This is a bit of housekeeping. A story we’ve followed with little potential and then a lot of it. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. The Big Apple changed the law to prevent the US Supreme Court from taking it up, which should have been the end of it.
The worry was that the court could topple similar efforts or existing laws concerning the transportation of firearms. It was a blatant infringement on the right to travel. So, they bailed on their law. Not entirely. But the Roberts Court had set a precedent for mooting challenges when a law was changed or repealed.
It looked like this case was headed for the same fate. But then some Senate Democrats threatened the High Court.
As suspected early on, the final ruling was to toss the case. “The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in an unsigned opinion that the case was moot because the city had amended its original regulation.”
Conservative justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch wrote in their dissent that the case should not have been dismissed.
“By incorrectly dismissing this case as moot, the Court permits our docket to be manipulated in a way that should not be countenanced,” the justices wrote.
It may be that the pressure applied behind the scenes, and we know all too well that this happens, had some effect. But we also know Roberts has mooted similar cases before.
In the end, we don’t get to find out what could have been if New York had stood by its gun-grabbing, but the battle is never over. Some other liberal city will have a similar law challenged or enact one that will then take a ride through the court system.
They can’t help themselves, which makes them their own worst enemies.