In light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act bans discrimination against gay and transgender individuals, at least two justices are worried that another civil right is being ignored.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh expressed frustration over the court’s apparent reluctance to take cases dealing with the Second Amendment, as Fox News reported.
“I would grant this petition”
Thomas wrote in a dissenting opinion joined by Kavanaugh that their fellow justices had effectively turned a blind eye toward restrictions to the right to bear arms that would not be permitted if applied to other rights.
“This Court would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights,” the opinion stated. “And it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion.”
Nevertheless, the pair of conservative justices chided the rest of the court for not addressing a lower court’s decision against an ATM servicer in New Jersey who unsuccessfully cited his profession as a reason to obtain a gun permit.
Thomas wrote that when “faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the Court simply looks the other way,” noting that appeals courts were “squarely divided” on the issue.
“The D.C. Circuit has held that a law limiting those with a ‘good reason to fear injury to [their] person or property’ violates the Second Amendment,” the opinion continued. “By contrast, the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits have upheld the constitutionality of licensing schemes with ‘justifiable need’ or ‘good reason’ requirements, applying what purported to be an intermediate scrutiny standard.”
“The opportunity to provide guidance”
Citing the New Jersey case, Thomas and Kavanaugh address the state’s “near-total prohibition on carrying a firearm in public,” describing the laws as unconstitutional and worthy of a hearing in front of the Supreme Court.
“This case gives us the opportunity to provide guidance on the proper approach for evaluating Second Amendment claims; acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry in public; and resolve a square Circuit split on the constitutionality of justifiable need restrictions on that right,” the opinion concluded.
Trump made gun rights a central theme of his 2016 campaign and spokesman Tim Murtaugh indicated earlier this year that his re-election bid will follow a similar course.
“Democrats have shown they don’t respect the Second Amendment, which will be one of many contrasts drawn during the campaign,” he said.
As many Democrats are caught up in the debate over whether to defund the police or not, the Trump administration and the conservative wing of the Supreme Court seem determined to protect the right of citizens to defend themselves.