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Justice Alito’s Second Amendment

Posted by on June 10, 2020

Earlier this year, Justice Alito dissented from the Supreme Court’s per curiam decision dismissing New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York as moot. His dissent in NYSRPA, his opinions in McDonald v. City of Chicago and Caetano v. Massachusetts (which I’ve written about here), and other cases throughout the years […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 6/8/20

Posted by on June 8, 2020

It’s beginning to feel like déjà vu all over again. For the 5th time in a row, the Supreme Court has discussed the pending Second Amendment cert petitions at a conference and declined to act on them. I can’t quite figure out what might be happening, but I think we can break the possibilities down […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 6/1/20

Posted by on June 1, 2020

The Supreme Court again declined to act today on any of the petitions it considered at its conference last week. The 10 pending cases below are now going back to conference—their 5th one since the Court decided NYSRPA a little over a month ago. Although there is likely some bottleneck on these particular cases, perhaps […]

The Supreme Court and the Current Public Carry Petitions: Open Splits and Concealed Vehicle Problems

Posted by on May 29, 2020

In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.  Although the decision settled whether persons have a right to keep arms when they are not enrolled in an organized militia, the decision raised many follow-up questions.  Is the Second Amendment limited to keeping arms […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/25/20

Posted by on May 26, 2020

Last Friday, the Supreme Court did something that veteran SCOTUS expert John Elwood said it hasn’t ever done before—it relisted cases for another conference before releasing an order list from the prior one. Normally, the Court considers a set of cases at conference (usually on Friday) and the next week (usually on Monday morning) releases […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/18/20

Posted by on May 18, 2020

Of the 11 Second Amendment cases the Court discussed at conference last Friday, it took action in only 1. The Court GVR’d Beers v. Barr, meaning that it sent the case back to the lower court to dismiss as moot because the challenger in that case—who had been prohibited from possessing firearms under 18 U.S.C. […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/11/20

Posted by on May 11, 2020

The Court has now distributed the outstanding gun cases for its May 15 conference. That means we have 11 Second Amendment cases being discussed this Friday. We could hear next Monday morning, when the Court releases its order list, if the justices are inclined to take up one or more of these cases. There’s no […]

Panel on Corpus Linguistics & the Second Amendment

Posted by on May 6, 2020

Last week, Darrell held a virtual version of an event we had planned to conduct in person: Corpus Linguistics, Constitutional Interpretation, and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Here’s the event description: Constitutional interpretation has increasingly turned to history and a close reading of the text to decipher meaning. Scholars have begun mining newly […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 5/4/20

Posted by on May 4, 2020

The Court considered the ten pending Second Amendment cases at its conference last Friday, but we did not get any more clarity this morning when it released the orders from that conference. It did not act on any of the pending petitions, instead holding them over to consider at another conference. We’ve also got one […]

The Futility of Originalist Analysis in Second Amendment Cases

Posted by on May 1, 2020

In his dissent to the Supreme Court’s dismissal of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York on grounds of mootness, Justice Alito wrote the following about the merits of the case: “neither the City, the courts below, nor any of the many amici supporting the City have shown that municipalities […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/27/20

Posted by on April 28, 2020

The big news this week is that we have the Supreme Court’s opinion in NYSRPA. Check out our quick reactions on the decision and stay tuned for more analysis. In the meantime, the cases the Supreme Court was holding for NYSRPA have now all been distributed for this Friday’s conference. We may know by next […]

Quick Reactions to the NYSRPA Opinion

Posted by on April 27, 2020

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. The case concerned a New York City rule that forbid individuals with a premises license from transporting their firearms to shooting ranges and second homes outside the City. The City repealed the rule […]

Analyzing Ramos Through a Second Amendment Lens

Posted by on April 21, 2020

In a fractured decision on Monday in Ramos v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court held that (1) the Sixth Amendment requires unanimous jury verdicts, and (2) that standard applies equally to the states. Reaching this ruling required the Court to discard a 1972 case, Apodaca v. Oregon, in which another fractured Court had concluded that states […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/20/20

Posted by on April 20, 2020

We continue to have quiet on the Court’s gun docket, but it did issue three other opinions this week and announced that it may issue more on Thursday, so the Court’s active. Today the Court also asked for a response in Rodriguez v. San Jose, which challenges a warrantless search/seizure of firearms. “A Supreme Court […]


Posted by on April 15, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is altering the legal landscape. Emergency orders in many states are facing mounting pressure from civil libertarians and interested litigants. One challenge went all the way to the Supreme Court, but was defused before the justices had to weigh in. There’s no doubt that the Supreme Court’s operations are affected by the […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/13/20

Posted by on April 13, 2020

No new action at the Court on gun cases in the past week. The Court did announce that it will be hearing arguments telephonically in May, so it’s moving ahead with at least some of its business. We’ll keep our eyes out on the week ahead.

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 4/6/20

Posted by on April 6, 2020

No new action at the Court on gun cases in the past week or in the orders and opinions issued this morning. We’ll keep our eyes out on the week ahead.

An Alternative Answer in NYSRPA

Posted by on April 3, 2020

[This discussion from Joseph Blocher and Reva Siegel is cross-posted from Oral Argument 2.0] New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York No. 18-280 – Argued December 2, 2019 At Issue Whether a New York City rule banning the transportation of a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 3/23/20

Posted by on March 23, 2020

The Court released five opinions today, including one per curiam. But no news yet on NYSRPA and no new cert grants in other Second Amendment cases. The Court’s activity level suggests that things aren’t slowing down at 1 First Street for the coronavirus. I suspect we’ll be hearing something on these cases soon, but that’s […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 3/16/20

Posted by on March 16, 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, even the Supreme Court has been hit. It has announced postponement of the next oral argument sitting, suggesting we may see some delays. The Court says it will still hold its scheduled conference this Friday and will still release orders next Monday. We’ll see if any news on […]

“Text, History, and Tradition” as a Three-Part Test

Posted by on March 11, 2020

Is “text, history, and tradition” (THT) an example of what linguists would call a “hendriatris,” referring to a single jurisprudential/decisional approach, or do each of the three words have semantic significance?

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 3/9/20

Posted by on March 9, 2020

After Justice Gorsuch wrote separately to express his dissatisfaction with the lower court ruling upholding the recent bump-stock ban, we’ve seen little additional movement this week. No new petitions, by my count, and no action on NYSRPA or the other pending petitions. Some quarters suggest that a longer wait for NYSRPA could indicate greater likelihood […]

Weighing Benefits and Burdens for Abortion and Guns Rights

Posted by on March 6, 2020

This week, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in June Medical v. Gee. I’ve written before about some of the parallels I’ve perceived in the debates over reproductive rights and firearm rights, and this case raises some new ones for me. As Amy Howe wrote for SCOTUSBlog, the questioning at oral argument focused on whether […]

The Second Amendment Doctrine of Dissent

Posted by on March 5, 2020

Dissents have a key role to play in law. They allow judges or justices to articulate a view of how the law should be and serve as a signal to scholars, practitioners, and future generations. One thinks, for example, of Holmes’s dissent in Abrams v. United States, which is often viewed as a vehicle for […]

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 3/2/20

Posted by on March 2, 2020

There was some thought after oral argument in NYSRPA that, given the tenor of questioning, a per curiam opinion on mootness would issue not too long after argument. As the case stretches out into the term, there may be some hope yet for the challengers to get a ruling on the merits. At the same […]