Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito hinted in remarks Thursday to the Federalist Society that if the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) retains a conservative majority with an appointment by Donald Trump after he takes office in January, another gun rights case could be heard by the court, according to Reuters.
The high court ruled in 2008 that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms beyond service in a militia. In 2010, the court incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment in a case that nullified the handgun ban in Chicago.
The Second Amendment, say gun rights advocates, was literally on the ballot during this year’s presidential election. A vacancy created by the February death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who authored the 2008 Heller ruling that struck down the Washington, D.C. handgun ban on the grounds that it violated the Second Amendment, put the balance of the nine-member court up for grabs.
Had Hillary Clinton won the White House, there is little doubt she would have named a liberal to fill Scalia’s seat, thus putting the 2008 and 2010 decisions at risk of reversal. That is what brought gun owners to the polls in several critical states.
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According to the Washington Times, Alito told the Federalist Society that “religious freedom and gun rights are among ‘constitutional fault lines,’ important issues at stake in the federal courts.”
Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, told the Washington Free Beacon Wednesday that if Trump names a conservative in the mold of Scalia to fill that SCOTUS vacancy, “this is going to give us a chance now to open up appeals courts in various jurisdictions and have better success with suits that we file.”
Prior to the election Nov. 8, Gottlieb acknowledged, he was convinced – as were pundits and the mainstream press – that Clinton would be the next president. He feared the Second Amendment “was going to be peeled apart.”
Gottlieb would like to see a case dealing with right to carry go before the court. SAF has already challenged restrictive concealed carry permit laws in New York, Maryland and New Jersey. So far, the high court has decided not to review such cases.
At some point, the court may not be able to dodge the issue and will be compelled to define the right to bear arms, delineated in the Second Amendment and in many state constitutions, and what, if any, restrictions might apply.
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