I Kept Saying Roberts Was the Weak Link

The Supreme Court will continue to allow the lower courts to rule the Second Amendment into irrelevance. I stand by my assertion that Roberts was the weak link all along, or at least one of them. Maybe Kennedy was too. But clearly unless there’s yet another change on the Court, this isn’t going anywhere. Judges are elites. They don’t really want the peons armed either.

44 thoughts on “I Kept Saying Roberts Was the Weak Link”

  1. They can’t even be bothered to put the knife in themselves. Not granting cert when there’s a blatant circuit split is abdicating their responsibility.

  2. I think they both were. The Chief loves his games, and having Kennedy gave him the cover to be a squish. He could vote with the minority while agreeing with the majority. But Kennedy left, and now the game is up.

    The Court loves to fail to do its job. It couldn’t even deal with QI!

    Hopefully Trump can win, and maybe we’ll get lucky and one of the liberal 5 will retire, and can get some traction.

    But for now, the SC is heading us right for a civil war. Once the Dems take back power, and they will, they will give us their policies good and hard. And the right won’t stand for it.

    Its going to be ugly.

    1. The Left has been crowing how they are going to pack the Court the next time they get power. I’ve been wishing that someone like Senator Mike Lee would say “Hey, you want a packed court? Why not pack it now?”

      I would expect the effort to fail — however, I would also appreciate getting the debate out there right now, just to let the air out of the argument before it gets to the Democrats. In the end, I’d like to think we’d get an amendment capping the Supreme Court. In the meantime, it will be funny to hear all the screeching that will happen when all the “pack the Court” people suddenly reverse course!

    2. “Hopefully Trump can win, and maybe we’ll get lucky and one of the liberal 5 will retire, and can get some traction.”

      I hadn’t thought to check before I wrote my comment below, but I just did: Apparently “conservatives” of a presumably Christian bent are going nuts and calling Gorsuch a “traitor” for his so-called “contextualist” opinion regarding whether gays are protected by existing non-discrimination laws.

      Read, another constituency that thought SCOTUS appointments were the be-all and end-all of their political battle was very, very disappointed by a Justice that Their Man appointed.

      Sebastian said it all when he wrote “judges are elites”.

      1. Read that opinion, and even though I’m not averse to adding sexual orientation to the law, the textualism was very weak on it. And the dissent is right, by also adding the gender identity it’s going to create conflict with existing law in areas like women’s sports that will now have to be resolved.

        1. I wasn’t critiquing the decision itself; I was critiquing the assumption that SCOTUS Justices are going to be hardline “issue ideologues.”

          To put it in the coarse terms I often use, the assumption that a POTUS who has learned a few lines of good shit to talk to gun owners (or any other constituency), will take the advice of a few people who have learned to talk even better shit, and will appoint Justices who will slam-dunk issue the decisions we wish for.

          Everyone in that loop is a front man for the desires of the power elite; as are the Justices they will endorse. Ever wonder, on what foundation RBG and Scalia could be as chummy as they were alleged to have been?

      2. I can’t remember if it was Kagan or Sotayamayor, but one the the two (and possibly both) have produced rulings that the Left opposes. It’s just much more difficult for the Right to find judges that won’t “stray” than the left.

        I think the biggest reason for this, though, are that Libertarians and Conservatives are a cantankerous bunch, and if those are the people you are going to have a wide variety of opinion and wiggle room — the old joke “If you ask 10 libertarians for their opinion on one legal topic, you’ll get 11 or more answers” comes to mind.

        The biggest reason there’s departure from the expected — from either side — is that Supreme Court justices are individuals, and you can’t 100% be certain of *any* thing that goes through an individual’s head when you appoint them, let alone what *will* go through their head, when they are put in front of a given case….

        1. “the old joke ‘If you ask 10 libertarians for their opinion on one legal topic, you’ll get 11 or more answers’ comes to mind.”

          That was because we had multiple factions contributing to our mind-control and indoctrination. I don’t know if Pavlov’s experiments ever included it, but it would be like conditioning dogs to do two different things when the buzzer/bell rings. Condition them to being fed, then condition them to getting an electric shock, then let some time go by, and see which way they react to the stimulus. Maybe it will be both ways, and maybe that will require what Orwell labeled doublethink. The ability to hold mutually contradictory ideas simultaneously.

