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Justice Thomas calls out Supreme Court for rejecting review in gun rights case

Thomas said the Court would likely have reviewed a case involving abortion or speech restrictions.

Updated: June 16, 2020 - 7:24pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from his colleagues’ decision to deny review in a case involving the issue of gun rights. Justice Kavanaugh joined in part of the dissent.

The case involved a man who unsuccessfully sought approval from the state of New Jersey to carry A gun for protection while servicing ATM machines.  

"Petitioner asks this Court to grant certiorari to determine whether New Jersey’s near-total prohibition on carrying a firearm in public violates his Second Amendment right to bear arms, made applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment," the dissent explains.

Thomas suggested that if the case pertained to the constitutionality of a law requiring people to demonstrate "justifiable need" in order to engage in free speech or abortion, the Supreme Court would likely have granted the review.

"But today, faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the Court simply looks the other way," Thomas noted.

"This case gives us the opportunity to provide guidance on the proper approach for evaluating Second Amendment claims; acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry in public; and resolve a square Circuit split on the constitutionality of justifiable-need restrictions on that right," Thomas wrote. 

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