Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is going to speak his mind, no matter what. It’s what has made him a favorite in conservative circles.
And now Clarence Thomas has issued a warning that has Democrats worried sick.
Despite the high court’s decision not to intervene while legal challenges are pending, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas warn that New York’s expansive new gun law creates major constitutional issues.
While a federal appeals court prepares to hear arguments contesting the law, the Supreme Court last week issued an order permitting New York to continue enforcing the prohibition of guns from “sensitive places,” such as schools and playgrounds.
The judgment was accompanied by a statement by Alito and Thomas, two of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court, in which they stated that the statute “presents novel and serious questions under both the First and the Second Amendments.”
If the appeals court does not act quickly or provide an explanation, the applicants “Applicants should not be deterred by today’s order from again seeking relief” wrote Alito with Thomas’ support.
According to CNN, gun owners asked the Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court judgment that temporarily stayed a lower court ruling that partially blocked the statute.
In June, Thomas wrote the majority opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol, Inc. v. Bruen, which overturned a New York statute governing who is permitted to carry a concealed firearm in public.
The law was then revised by the state.
At the federal appeals court level, there are now four Second Amendment-related challenges against that law. The 2nd Circuit, which has a majority of 7-6 Democrats and stated Friday that it would hear arguments against many parts of New York’s law on March 20, did so.
The 2nd Circuit, which removed a hold on several parts of the legislation in December after a federal district court judge threw down most of the bill’s provisions on Nov. 7, was deferred to in Wednesday’s brief unsigned Supreme Court ruling, according to the Washington Examiner.
According to Alito and Thomas, the high court’s ruling had nothing to do with the arguments made by supporters of weapons and was instead intended to “reflect respect for the 2nd Circuit’s procedures in managing its own docket,”
Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law, told the Examiner that the fact that the Bruen precedent is only a few months old made the high court’s decision not to hear the 2nd Circuit’s appeal understandable.
“So I think what Alito was saying is, yes, this will take some time to work its way through the system. But the 2nd Circuit should be very mindful that they can’t just sort of ignore Bruen; they have to sort of grapple with its decision,” Blackman said.
According to Blackman, lower federal courts frequently attempt to read Second Amendment precedents narrowly. He also stated that he doesn’t believe “lower courts are going to like Bruen, especially in places like New York and New Jersey.”
“What’s new is that if the 2nd Circuit completely botches Bruen, the Supreme Court may intervene early,” Blackman told the Examiner.
“So I think there’s an incentive for the 2nd Circuit to take very carefully what’s in Bruen and not just sort of rely on old precedents.”
The High Court with its new conservative majority has signaled on a few different instances now that it will defend the traditional view of the Second Amendment.
By sending this warning shot to New York, Alito and Thomas seem to be indicating that they won’t stand by and do nothing if the gun control law is upheld in the Circuit Court.
Which could mean Thomas and Alito already believe that the law is unconstitutional and should be thrown out.
Only time will tell.
Stay tuned to the Federalist Wire for updates on this ongoing story.