APPEALS CASES DECLINED BY THE SUPREMES
SCORE TWO FOR SUPREME COURT SANITY
Two potential cases before the Supreme Court yesterday caught my eye. They were both turned back. First was a challenge to San Francisco’s law that handguns be stored in a lockbox or secured with a trigger lock. In a 7 to 2 vote, the Court declined to take up the case from the Appeals Court. As per usual, Justices Scalia and Thomas were the two naysayers. The case arose after the Supreme Court vitiated the District of Columbia’s gun control legislation in District of Columbia vs. Heller and ever since then gun rights advocates have been filing cases in order that the Supreme Court provide further clarification over the Heller decision. In that case, the Justices determined that us DC residents (yes, we are U.S. citizens but lack Congressional representation) cannot restrict the purchase of handguns, cannot legislate that guns must be kept unloaded, disassembled or locked as provided by the District of Columbia Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975.
Along with the Court’s recent decisions viz pro open gun carry legislation, I can see why the Supremes might be reluctant to take up another case “clarifying” its decision in Heller vs. The District of Colombia. After all, where would they go from here? Allow unlimited gun purchases, no ID necessary, no background checks, no limitations on what could be purchased including Scud and Tomahawk missiles? In the settling of neighborhood disputes over an encroaching fence, for example, I can certainly see where a surface-to-surface missile might come in damned handy.
In the second case the Supreme Court by not taking up an appeals case, basically struck down a law Congress passed in 2002 to allow American Citizens born in Jerusalem to have their place of birth listed as Israel on their passports. It was a 6 to 3 decision, with the court’s four liberal Justices joining Kennedy and Clarence Thomas declaring the law unconstitutional although in a face-saving gesture Thomas said he did not agree with Kennedy’s reasoning.
In finding against the law, Thomas declared that “the President has residual foreign affairs authority to regulate passports” with which Congress may not tamper. Sound reasoning to me. But Scalia – Thomas’ usually joined-at-the-hip twin when it comes to Court decisions, offered the opinion that Thomas’ reading of the powers of the executive yields “ a presidency more reminiscent of George III than George Washington.” Course he could have cited another George – George Bush – who saw no problem with usurping the powers of anyone, anywhere and at any time. But he didn’t.
The whole “Israel is my birth state because I was born in Jerusalem” is just another “Israel is always right no matter how many innocent people die as “unintended” collateral damage meme that seeks to diminish the rights of Palestinians since they also claim Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. So in this case, I’m glad that the Supreme Court wisely let this one stand.
Two decent decisions (cue applause!) from our Supreme Court who ruled that the Hobby Lobby corporation had “deeply held religious beliefs” that denied their employees (aka real people) birth control coverage. Maybe all the newly minted religious groups with deeply held religions beliefs like the “Congregation of Marijuana Using Brethren and Sisters” have come to their attention when apparently the Constitution did not in their prior Hobby Lobby decision.
PS: At some point that pesky throw away phrase in the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms declaration, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” is going to come back and bite them in the ass. Or would it be asses?