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Isn't SCOTUS the only decision that really matters?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by usmarine0352_2005, Mar 11, 2012.

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  1. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Member

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    I don't know much about how the courts work but I am seeing that we are getting a few positive 2nd Amendment decisions from District courts. It could then get appealed to the Appeals courts, if I'm correct, then if all of the Appeals courts agree then it most likely won't go to SCOTUS, but if there is disagreement in the courts then it has a better chance of making it to SCOTUS.

    If I'm correct if all of the Appeals courts agree that the 2nd Amendment pertains to outside and inside of the home and no one appeals then that's as far as it goes and it is the law of the land.

    However, if they appeal it to the Supreme Court then that could come up with final decision.



    Even though a bunch of positive 2nd Amendment decisions from the Appeals courts is good, isn't it better to get a positive decision from SCOTUS as that would be harder to overturn?


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  2. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    except that it take a lot of money and time to get there, so in the mean time....
     
  3. Sebastian the Ibis
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    Sebastian the Ibis Member

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    Yes it would. Also, a supreme court constitutional ruling is universal. It applies in every state and federal court nationwide.
     
  4. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    District court case ruling of law applies to that case, maybe not even to the entire district.

    Appeals court case ruling of law controls every case in that Circuit.

    Something can be legal in one circuit and illegal in another.

    When that happen it is called a split in the circuits and it is one of the reasons the supreme court will agree to hear a case, but it does not have to.
     
  5. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    While in college I spent a lot of time studying criminal Constitutional Law including when I attended Graduate School. I along with some of my Professors have concluded that Heller is not as big of a victory for gun owners as it has been protrayed. For example the Court let open the possibility of the Government banning entire classes of firearms from owhership.

    The first and most important thing about U.S. Supreme Court decisions is they are broad and vague. It is up to the lower Courts to decide what the Supreme Court means. These lower court decisions will work it's way through the Appeal Courts and maybe back to the Supreme Court for additional ruling. It can take years for for a case to make its way back up the court system.

    As for Appeal Courts there are 13 Circuit Appeal Courts in the U.S. each with it's own panel of Judges. These Judges can and often do make rulings contradicting other Appeal Courts. The Appeals Court with the most overturned number of decisions is the Ninth Circuit Court located in San Francisco, Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
     
  6. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    It was never intended that the Supreme Court arbitrate every dispute or interpretation of the law of the land. There simply isn't enough time. While their decisions are the law of the land, subject only to Constitutional override, their job is to rule on broad questions of Constitutionality, as they did in Heller.

    Unfortunately, unlike in most SC rulings, many lower courts haven't taken the hint and applied the principles of the 2nd Amendment to additional cases outside the home. :uhoh::banghead::banghead::banghead:

    So, additional decisions, good and bad, will work their way through the pipeline until the Supremes once again are called upon to say (to paraphrase Inyego Montoya), "That amendment -- It means just what it says it means!":what::eek::evil::evil::evil:
     
  7. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    A lot of legal commentators do not share the opinion that you and your professors reached. Heller was not a "big victory" in the sense that it did not miraculously invalidate all gun control laws as some might have naively wished. However, Heller was a huge victory in the sense that it recognized an individual constitutional right that had essentially been a dead letter for three-quarters of a century or more. Heller's importance was in providing the gateway to incorporate that individual constitutional right against the states in McDonald.

    As to SCOTUS decisions, they are intentionally narrow. From the Congressional Research Service's Analysis and Interpretation of the Constitution:

    Thus, the ruling in Heller was that DC had to give one person a handgun license. However, to get to that decision, SCOTUS also had to recognize an individual constitutional right and determine that DC's laws were unconstitutional because they violated that right.
     
  8. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    I agree that SCOTUS is the opinion that matters, but the underlying thing we all need to keep sight of is that the individual that appoints judges can have pretty far reaching consequences... That's why elections matter so much.

    November 2012... it just can't come soon enough.

    (hope this passes muster, I deliberately didn't advocate for any particular point of view...)
     
  9. sig220mw

    sig220mw Member

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    What lemay said. The current President has appointed two judges that are definite enemies of all gun owners. It wasn't an accident either. The were both suspiciously as silent as possible on the issue. It came up but they did their best to not talk about it.
     
  10. CollinLeon

    CollinLeon member

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    The SCOTUS is not always right. On the other hand, the Founding Fathers were ALWAYS right. There have been conflicting opinions of the SCOTUS. The 2nd Amendment is absolute, no matter what the SCOTUS might say from week to week.
     
  11. whalerman

    whalerman member

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    Economically, we are pretty well sunk, as Congress won't stop spending until we are Greece. But if Obama wins again, we will lose control of the Supreme Court. Say goodbye to your gun rights. The Second Ammendment will be gone.
     
  12. Tipro

    Tipro Member

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    Not quite. Heller didn't apply the 2nd Amendment to the States, McDonald did that by incorporating the 2nd Amendment to the States through the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

    I guess if all 12 (11 circuits + DC court) agree then maybe... That's a long shot. No way the 9th circuit is going to favorably expand McDonald.