          The key is to persuade people that they and they alone are true “independent thinkers.” They can then be conditioned to hold whatever beliefs serve your purpose, and to believe almost anything.

    3. To be honest, I’m not sure getting the current appointments was useless. It’s quite possible under a 2nd Clinton administration we’d have two hard against justices added instead of moderately pro. And a court with 6 antis might have taken cert explicitly to get rid of Heller and McDonald.

  3. “Judges are elites. They don’t really want the peons armed either.”

    I think you hit on the entire explanation right there, and shouldn’t fall for the crapola that there are good guys on the court who were afraid that one or more of the squishes might turn bad on a 2A decision.

    So, Thomas and Kavanaugh got to posture and everyone but us came up a winner. The Republicans still have their best vote-getting issue in the big pot, that can be stirred when necessary, without ever really moving anything important forward — or back, for that matter. So the Great Charade can continue for at least another generation.

    I think that truth be told, all the justices looked at the people turning up armed at the current demos and protests, and got a little nervous.

    1. “ I think that truth be told, all the justices looked at the people turning up armed at the current demos and protests, and got a little nervous.”

      I can’t believe I’m saying this but Andy B is right here. I have to believe that these justices are scared by current events and the idea of left and right shooting it out. The presence of an armed populace speaks truth to power. Gun control is also unenforceable without the precious shock troops in BATTLE RATTLE that the left is busy defunding. I’ll be glad to see that issue go by the the wayside but will be keeping at a “low ready” to make sure it’s snuffed out for good. Either the cops submit to the left and go gracefully with being declawed, or they team up with gun owners.

      As much as these are important legal challenges In these cases, it does move the needle by rejecting them. It merely freezes them until the people in this areas “free themselves”.

      I suspect, since we already have a game plan so eloquently handed to us by the left, that we will need to reciprocate and set up our own autonomous zones at some point. Right now that would be the best effort to manufacture machine guns without interference of the fuzz department of the law. I know Andy B would long to get back to those days, too. We’ll get there because we won’t have a choice.

    2. I think that truth be told, all the justices looked at the people turning up armed at the current demos and protests, and got a little nervous.

      I don’t think that’s true at all, but if it is they got the wrong message. Because those people won’t be happy if lower courts basically make the 2A nonexistent.

      Anyway, I think what happened is there are 4 solid votes to take a case, but Roberts is a squish. Has nothing to do with anything except that.

  4. The Court had a chance to defuse the looming crisis, and instead they turned their backs to it. Scary days indeed.

    If things turn out badly in the near future, history will record this moment and this Court as a key turning point in the development of the crisis.

    Could it have been worse? What if the Court had ruled, but badly? What if they had nullified the 2nd Amendment with a modern day version of the Dred Scott decision?

    From my point of view, the silence of the Court is for all practical purposes as bad as a hostile ruling.

  5. The Democrat Party and their Core Leftwing Base are a like a combo of the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, and, The Stasi of East Germany.

    The SCOTUS fears them.

      1. “the cattle trains never stop man.”

        I had family (all dead now) that rode “communist” cattle trains, but I also have had friends whose families rode “fascist” cattle trains. It just occurred to me that my uncle who was a POW of the Japs, probably rode a cattle train when they were moved from the Mitsubishi shipyards near Tokyo, to the coal mines in northern Japan in 1945. Since the Japs are generally classified as “fascists”, for the moment I’ll risk claiming that I’ve had victims of both in my family.

        The key isn’t left-right bullshit “ideologies,” its authoritarianism, which exists independent of ideology. Cambodia was an almost insane example, but only a few years later the U.S. was supporting butchers in Central and South America who, while the absolute numbers of those killed may not have compared (mere hundreds of thousands as compared to millions in Cambodia) were probably just as bad in terms of percentages of their populations. And no cattle trains were necessary, the people were just killed on the spot or thrown from helicopters at altitude.

