This term, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered two decisions that will have far-reaching consequences.
By the overturning of Roe and the invalidation of the New York law pursuant to the right to carry a gun for protection, the Court has changed the legal and political landscape. In my opinion, both were appropriately decided. That doesn’t mean that I agree with the outcomes.
If we look at Roe, what the justices said was that there is no constitutional right to abortion. For the past 50 years, we have been told that there was an implied constitutional right of privacy allowing abortion, but this decision rips the mask off that doctrine. The decision tells us something about the majority’s thinking on two points of law.
They disregard the Casey decision that reaffirmed Roe because it was decided on the legal principal of stare decisis and not whether Roe was the correct decision. Stare decisis is the legal principal that once a decision is rendered, it should stand because the matter was already decided previously in that way. I quote from Justice Alito’s opinion in Dobbs which is the vehicle for ruling that abortion is not a constitutional right; “But stare decisis is not an inexorable command” (Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U. S. 223, 233) and “is at its weakest when [the Court] interpret[s] the Constitution” (Agostini v. Felton, 521 U. S. 203, 235). Some of the Court’s most important constitutional decisions have overruled prior precedents. See, e.g., Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483, 491 (overruling the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537, and its progeny).”
Dobbs does what should have been done 50 years ago. That is to let the people, through their state legislatures, decide if abortion should be legal or not within their states. The 1973 Roe decision was a continuation of a policy of an activist judicial branch that believed that courts should make policy and not the legislative branches of state and federal government.
This belief is widespread in Democratic circles since the “New Deal.” This has allowed a laziness to take hold in that political party. Democrats forgot that decisions are the people’s to make through their state and federal legislatures. The Democrats abandoned organizing and fielding candidates for elective offices in state after state hoping to have their policies enacted by the courts and the bureaucracy.
Even though I believe that abortion is a personal decision that should be legal everywhere, the Supreme Court made the right decision constitutionally. This viewpoint of the Democrats of not wanting to participate in local races, has allowed the Republicans to become ascendant in placing their nominees on the bench. Any political party in any political state cannot pick up their marbles and not participate if it wants to have a view toward building a coalition and winning seats for office.
The second decision is the overturning of the Sullivan Law in New York which prohibits the issuing of carry permits except if the applicant shows a need that is recognized by the state. To me, that law is clearly in violation of the 2nd Amendment. The case that finally ended this depravation of a constitutional right was a long time coming.
The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, centers on the absurd extremes that some towns and cities make applicants go through to obtain a concealed carry permit. In the rural parts of New York State, demonstrating the need to carry is simple and straight forward. In places like New York City, it can literally take years and the volume of documents needed to show the need can be ridiculous. The Court rightly based their opinion on the 2nd Amendment right and that right cannot be construed to make it impossible for a law-abiding sane individual to carry a pistol for self-defense.
However, that does not mean that reasonable rules to obtain the permit cannot apply. Extensive background checks for mental health and criminal convictions are allowed. As would be required classes on the law and range training. The state could also exempt certain places from allowing firearms.
If the state requires 100 hours of classes or exempts cities with populations of more than 10,000 people, then in my opinion that would not be constitutional. Will there be increased shootings because more people are carrying weapons…the answer is yes. Statistically, states with looser legal carry laws have more shootings and suicides.
That has nothing to do with a constitutional right. The Constitution allows for the amendment process to make changes. It is part of the political process. The process that has been allowed to atrophy because of politicians and political parties not wanting to make decisions.
Americans need to wake up and once again become involved in issues not just allow politicians to spout silly sound bites. Do not vote for people who tell you what you want to hear and then do not deliver. Every office matters, and your participation is required.
If you disagree with these decisions, do not blame the Supreme Court Justices for what is happening. Blame yourselves for the politicians that were elected that put them on the bench.