Appearing before a huge crowd during a rally in Kentucky Monday evening, President Donald Trump announced that he has now filled 157 vacancies on the federal bench including 43 openings in the appellate courts.
According to a running count provided at Wikipedia, as of Oct. 24, the Senate had confirmed 157 Article III judges. This includes two associate Supreme Court justices, 43 U.S Court of Appeals judges, 110 more judges to the U.S. District Courts and two judges to the U.S. Court of International Trade.
One of the key reasons bringing many people to the polls in November 2016 was Trump’s promise to bring some balance to the federal courts. His two Supreme Court appointments—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—left liberals seething. Gun owners especially did not want Hillary Rodham Clinton making appointments to the courts because she made it clear during the campaign that she felt the high court was “wrong” in its 2008 Heller ruling.
If the president wins a second term next year, he could be able to fill another vacancy on the Supreme Court, should one open up. Another pro-rights associate justice on the high court could cement the Second Amendment safely for decades.
However, that would not immediately solve problems around the country with existing gun control laws. Challenges to extremist state and/or local regulations could provide attorneys with guaranteed full employment for years to come as the parameters of the Second Amendment are fully fleshed out.
The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association have brought several court cases, sometimes in tandem and other times separately. SAF and NRA are currently challenging gun control Initiative 1639 in Washington State on federal constitutional grounds. They also partnered to stop a gun ban in San Francisco, a ban on firearms in Seattle park facilities, and they stopped the New Orleans gun confiscations following Hurricane Katrina more than ten years ago.
Separate cases by SAF and NRA also forced Illinois lawmakers to create a concealed carry statute. The 2010 case of McDonald v. City of Chicago was a SAF case.
By no small coincidence, SAF just joined in an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to grant review of a case challenging Maryland’s restrictive requirement to provide a “good and substantial reason” to obtain a concealed carry permit. The case is known as Malpasso v. Pallozzi. Plaintiffs are Brian Kirk Malpasso and the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association.
The MSRPA is an affiliate of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, SAF’s sister organization.
SAF is joined by the Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc. (“FPC”), Firearms Policy Foundation, California Gun Rights Foundation and the Madison Society Foundation. Their brief is submitted to the high court by Sacramento attorney Joseph G.S. Greenlee.
“This case could have far-reaching ramifications,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb in a prepared statement. “At issue is Maryland’s restrictive requirement but the outcome, if the Court agrees to hear this case, could define the parameters of bearing arms outside the home, and that will impact restrictive laws in several states where carry permits or licenses are strictly regulated, which translates to nearly impossible to get.”
That’s no small consideration. Authorities in New Jersey, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts and New York also use pretty heavy hands in the administration of their respective states’ gun laws. An affirmative ruling by the high court could force officials in those states to start treating the Second Amendment as a right instead of a privilege, some observers have suggested.
Meanwhile, Trump will continue nominating judges to fill those federal vacancies, leaving anti-gunners in something of a lurch.
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