  6. They know Roberts is worthless, so better to wait for Ginsberg’s replacement than to get really bad rulings now.

  7. Roberts and his political games are bringing CW2 closer just as Taney’s political games opened the door to CW1. He actually though that he had defused the tensions. What he really did was convince abolitionists that that they couldn’t get redress through the system so they ramped up other tactics like nullification and violence (which had already started in Kansas). This, in turn, especially Harper’s Ferry, convinced Southerners that the abolitionists were out to destroy them. Lincoln was actually pretty weak tea as an abolitionist but by that time it didn’t matter. I expect Robert’s positioning on the 2A will encourage state governments which oppose the 2A to try to suppress local governments which support the 2A. You can also expect state governments that support the 2A to try to hem in local governments who don’t. So the divide grows and the first case carries the risk of going kinetic. In addition, Robert’s actions are way down the road to convincing gun owners that they can’t get redress from the courts.

    1. I can’t help but wonder if Roberts is merely just a squish — that he would be the reason we’d lose gun rights if the Courts granted cert *now* (but with 5-4 losses), but with a majority supporting gun rights, he’d join in that (so we’d get 6-3 rulings).

      I’m not entirely sure if the margin of victory will matter in future rulings, but it would be ironic nonetheless. Let’s just hope that if this is what happens, we’ll *always* remember that Roberts is a squish.

      Bah, what am I thinking? These guys are politicians — all of them — and thus we shouldn’t count on them in our hours of need! While it’s helpful and even necessary to have them rule in our favor, we need to continue to push for legislative reform as well.

      1. Someone has dirt on Roberts.
        When his vote actually counts, he seems to always swing left, in violation of all his supposed principles and history.
        And his justifications for those swings puts Stretch Armstrong to shame.
        Someone has blackmail on him.

  8. This morning I heard someone say, “the right sold their souls, and yesterday the check bounced.”

    1. I’d like to know where the Left goes when they sell their souls. It seems that their checks rarely, if ever, bounce, no matter how awful their bargains are.

  9. Since we seem to have had dead air now for a couple days, I’m going to introduce a new topic:

    John Bolton was our pro-gun champion while he was our delegate to the UN. Now he’s in a pissing contest with our other champion. What’s the explanation? Was Bolton really a Deep State lefty all along? If so, how do we know who our champions really are? Who do we believe? Didn’t the NRA love both guys all to pieces?

      1. But that is almost exactly the point. No matter how much we claim to be “single-issue” there are always other competing issues, e.g., whether or not we like “neocons.” The NRA and gun owners loved Bolton all to pieces, as I put it, when he was standing up for us as UN Ambassador, but now he is in a pissing contest with the NRA’s endorsed POTUS.

        How do we separate “people” from our “issue?” Given that lip-service to gun rights is a sine qua non for candidates on the right — lip-service that may or may not be sincere, and will be authentic to varying degrees, and will be weighted differently by different candidates on their laundry-list of issues — how do we practice “single issue” when that is cast in terms of “who to vote for?”
        My Old Story relevant to that is, a PA State legislator at one time was (is?) billed as the “best pro-gun legislator in the state.” Among other issues, he gave guarded lip-service to Constitutional Carry. But an NRA Director finally told me that legislator didn’t know or care Jack Shit about gun issues, was all about SoCo issues, and depended on another RKBA activist to tell him what to do about guns, while giving him the words. Unfortunately, that RKBA activist had confided to me that he supported his cop friends, so didn’t support Constitutional Carry because “it couldn’t work in PA.”

        That “best pro-gun legislator” later introduced cockamamie legislation that would not only preserve carry permits, but turn their administration over to the State Police, and set up an “instant check” system that could be dialed into by police anywhere in the United States. The explanation for that was that it would expand “reciprocity.” I knew that originated from his RKBA activist, who was what I referred to as a “reciprocity maven”. He was a PPC handgun competitor who traveled widely for competition and wanted the convenience of not having to package his handguns different ways for different states, on the strength of his “reciprocal” carry permit from the State Police. Nice for him I guess, but hardly “constitutional” for the rest of us. The legislation went nowhere, thankfully, but the asshole legislator remains highly regarded in the gun rights community.

