The Supreme court is deciding more than gun rights.


Kevin Ashley, Staff Writer

Guns are a staple of America. Our Second Amendment right to own a firearm is one of the most heavily debated rights in the country. The Supreme Court has taken up a new gun rights case, and with the backdrop of rising mass shootings it could issue a ruling that takes a first step toward addressing that problem or make it even worse.

David Goldberg, a professor of political science at COD, said, the case involves the ability to carry a concealed weapon in New York state. The state law says a person seeking a concealed carry license must provide “a good reason” for needing such a license.  Goldberg cited a 2008 case the Supreme Court struck down; it was a restrictive gun law in Washington, D.C. Now, over a decade later, and after multiple rejected gun cases, the Supreme Court has decided to take one up again.

This case is also coming in with the backdrop of a new, solidly conservative majority.

People like to operate under the assumption that it doesn’t matter what is happening in the country, the Supreme Court will always act as a non-partisan organization just there to interpret the law. Whether the justices are liberal or conservative that has never been the case for the court. The fact that we have liberal and conservative justices is a prime example of how the court can be biased towards one side or another.

To be biased is not inherently a bad thing, but because of our current political hellscape people have associated the word “bias” to be bad no matter the situation. To have a bias is human; simple as that. By knowing people’s biases you can work around them, and by acknowledging that the Supreme Court also has bias it can help determine how people craft their arguments in court.

This should be remembered because although it is fair to say that the court, since it is a conservative majority,will vote in favor of striking down the gun law. However, Goldberg thinks that isn’t necessarily the case. 

“Some of the justices have not voted on this kind of case with the significance of the gun control issues,” said Golderberg. “Chief Justice Roberts has often acted as a swing vote, so he would need another vote.” 

The Supreme Court isn’t just deciding the concealed carry laws of the nation on a short-term basis. The conservatives appointed by Trump are so young they will be there for another 30 years, at least. If the Democrats don’t like the court’s ruling they may increase the size of the court, which none of the justices will like. 

The Supreme Court is completely aware of its position in the nation, and after Trump’s attacks on the court after they refused to even hear his case for overturning the election their credibility as an institution is on the line for millions of Americans. This knowledge may influence their judgment on the case since whichever side they upset may have impacts on their future as well as the country’s.

Ultimately, no one will know what the court will do until next year. Trying to guess now wouldn’t help much. However, the court does not live in a bubble. They must take the temperature of the nation into account with their rulings. With gun violence on the rise and the political will being there for gun reform, the court’s decision will determine much in the nation and itself.