The conservative wing of the Supreme Court reportedly declined to take up a case dealing with Second Amendment rights after Chief Justice John Roberts indicated that he would vote with the court’s liberal justices.
In June, the justices rejected petitions from 10 challenges relating to state restrictions on firearms after Roberts signaled he would not vote with them, depriving the court’s conservatives of the fifth vote needed to overturn gun regulations, CNN reported Monday.
In December, the Court heard a challenge to a New York City handgun regulation but ultimately determined that the challenge was made irrelevant when the New York City law involved was altered. The case revolved around whether licensed handgun owners may take a locked and unloaded handgun to locations outside the city, such as second homes or upstate firing ranges. The justices returned the relevant provisions of the challenge back to a lower court.
The four most reliably conservative justices were not confident that they would get a fifth vote from Roberts on the case or similar cases addressing the Second Amendment, according to unidentified sources cited by CNN.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh penned an unsigned opinion that was overseen by Roberts for that case in which six justices agreed that the case should be relegated to the lower court. In a separate statement that Kavanaugh signed, he said that the Supreme Court should address “soon” the issue of varying interpretations of the Second Amendment.
Roberts became a frequent deciding vote on the Supreme Court after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018. Since then, the chief justice has voted frequently with the Court’s four liberal justices and most recently cast the decisive vote last month to block the Trump administration from ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which prevents immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children from being deported.