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Five Senators Threaten the High Court

Five Senators Threaten the High Court

Never before has a group of U.S. Senators so lost their minds that they openly threatened the U.S. Supreme Court with being “restructured” if they dared to rule in favor of the individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

In a “friend-of-the-court” brief The Wall Street Journal called an “enemy-of-the-court brief,” five U.S. senators, all Democrats, wrote: “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”

The senators are Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). They demanded that the high court drop the NRA-supported case New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York, a case that, at press time, was challenging a New York City gun-control law.

This case involves a challenge to a New York City law that prevented gun owners—residents who have “premises” permits—from taking their firearms outside the city even if the guns were unloaded and in a locked container separate from ammunition.

After the court accepted the case last January, New York City tweaked the restrictions in an attempt to squash the Supreme Court case. New York City then argued that because they altered the law, the case is moot. They say this even though they could still re-enact similar or worse regulations if left to their own devices.

These senators obviously fear the Supreme Court will faithfully apply its Heller precedent, thereby condemning the contested regulation and perhaps establishing a standard of review that would threaten other egregious regulations now preventing millions of law-abiding Americans from utilizing their Second Amendment-protected right to keep and bear (as in carry) arms.

The threat was so outrageous that all 53 Republican Senators signed a letter encouraging the U.S. Supreme Court to ignore the threat. After quoting Alexander Hamilton, from Federalist No. 78, that “[t]he complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution,” the Republican senators write: “And history has proven the wisdom of this design. Time and again, our independent federal courts have protected the constitutional rights of Americans from government overreach even when that overreach was politically popular.” 

These five Democratic senators are even out of step with what Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in 2017. Schumer had accused President Donald J. Trump of having “a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn’t always bend to his wishes” after Trump criticized a federal judge who ruled against his administration. But then, Schumer has a habit of saying whatever he thinks is politically expedient, even if he clearly contradicts his previous positions.

These Democratic senators also wrote: “The lead petitioner’s parent organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA), promoted the confirmation (and perhaps selection) of nominees to this Court who, it is believed, would ‘break the tie’ in Second Amendment cases.”

The First Amendment, as the Democratic senators must be aware, protects the “freedom of speech” and the right to “petition the government.” This latter part, of course, protects a right to lobby.

It is hardly uncommon—today and throughout American history—for American citizens and their associations of all ideological persuasions to point out that justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have judicial philosophies that affect how they vote. Doing so is an important check on democratically elected representatives in government—men and women who nominate, vet and vote on Supreme Court justices.

The brief from these senators is further evidence of an increasingly radicalized and confrontational left-wing fringe that refuses to recognize the legitimacy of any opposition to its agenda.

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