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Monday round-up

This morning the Supreme Court kicks off its December session with oral arguments in two cases. First up is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, a high-profile challenge to New York City’s limits on transporting personal firearms. Amy Howe previewed the case for this blog. Subscript Law offers a graphic explainer.

For The Economist, Steven Mazie writes that this “is the case gun-rights advocates have been waiting for since 2008, when the Supreme Court first recognised an individual right to own a gun for self-defence” in District of Columbia v. Heller, which “left many questions unresolved about the Second Amendment’s ‘right of the people to keep and bear arms’: whether there are other ‘lawful purposes’ to own guns, which types of weapons are protected and how far states may go in regulating them.” A mini version of Mazie’s preview is here. Bill Lucia reports at Route Fifty that “[i]t’s an oddball case in a number of ways[:] The restrictions that sparked the court battle are not common around the U.S., and New York City and New York state rolled them back earlier this year after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.” At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports that “the first question Monday will be whether the case is moot and should be thrown out because New York has already given the gun owners everything they asked for in their lawsuit.” For The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Jess Bravin reports that “[w]ith four liberal justices having rejected the premise of the Heller case and four conservatives having voiced unhappiness with the stagnation of Second Amendment doctrine, the focus, as with many divisive issues before the current court, likely will fall on Chief Justice John Roberts.”

The editorial board of the Journal hails the New York case as “an opportunity for the Justices to police their Second Amendment precedents, clarify the standard of judicial review for government infringements, and affirm that gun rights aren’t confined to the home.” Additional commentary comes from Scott Cosenza at Liberty Nation.

Monday’s second case is Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., which asks whether the annotated version of a state code can be copyrighted. This blog’s preview came from Ronald Mann. At PatentlyO, Dennis Crouch notes that “Georgia is (no longer) claiming copyright in the statutes themselves, but is claiming that the annotations are protectable.” [Disclosure: Arnold & Porter, whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case. Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel to the respondent in this case.]


  • Mark Sherman reports at AP that “[t]he Supreme Court’s role in a bitterly divided Washington and nation may be more important than ever, yet basic details about how the court operates remain obscured.”
  • At The Hill (via How Appealing), Alexander Bolton reports that “[t]he recent hospitalization of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg following a year of health scares has raised the prospect of a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year and a partisan battle royal that would likely surpass the impeachment fight.”
  • At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost observes that although “Justice Brett Kavanaugh steered clear of controversy when he used the Federalist Society’s annual meeting last month as the forum for his first public appearance since his contentious confirmation a year ago,” “[l]ess than two weeks later, … Kavanaugh went out of his way in a below-the-radar Supreme Court case to advance a major conservative issue by calling for federal courts to expand their role in reviewing regulatory initiatives by federal administrative agencies.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 2, 2019, 6:39 AM),