New York gun case tops contentious decision day: SCOTUS today | Epstein Becker & Green


New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. vs. Bruen is the long-awaited ruling on gun licensing in New York that has been hotly debated since it was tabled. Especially in light of the recent school shootings, this debate is likely to intensify now that the case has been decided. As many had predicted, the decision, overturning the state statute, creates a sharp divide between the Court’s predominant conservatives and its liberals.

New York State has made it an offense to possess a firearm without a license, whether inside or outside the home. In order to carry a firearm outside their home, individuals can obtain an unlimited license to “have and carry” a concealed “pistol or revolver” if the applicant can prove that there is a “good cause” for do it. Writing on behalf of the Court, Judge Thomas declares that, in order to prevail, in accordance with the decision in force in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), holding that the right to bear arms is an individual right, the State of New York was required to show that a regulation of firearms “is consistent with the historical tradition of regulating firearms of this nation”. Rejecting the analytical method used by some appellate courts, Justice Thomas begins by stating that “[i]n keep with Heller . . . where the plain text of the Second Amendment covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. He goes on to write that New York’s “just cause” requirement violates the U.S. Constitution because it only allows public carrier licenses when an applicant shows a particular need for self-defense.

As Heller, today’s opinion is long, and the debate is more about originality than anything else – with the Court holding that the original meaning should be determined at the time of the drafting of the Constitution and not later, by example, when the 14th Amendment was passed. Judge Kavanaugh, in what is hoped to be a helpful agreement, notes that rejecting the “special need” criterion for a license to carry a gun outside the home does not mean that a state cannot may not impose non-discriminatory licensing requirements, such as background checks, firearms safety training, etc. Indeed, even Judge Thomas acknowledges that firearms may be prohibited in special places, such as polling stations.

Justice Breyer and his liberal colleagues criticize the outfit as this wing of the Court did in Heller, noting that the majority ignores the scourge of gun violence that we know. But, as noted, the relevant period for the majority is in constitutional history, where the state-imposed “fear” requirement cannot be found.

Another 6-3 split occurred in Vega vs Tekohin which the Court considered whether a violation of a person’s rights under Miranda v. Arizona384 US 436 (1966), could give rise to a lawsuit under 42 USC §1983, seeking damages for alleged violations of a person’s right. constitutional rights. Reversing the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court, per Justice Alito, finds that a violation of the Miranda is not a basis for a claim under Section 1983.

The decision is less constitutional than economic. Noting that Miranda imposed a set of prophylactic rules requiring that interrogation in custody be preceded by the warning that anyone over the age of six who has ever watched a crime program may recite, the majority argues that “[a] The prophylactic rule crafted by the courts should only apply “when its benefits outweigh its costs”, and, here, when the benefits of allowing the assertion of Miranda claims under section 1983 would be slight, the costs would be substantial, particularly with regard to burdensome judicial economy. Justice Kagan and her two Liberal colleagues see Miranda differently – not as a matter of procedure but as defining a constitutional right.

The Chief Justice and Justice Kavanaugh join the Court’s three Liberals, led by Justice Kagan in Nancy v. Ward, in another ideologically divided decision, this one holding that the aforementioned 1983 section, and not habeas corpus, is an appropriate vehicle for a prisoner’s request for a method of execution in a case where the prisoner offers a method alternative execution not permitted by state death – criminal law.

Nance, a convicted murderer, sued under Section 1983 to prohibit Georgia from using a lethal injection to carry out his execution, alleging that this method, the only one referenced by state law , could cause him great pain. Instead, he proposed death by firing squad. The majority argues that when a prisoner seeks a remedy which “would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence”, he falls within the ambit of habeas corpus and must do so. But that is not the case here, where the decision Nance requested would not have invalidated his conviction. Judge Barrett and the other dissenters believe that habeas provided the right course, and Nance, having already taken that course, should have been barred from suing. Ultimately, this case resulted in a rare victory for a death row inmate.

Last, but not least, is Shepherd c. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, in which Judge Gorsuch led an eight-judge majority (only Judge Sotomayor dissented) in arguing that leaders of the North Carolina Legislative Assembly have the right to intervene in a lawsuit challenging state law requiring that anyone seeking to vote must show photo ID. The basis for the decision is the view that the fact that state governments are politically divided should sometimes allow for the participation of multiple state officials in federal court when, as here, legislative leaders seek to give a voice to a constitutional perspective different from that of the party’s board of elections. administrative concerns.

This generous application of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) appears to be the correct one, especially since, as the Court notes, a trial court retains discretion to limit interventions of a superfluous nature. . However, given the current highly contentious political situation in many states, it is likely that we have not heard the last of the disputes from speakers seeking to be heard regarding election law disputes.

We are now in the most divisive cases, in particular the gun licensing case. More of this will be coming soon.

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