Monday, June 26, 2017


I'll grant that this wasn't the most important news coming from the Supreme Court today....
The Supreme Court declined to review a case about the right to carry firearms outside the home, but two justices publicly dissented from their colleagues' decision not to take up the issue.

The high court said Monday it would not hear a National Rifle Association-supported legal challenge by California resident Edward Peruta, who challenged a state law limiting gun-carrying permits to those showing "good cause" and a San Diego County policy that says concern about personal safety is not sufficient to fulfill the requirement.
But the story -- from Politico -- is infuriating because of this passage:
The most notable aspect of the action announced Monday was that President Donald Trump's newest appointee to the court — Justice Neil Gorsuch — joined conservative stalwart Justice Clarence Thomas in lamenting the court's decision to dodge the issue for now. Gorsuch's views on gun-rights issues were not well established by his writing or his earlier decisions as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Really? It's a surprise that Gorsuch is further to the right on guns than even three of his Republican-appointed colleagues?

Newsweek's Robyn Thomas and Adam Skaggs wrote this when Gorsuch was under consideration for the Supreme Court vacancy:
In one case, he threw out illegal gun possession charges against a convicted felon, and in another, Gorsuch bent over backwards to decide a case on procedural grounds rather than acknowledge that convicted domestic abusers don’t enjoy the same gun rights as law-abiding citizens—a generally uncontroversial view shared by the vast majority of conservative politicians and voters.

In a third case, Gorsuch repeatedly sided with another convicted felon who argued he shouldn’t be held accountable for illegally possessing a gun based on the far-fetched claim that he didn’t know he was a felon. Fortunately, the majority of Gorsuch’s colleagues on the 10th Circuit—and judges on every other appeals courts to consider the issue—rejected his outlier stance, making it, by definition, outside the mainstream.
Gorsuch was also the beneficiary of a million-dollar ad buy from the NRA when his nomination was before the Senate. Dana Loesch said,
“I can’t stress how unbelievably important it is to make sure Neil Gorsuch is confirmed, because our Second Amendment rights depend on this."
That would be this Dana Loesch:

Gorsuch was enthusiastically supported by Gun Owners of America, a group that's to the right of the NRA (it would like to eliminate background checks for gun purchases and ban all gun-free zones).

But AP found a gun scholar who said Gorsuch was "a Second Amendment mystery," so many right-thinking citizens were led to believe that he might be a reasonable right-centrist on the issue.

Conservatism in America has moved inexorably to the right over the years, so of course Gorsuch is going to be in the vanguard on guns. Any future Trump court picks are going to be as far to the right as he is. But we were supposed to take all apparent evidence of Gorsuch's moderation -- on this and other issues -- very, very seriously, and we'll be similarly bamboozled with future judicial picks. We never learn.

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