The Supreme Court is back in session, and with the Justices reconvening for another session, the longstanding practice of calendar-watching is on every legal reporter’s To Do list.
And again, as has been the irritatingly consistent practice of “the Roberts Court” few Second Amendment cases are being considered, and none currently guaranteed a hearing.
According to the Duke Center for Firearms Law, one case which challenged the ability of a state to temporarily deprive Second Amendment rights after a juvenile adjudication without a jury, was denied cert. Short meaning, no dice on this one. That was a bit of a surprise as former Solicitor General Paul Clement was the attorney representing the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the petitioners in the case.
That, however, doesn’t mean there are no 2A cases being considered. Rodrigues v. San Jose, wasn’t acted on in the pre-session conferences last week, but it has been “relisted” - as in added back to the next conference schedule.
According to the Duke Center and their Court watchers, that “relist” doesn’t guarantee a hearing. But it does mean the Court is paying close attention to the case and chances of a grant are improved. The other options are that the Court is going to deny cert and a Justice is writing a dissent to that decision, or it could be dealt with in a summary way.
As the old expression goes, “the Court will do what the Court would do.”
What the Court might do is decide if the circular logic employed by the California Courts and the Ninth Circuit in finding the City of San Jose didn’t step all over the rights of Lori Rodriguez were appropriate.
It all began when she called San Jose PD for help when her husband began behaving “erratically”. Officers came and had the husband transported to a mental facility.
Problem solved, right? Nope.
An officer then told her that they were seizing all firearms in the home. That’s despite the fact they were locked in a gun safe- and they lacked a warrant to do so. They persisted, and she finally gave them the combination and they removed every firearm- including one licensed specifically to her.
Again, this happened despite the threat (her erratic husband) having been removed, all the guns being safely locked up the entire time, and the absence of a warrant.
The case isn’t extremely convoluted -she (and her husband) had complied with all requirements for the safe ownership of the guns, she complied with the stipulations given her to allow return of the guns, and still the city refused.
She sued, and California courts managed to implement some pretty shaky logic in ruling the SJPD had acted correctly. She appealed to the Ninth Circuit and her appeal was again denied.
By then, the Second Amendment Foundation and the California Gun Rights Foundations had gotten involved. Now, they’re asking the Supreme Court to decide whether the officers acted appropriately in seizing the firearms in the first place, in addition to questioning all the legal actions (and the logic behind them) subsequent to that seizure.
It’s an interesting case, and could establish solid judicial guidelines for constitutes appropriate action by law enforcement officers absent immediate danger posed by either a firearms or a person behaving “erratically.”
We’ll be watching this one closely.
— Jim Shepherd