SCOTUS Declines to
Give Us Our Freedom

By Charles C.W. Cooke. August 29, 2020

Defenders of the right to keep and bear arms might be forgiven for wondering whether the U.S. Supreme Court's copy of the United States Constitution is missing a few pages.

It has been twelve years since the Court affirmed in D.C. v. Heller that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" actually means "the right of the people to keep and bear arms," and ten years since the court affirmed in McDonald v. Chicago that the Second Amendment applies to the states as well as to the federal government—and yet, as valuable as those decisions are, the last decade has made it clear that the U.S. Supreme Court is not especially interested in ensuring that they are enforced. In June, the justices continued this unfortunate trend by denying certiorari on no fewer than ten Second Amendment cases. For now, then, the right will remain a mere abstraction to the nation's network of courts.

This matters, as it is difficult to think of another right that has been so willfully ignored and abused by our lower-court judges. In case after case, panels at the state and circuit levels have elected either to pretend that Heller and McDonald never happened at all, or, alternatively, to parse their language so carefully as to render those cases meaningless. Despite this insubordination—and it is just that: insubordination—the Court has done nothing. .....

"Why has the Ninth Circuit allowed California to turn the right to carry into a privilege for the well-connected? Why do New Jersey's flagrantly illegal gun laws still exist? Because the judges who heard those cases knew that the chance of their work being reviewed and overturned by the Supreme Court was vanishingly small, and they acted accordingly."


Back to Top