          1. Yes, but the NRA’s primary mission is to get Republicans into office. I learned that beyond refutation when I saw firsthand how vicious and unprincipled they were in getting gun-grabber Tom Ridge elected governor in PA, and then in providing cover for the comprehensive gun control legislation he demanded; “The Sportsmens Omnibus Anti-Crime Bill”. Really. to this day it makes me effin’ puke.

            And I was in the room in Harrisburg where they had just presented his enforcer and hatchet man, AG Mike Fisher (R) with a “Defender of Justice” award for having supported a battery of anti-state-constitutional bills, in the name of “getting tough on crime”, in preparation for Fisher’s run for governor.

            I wasn’t actually in the room at the time, because I joined roughly 2/3 of gun rights advocates in the state who were boycotting that portion of that “secret meeting” with Tanya Metaksa, et al, because of Fisher’s antics. The only “activists” in the room during the award presentation were softheaded “sportsmen” leaders who had been bought off by appointment to a “sportsmens advisory board”, to get them to support Ridge; but to the best of my knowledge had never actually met with or been consulted by Ridge as governor.

            And that was when the NRA’s claim to be a “gun rights” organization was still marginally plausible.

            1. Back when there were sane Democrats to be found on the gun issue, the NRA would support them. John Dingall was a long-time board member. The NRA even supported Harry Reid until a revolt of the membership. Reid was pretty important in getting National Park carry but after the NRA didn’t endorse him, turned against us. Payback time. JFK was a life member and I doubt even back then that there was an advantage to that in MA so I assume he meant it, unlike Nixon. NRA didn’t do Presidential endorsements yet in 1960 though.

              Don’t follow PA politics the way you do but I assume NRA support of Ridge was because his opponent was even more dreadful. They have long subscribed to the “least worse” approach which I don’t especially agree with but that is probably a minority opinion. IMO, that reached its nadir with their support of Romney. Can’t prove a counter-factual but I believe to this day that Romney would have sold us out and gotten something negative passed as opposed to Obama who was hostile but most ineffective.

              1. “I assume NRA support of Ridge was because his opponent was even more dreadful.”

                The Democrat candidate was Mark Singel, who indeed was no prize. But the question becomes, to what extent do you actively support the “lesser of two evils” when their status as “lesser” is at best arguable? And then to what extent do you provide cover for their anti-gun efforts?

                In Pennsylvania we had just had experience with that in 1993, when the Democrats had put forward a bill that would have banned (forgive me if I remember the numbers wrongly) something like 76 specific “assault weapons” while the Republicans put forward (and passed in the House) a bill that would have banned “only” a couple dozen. That resulted in the only genuine, spontaneous, “grassroots” uprising I have ever witnessed, to such an extent that the House Republicans went back after the December holidays and made an embarrassing vote that “unpassed” their previous vote, on the grounds of professing that they “hadn’t understood what they were doing.”

                Tom Ridge had voted for the Clinton AWB in congress, so as far as the grassroots were concerned, case closed. He could not be actively supported.

                That didn’t mean we were going to just sit on our hands. At a statewide grassroots meeting in Dubois, PA, everyone agreed to support Constitution Party candidate Peg Luksik. We had no illusions she would win, but it was important to withhold our support from all gun grabbers, to show we would do it in the future.

                I was still Libertarian Party at the time, but went along with the gun owners consensus to support Luksik. But, I had known and liked her when we both were on the founding “Advisory Board” of the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in 1989.

                To wrap up the portion of my Old Story, the NRA intervened with the “Fudd” members of our de facto coalition, negotiating with the Ridge campaign to offer their leadership seats on a “Sportsmen’s Advisory Board” should Ridge be elected. I suppose they thought that sounded “prestigious”, because they went back on what they had sworn to in Dubois, and used their “sportsmen’s” resources to support Ridge, with statewide newsletters, etc. This would later be documented by an article titled “Double-Cross in DuBois” by my late friend Bill Duff. Bill had been chairman of the Pennsylvania Conservative Union, back in the Nixon-Agnew era.

                Later, Republican NRA attorneys would be employed to stump the state and visit “sportsmen’s” and gun clubs, to promote Ridge’s anti-gun legislation once he was elected.