    But in a sense you are correct - If an appellate court rules a certain way, the district courts which are within that appellate courts jurisdiction are required to follow that decision. But if the Supreme Court rules one way, EVERY appellate and EVERY district court must follow that decision.

    The Court may be more inclined, but not every discrepancy between the appellate courts gets reviewed by the Supremes. See US v. Introcaso, 506 F.3d 260 (3rd Cir. 2007), and US v. Tribunella, 749 F.2d 104 (2nd Cir. 1984) for an example of appellate courts reaching opposing decisions in a firearms case on the exact same issue where the USSC didn't take up the case.


    Also of importance, is that Judges will look outside their jurisdiction for nonmandatory authority. If a district court has no controlling authority, it may be persuasive to cite towards a 2A favorable decision in another circuit. Therefore, EVERY decision with a favorable ruling for 2A rights is a win, district court or Supreme Court.
     
  13. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Sitting Justices are not immune to scrutiny:

    ARTICLE III

    SECTION 1.

    The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

    I'm no lawyer, but wouldn't negating from the bench a right that has been enshrined in its own Amendment suffice to demonstrate the end of good behavior, and wouldn't it be grounds for removal of every Justice who voted for it?
     
  14. Birch Knoll

    Birch Knoll Member

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    Maybe. All you have to do is get the US House of Representatives to vote for impeachment, then have a trial in the Senate and get a 2/3rds vote to convict. Since 1789, only 19 US officials have ever been impeached, and I think only 8 of those were convicted and removed from office.
     
  15. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Not easy to remove a Justice, to be sure. But it is possible--the drafters and ratifiers of the Constitution made sure of that.

    Maybe all we need to do is remind the Justices that they can be fired.
     
  16. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Your professors and yourself would be right. Heller was not a resounding affirmation of our Second Amendment rights. Four SCOTUS justices watered down their decision to get a fifth justice aboard.
     
  17. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Um, no. The Founding Fathers have not always been right. The fact that our gun rights are in the 2nd Amendment illustrates very well that the Founding Fathers had a significant failing in the drafting of the Constitution such that the Amendments needed to be made.

    The 2nd Amendment is not absolute. If it was, prisoners in jail and prison would be allowed to keep their guns.
     
  18. Tipro

    Tipro Member

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    Founding Father's certainly were not always right.

    US Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: "Representatives...shall be apportioned among the Several States according to their respective Numbers...adding to the whole Number of Free persons...and...three fifths of all other Persons."
    A 1, S 9 "The...importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to [1808]"

    The Constitution is an excellent framework for government, all things considered, but if it was perfect we wouldn't have 27 amendments. Like all things created by man, it needs to be viewed with suspicion, and taken with a grain of salt. It has parts of blinding brilliance (2A anyone? :D), but falls short in other respects - electoral college perhaps?
     
  19. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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  20. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    True, it will not happen if we all believe it can't happen.
     
  21. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    IMHO you are very wrong.

    Heller is the linch pin of all subsequent 2A cases because it found an individual right in the 2A (Duh). If Heller had come out the other way the 2A would have been gone.

    As a bonus, Heller found the 2A to also apply to handguns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  22. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    ROFL! The Founding Fathers were so absolutely right that they couldn't agree on the what the Constitution should say or even if it was needed. Read the Federalist Papers and the Ant-Federalist Papers and you will think you stumbled into an 18th century version of this forum.

    FWIW, the original intent of the "Founding Fathers" was that the President be the chief magistrate and be the one to determine the constitutionality of a bill before signing it into law. It was one of the reasons the President was given veto power. John Marshall arrogated that authority to the Supreme Court in 1803 (Marbury vs. Madison).

    Now, if the Reciprocity law passes, would you rather have SCOTUS deciding constitutionality at some point in the future or POTUS before he signs it?
     
  23. Tipro

    Tipro Member

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    Heller is important, but it's not really that great (as in, total freedom). As someone else said, it was watered down to get Kennedy on board.

    Here are some direct quotes from the Heller opinion:

    "There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Of course the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment's right of free speech was not, see, e.g., United States v. Williams, 553 U.S. 285, 128 S.Ct. 1830, 170 L.Ed.2d 650 (2008). Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose."

    "nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession **2817 of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing *627 conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26
    17We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U.S., at 179, 59 S.Ct. 816. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”


    Heller seemed to state (somewhere very specifically, can't find it at the moment though) that long standing prohibitions would generally be upheld. Since state legislatures have been passing concealed carry laws en masse since the early 1800's, don't count on a constitutional right to carry.
     
  24. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    Prohibitions like no guns in court, schools or church.
    Nothing shows that the majority gave in on anything to get five votes.

    This is a well reasoned opinion that recognizes the individual nature of the 2A and that regulations can be placed on how it is exercised. Compare, People have a right to seek medical treatment from a doctor but the state can require that the doctor has a license.
     
  25. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Kennedy is the swing vote on the US Supreme court. There are strong indications that Kennedy is simply opposed to some restrictive gun laws.

    It is significant that SCOTUS has denied cert in other cases: Williams v. MD being one.

    http://www.claytoncramer.com/popular/TheHellerVictory.htm

     
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