Tick…Tick…Tick by Tom Reynolds
On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court, (SCOTUS) in a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Thomas, struck down New York State’s restrictive concealed carry law. (NYSRPA v Bruen.) In response, New York and other blue states immediately began attempting to work around the ruling, which resulted in New York passing its new Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA). (Only eight days after SCOTUS’ ruling.)
Although “SCOTUS struck down the prior law as giving too much discretion to the state, the new legislation has plenty of fuzzy, judgmental standards that reestablish unconstitutional discretion. In addition, it prohibits concealed carry in “sensitive places’, which are defined in the CCIA law as just about every place in NY State.
Litigation ensued, and in October, 2022 (four months after the CCIA law was passed) U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby found critical parts of New York’s CCIA to be unconstitutional.
The case was appealed by NY State and oral arguments were heard on March 20, 2023 (nine months after the CCIA law was passed). Five cases out of New York’s federal district courts were combined and were heard in the Second Circuit in front of a panel of three judges. The five cases are: Antonyuk v. Nigrelli; Hardaway v. Nigrelli; Spencer v. Nigrelli; Christian v. Nigrelli; and Gazzola v. Hochul. These cases had resulted in a number of the CCIA’s provisions being thrown out so NY State appealed. Money is not an issue for NY State since it is operating on the taxpayer’s dime while the plaintiff’s had to self-finance.
In spite of SCOTUS’ direction to the Second Circuit to expedite the appeals, we are now seven months past the March 23rd hearing and still without a decision. (Sixteen months since CCIA was passed.)
Kathy Hochul and the NY Legislature passed several laws which flew in the face of the Bruen ruling. They knew they were on extremely radical ground (not just shaky ground but an earthquake) when they passed these laws. But they didn’t care that these laws won’t stand up to scrutiny by anything but leftist judges and would be struck down by any reasonable reading of the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision.
And Hochul is not alone as Deep Blue states such as California, Washington, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland are passing similar laws.
Why are they not concerned with the Constitution?
Like NY, these deep blue states have been dominated by Democrats for years. The governor’s mansion and the legislatures have Democrat majorities and the state judicial systems are heavily filled with Democrats. And it’s not enough to just be a Democrat. To be in a political leadership position or judgeship, one has to be a far-left, woke, radical, Democrat.
The politicians believe that they will be reelected in Deep Blue states where the Democrat nomination is akin to winning the election. (If gun owners in NY State would vote, this would no longer be true.)
They also are acutely aware that it will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to challenge these laws, while plaintiffs can expect defeats in the state courts and must get to federal court in order to prevail on the Constitution.
Like politicians, the judges know that there are no personal repercussions to their ignoring the Supreme Court. Judges are rarely impeached and probably never impeached for ruling wrong on a constitutional issue. And if SCOTUS tells the lower courts to make haste, that is just another SCOTUS direction to be ignored.
Should the Second Circuit decide to defy SCOTUS with their ruling, the cases will be appealed to SCOTUS, which puts a final decision, months if not a year, further away.
"Justice delayed is justice denied" is a legal maxim. It means that if legal redress or equitable relief to an injured party is available, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no remedy at all.
The 2nd Circuit is denying justice and the voters of NY State need to know about this miscarriage of justice.