                1. I don’t disagree with you about the lesser of evils which is why I refused to vote for Romney but there are probably more that disagree with us than agree with us. The NRA specifically has followed the lesser of evils approach since forever.

                  1. Did they support Toomey for re-election? I can’t remember. He was the one pushing for gun control federally on the GOP side.

                    1. The NRA gave Toomey a “C” rating, and according to Toomey have not donated to him or independently supported his campaigns since 2010. But of course, Toomey’s defection was high-profile and well known across the nation.

                      Some of us in PA had identified that he was a turd in the late 1990s. A friend of mine engineered an “ambush” of him when he first ran for congress. He came to my buddy’s club in the Lehigh Valley to campaign, expecting softballs, but there were some well educated plants in the audience to ask pointed questions. Toomey cut it short and ran away.

                      Nevertheless Toomey started out with an “A” rating from the NRA, but sank to a “C” after shitting in church in public.

                      If you look at Toomey’s resume — “Club for Growth” etc. — you’ll see why I don’t take it for granted that a “good conservative” will be pro-gun.

    1. For the Federalist Society, I guess any excuse is better than the truth — that their elitists don’t trust the common people with guns any more than the DNC’s elitists do.

      …the Federalist Society had reached an “unprecedented peak of power and influence.” Of the nine members of the Supreme Court of the United States, five (Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito) are current or former members of the organization.

      Wise up to the charade.

      1. OR people are people and get corrupted by DC.

        FOUR of the people you listed are staunchly pro-gun. FOUR of them at various times have written dissents to cert denials.

        Sometimes things happen.

        1. “Sometimes things happen.”

          Yes. People believe that charades are real, elitists profit hugely from them, and another campaign season passes with nothing new but the excuses for inaction as the bottom line.

          1. OR people believe in conspiracy theories because it makes it easier that believing people are imperfect.

        1. “So what is the solution?”

          I know the phrase is cliche’d now, but “hold the Republicans accountable.” By which I mean, when they shit on you or just fail to deliver, you don’t have to vote for the Democrats, for spite, but you can visibly and vocally withhold your support for the Republicans. Sit on your hands for an election or two, maybe as ostentatiously as possible, and let them know why. You can do whatever you will in the privacy of the voting booth, but publicly we need to say “what you did was bad/not good enough.”

          That has almost never been tried, and gun owners have a political reputation for crying “hard line!” while in fact settling for pretty thin gruel. It seems to be outmoded now, but I remember when all a Republican needed to say was “enforce existing laws” (even if some of those “existing laws” were unconstitutional) and gun owners would nominate them for sainthood.

          And with that, gun owners need to develop a memory. I’ll try to stop short of telling one of my complete Old Stories, but I remember when gun activists in PA were damning Tom Ridge’s hatchet-man, AG Mike Fisher, to hell, and boycotting the NRA meeting in Harrisburg where Tanya Mataksa was to present Fisher with an NRA “Defender of Justice Award.” But then not much more than five years later the same people were backing him enthusiastically when he ran (unsuccessfully) for governor. The NRA even got Prof. John Lott on board, to campaign for Fisher. Those of us with memories, who sat on our hands, did so generally unnoticed.

          1. “… not much more than five years later the same people were backing him enthusiastically…”

            I just thought I should add to that, that “backing him” included concealing/denying they had ever personally or organizationally said a harsh word about him.

            The excuse of course was that if Democratic candidate Ed Rendell won the election, the End of the World of Guns would arrive in Pennsylvania. Rendell was elected and though the bullshit remained Same-Old-Same-Old, nothing extraordinary happened.

            Rendell won 53.4/44.4, so it would have been nice if we had been able to claim that withheld gun owners’ votes had made that difference, but the opportunity was squandered — for nothing, and on a former gun-grabber!

            Rendell won reelection in 2006 in a landslide victory of 60.33/39.61 (yes, I had to look up the numbers) against Lynn Swann who to the best of my recall had no record to speak of on guns, other than being able to repeat what the NRA told him to say. (He was a former NFL player, for Pittsburgh.)

            Chances are Sebastian can clarify that, as he was on the upswing at the time, energy-wise, while I was well on the road to burnout.

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