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Thomas Calls Second Amendment High Court's 'Constitutional Orphan'

21 February 2018

Thomas penned the dissent this morning after his colleagues quietly denied certiorari in the case Silvester v. Becerra - a challenge by California gun owners to 10-day waiting period that the Golden State imposes on all firearms purchases.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California's law in 2016, reversing a federal trial court that had ruled it unconstitutional.

Clarence Thomas is no stranger to controversy, but the hotly contested Supreme Court Justice and alleged sexual harasser picked a pretty terrible moment to deliver a 14-page long pro-gun diatribe.

In an unsigned order, the court let stand a ruling upholding California's law mandating a 10-day waiting period and another imposing fees on firearm transactions to fund background checks. And California's waiting period applies to new gun purchases even if the owner already possesses another legal weapon.

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"If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt this court would intervene".

"Her obsessive quest to try and destroy Clarence Thomas [and pull her career out of free fall] has resulted in another 4,200 words of warmed-over, long-ago debunked, and perjurious allegations", Severino writes of Abramson.

Blaming cert denials like today's for "enabl [ing] this kind of defiance", Thomas noted that the court has "not heard argument in a Second Amendment case for almost eight years".

He's not just blaming the Court's progressive wing, by the way; he wants people to understand that it takes only four justices to agree to take an appeal from a circuit-court decision like the one in the current gun case.

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The Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to expand or reinforce constitutional gun rights in recent years. Only Hawaii's 14-day period is longer.

The district court said the state failed to show that the waiting period was too broad to serve an important government interest - specifically finding that the state failed to show that the cooling-off requirement was actually effective in deterring gun violence.

"In the Ninth Circuit, it seems, rights that have no basis in the Constitution receive greater protection than the Second Amendment, which is enumerated in our text", Thomas wrote in his dissent, noting that the Second Amendment isn't one of the Court's "favored rights". But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this court. The delay was initially meant to allow time for background checks, and while those now take far less time electronically, state officials say the waiting period also acts as a deterrent against suicides and other impulse shootings.

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Thomas Calls Second Amendment High Court's 'Constitutional Orphan'