Quote of the Day:
Translation: Nice nine-person Supreme Court you have there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it.
–David French on the amicus brief submitted by five Democratic lawmakers
Conservatives were unhappy with what they saw as an activist Supreme Court for decades.
They argued for Justices with a more limited judicial philosophy, and they sought to elect as president somebody who would appoint such Justices.
All within our constitutional system of government.
What they didn’t do was threaten the Supreme Court.
Leave that to a group of Democratic lawmakers who want to scare the Court off from taking a gun case they worry might not go their way.
Here is the Wall Street Journal editorial on what the Democrats are doing:
When liberals worry about losing a major Supreme Court case, they usually make appeals to the Court’s “legitimacy.” This is intended to attract Chief Justice John Roberts by suggesting that a conservative outcome would damage the institution’s reputation. The ritual is disingenuous but usually subtle.
Five Democratic Senators have had it with subtle. In a remarkable and threatening amicus brief, Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin and Kirsten Gillibrand all but tell the Justices that they’ll retaliate politically if the Court doesn’t do what they say in a Second Amendment case.
“The Supreme Court is not well,” they tell the Justices in what is really an enemy-of-the-Court brief. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’” By “restructured,” they mean packed with new Justices by a Democratic President and Senate after they kill the filibuster.
National Review’s David French calls the brief “malicious”:
It is easily the most malicious Supreme Court brief I’ve ever seen. And it comes not from an angry or unhinged private citizen, but from five Democratic members of the United States Senate.
Without any foundation, they directly attack the integrity of the five Republican appointees and conclude with a threat to take political action against the Court if it doesn’t rule the way they demand.
The brief is so outside legal norms that, had I drafted it as a member of the Supreme Court bar, I’d be concerned about facing legal sanction for recklessly impugning the integrity of the Court.
The issue in the case, according to SCOTUS blog, is “whether New York’s ban on transporting a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside the city limits is consistent with the Second Amendment, Commerce Clause and constitutional right to travel.”
Under the city’s strict gun laws, New Yorkers couldn’t transport a gun to a second home. It has to be in their residences unless they were headed to one of the city’s seven licensed shooting ranges. The city tinkered with its law when it became clear that the Supreme Court was going to hear the case, but the case continues.
That Senators would threaten the Court in this manner is extremely disheartening and one more example of a willingness on the part of many to harm bedrock institutions of our constitutional system of governance, whether the Supreme Court or the Electoral College, for purely political reasons.