BRETT KAVANAUGH HAS ALREADY HAD AN IMPACT ON THE SUPREME COURT, STARTING WITH GUN RIGHTS
For proof of the newest Supreme Court justice’s influence, look to a New York gun rights case. JAN 24, 2019
When Justice Brett Kavanaugh took his seat on the Supreme Court in October, following a tumultuous confirmation process and allegations of sexual assault, discussions turned to the future of the court. Pundits and experts across the political spectrum mined Kavanaugh’s record in an attempt to predict the outcome of potentially landmark cases.
Now, three months after the newest justice joined the court, we have gleaned the first tangible evidence of his influence: On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided to hear its first major gun rights case in nearly a decade—a decision that many attribute to the added vote of the court’s newest member. And if Kavanaugh’s record is any indication, it will not go well for gun-control advocates. According to University of California–Los Angeles law professor Adam Winkler, a specialist in constitutional law, the case (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York) could have far-reaching impact, possibly creating a constitutional right to public carry that would undermine gun-control legislation across the country. Simply taking this case marks a reversal in trend for the court under Chief Justice John Roberts, which has traditionally ignored Second Amendment questions. This suggests that the new conservative majority has bigger plans— Kavanaugh in particular. Unlike some of his colleagues, Kavanaugh has been vocal about his support of gun rights and the court’s role in upholding them.”When Kennedy was on the court, the justices declined to take numerous Second Amendment cases,” Winkler says. “Now, Kavanaugh is on the court, and the court jumps on one very quickly. Given what we know about the other justices, it seems clear that Kavanaugh’s confirmation has reinvigorated the justices’ appetite on the Second Amendment question.”Winkler calls Kavanaugh’s views on the gun rights “extreme and well-articulated”; others have pointed to the justice’s 2011 dissent in a case upholding a Washington, D.C., assault weapon ban, in which Kavanaugh deferred to “text, history, and tradition” (tradition that protects the right to bear arms).This new challenge comes from gun owners who have called New York City’s ban on transporting guns outside city limits “draconian,” Amy Howe reports for SCOTUS Blog. If the court rules narrowly—striking down this law alone—it would be a lesser blow. But given that the justices have already broken with tradition in taking the case, experts expect a wider ruling. As Winkler puts it, “The case could go out with a whimper or a bang, but a bang is more likely.” In this case, a “bang” means that the right to bear arms would apply not only in the home and for personal protection (as established in District of Columbia v. Heller), but also in public. Experts say the opinion may take until 2020, since the court will hear the case this fall.
It is my thought that while Mr. Kavanaugh is a capable Jurist. He will be attacked again, concerning matters involved in his confirmation. It might behoove the Liberal Agenda to consider provoking the newest Jurist on The SCOTUS as a move that can hinder their pursuit of Gun Control.