CHICAGO.CBSLOCAL.COM September 10, 2020 – The Supreme Court has gone a decade without acting on a major case concerning the Second Amendment, an issue that could receive rare attention in the future by the high court should Judge Amy Coney Barrett be confirmed to the bench in the coming weeks.
The court has resisted taking up a significant Second Amendment case since the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller — which held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm — and a 2010 follow-up, turning away 10 gun rights cases in the last term alone.
Barrett’s judicial record on the Second Amendment is thin, limited to just one dissenting opinion she wrote in 2019 as a judge on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals. But that lone dissent, ranging nearly 40 pages, speaks volumes about her originalist mindset — the legal philosophy championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia — and her view that gun ownership is a fundamental right.
The appeals court, Barrett said at the time, “treats the Second Amendment as a second-class right.”
Should the Senate confirm Barrett, who once clerked for Scalia, she could provide the extra vote Justice Clarence Thomas has been advocating for to take up Second Amendment cases. “We saw earlier this year that, even though four of the current justices are ready to take up a number of Second Amendment cases, they weren’t sure if they had a fifth vote on the merits — because they weren’t sure about the chief justice,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. [full article]