police departments which take guns don’t want to return them.

Kennedy to retire next year?

SCOTUS not taking Peruta was a disappointment.

However, that disappointment may be short-lived because according to the Washington Post:

“… it is unlikely that Kennedy will remain on the court for the full four years of the Trump presidency. While he long ago hired his law clerks for the coming term, he has not done so for the following term (beginning Oct. 2018), and has let applicants for those positions know he is considering retirement … It’s not terribly surprising that Kennedy would consider retirement … but this looks like a pretty good indicator that it will come at some point in President Trump’s first term …”

It’s been only 9 years since Heller and 7 since McDonald.  Considering NRA started working on changing judicial opinion on gun rights back in the 70s, it really has not been that long since the Court took up a major gun issue.  I would rather wait another 5 years for a good decision from a new court then get a half-assed one written by Kennedy on his way out the door.

Peruta action/reaction

SCOTUS has declined to hear the right to carry case Peruta v. California.

Most cases appealed to the court are turned down, so while it’s a disappointment they did not take this one, it does not mean the issue is dead.  They could accept a different case sometime down the road.

Hopefully this will motivate Congress to take up pro-gun bills especially reciprocity.  That could force states like California and New York to make positive legislative changes.

A minimal burden

The NRA lost a California court case regarding the imposition of firearms transfer fee:

“… In a 3-0 decision on Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the law advanced California’s interest in disarming people who are forbidden from possessing guns and rifles, while imposing only a “minimal” burden on core constitutional rights under the Second Amendment …”

That this comes out of the 9th Circus does not surprise me.  It also builds upon the earlier NYC licensing fee case the 2nd Circuit ruled was also constitutional.  The difference with this one though is that part of the fee goes for law enforcement efforts against illegal purchases.  I can see where a court would agree that the state has an interest in preventing prohibited persons from obtaining firearms, but why should the cost be put upon legal purchasers and not the taxpaying public as a whole?

SCOTUS on gerrymandering

Gun owners spend a lot of time thinking about the next gun case SCOTUS will take up but there is another issue pending in the courts that could have a big impact especially in New York.  See The Hill’s article, Will the Supreme Court draw the line on gerrymandering?

Roughly 95% of our state legislature is re-elected every cycle in large part due to decades of gerrymandering which have made all but a handful of races competitive.  Since both chambers have to agree on district lines the majorities in each draw the districts to favor the party in power, Democrats in the Assembly and Republicans in the Senate.

If SCOTUS were to issue a decision that invalidates gerrymandering and New York was forced to redraw districts fairly it would impact gun rights in two ways:

First, there would be more competitive elections than there are now increasing opportunities for political action.  That’s good.

Second, it would in all likelihood wipe out the Senate Republicans.  That’s bad, but since it is only a matter of time before that happens anyway, it isn’t such a big deal.

Knowing this, I think this could be a plus for us.

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