With liberal lawmakers and activists calling for more gun control in the wake of last week’s deadly school shooting in Florida, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has made his stance on the Second Amendment crystal clear.
On Tuesday, the Court decided it would not hear an appeal of a Ninth Circuit decision regarding a California regulation requiring would-be gun purchasers to wait 10 days.
The plaintiffs in Silvester v. Becerra argued that such a waiting period is “unconstitutional when it comes to people who already legally have guns and a concealed carry permit, because background checks don’t take that long, and a cooling off period wouldn’t stop them from using a weapon they already have,” according to Law & Crime.
At first, a district court agreed with this argument, but then, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling.
The appeals court said that even if someone already owns a gun, they may be looking to “purchase a larger capacity weapon that will do more damage when fired into a crowd.”
By refusing to hear another appeal, the Supreme Court upheld what the Ninth Circuit ruled.
But in his dissenting opinion, Thomas, widely regarded as one of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court, actually blasted both courts’ reasoning.
Thomas said the Ninth Circuit justices were guilty of coming to a decision based off what they believed was “common sense,” as opposed to an appropriate legal standard. That represents a “general failure to afford the Second Amendment the respect due an enumerated constitutional right,” Thomas wrote.
Though the Ninth Circuit said it had reached its decision by applying “intermediate scrutiny” to the California waiting period, it did not “demonstrate that the harms it recites are real.”
What’s more, the conservative justice lambasted the Supreme Court’s “continued inaction” regarding the Second Amendment.
“Because I do not believe we should be in the business of choosing which constitutional rights are ‘really worth insisting upon,’ I would have granted certiorari in this case,” he wrote, referring to the language used in the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, which broadly protected the Second Amendment.
“In the Ninth Circuit, it seems, rights that have no basis in the Constitution receive greater protection than the Second Amendment, which is enumerated in the text,” he said.
“Our continued refusal to hear Second Amendment cases only enables this kind of defiance.”
Thomas didn’t stop there, noting that “the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court,” and indicating that his colleagues are much more interested in protecting other rights rather than focusing on the right to bear arms.
“I suspect that four Members of this Court would vote to review a 10-day waiting period for abortions … on the publication of racist speech … even a 10-minute delay of a traffic stop,” he wrote, as pointed out by legal scholar Josh Blackman.
“The Court would take these cases because abortion, speech, and the Fourth Amendment are three of its favored rights. The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this Court’s constitutional orphan,” he added.
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