by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island filed a legal brief before the Supreme Court in a challenge to New York City’s gun transportation regulations, advancing a broad indictment of the Roberts Court itself as he urged the justices to turn away the NRA-backed case.
The brief, which follows back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, accuses the justices of delivering partisan decisions for monied Republican interests while warning of lasting damage to the Supreme Court’s legitimacy.
“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics,’” Whitehouse wrote, alluding to court-packing measures that have gained traction in progressive circles. “Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”
The case pertains to an ordinance, since amended, regulating gun transportation in New York City. The ordinance authorized licensed gun owners to carry firearms to and from gun ranges, and forbade the removal of firearms from city limits. The plaintiffs are city residents who wish to transport their firearms to vacation homes for self-defense and to shooting competitions outside the five boroughs.
Though a trial judge and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ordinance, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the dispute in January.