Yesterday, July 1st was the final conference day for the Supreme Court. On that day they had multiple cases challenging "semi auto" bans from the state of Illinois. We have been waiting 7 weeks worth of conferences and today with an 8-1 decision we discovered their fate.

Hey everybody, how's it going? Welcome back to Copper Jacket TV. So, after seven long weeks, we finally have a decision from the Supreme Court as to what they are going to do with the multiple so-called assault weapons bans that currently sit before it. Now, this came down to an 8-to-1 decision. The only dissenting judge was Judge Alo, so it was almost unanimous. Let's go ahead and talk about what exactly happened and what this means for the future.

Okay, so let's go and talk about what's going on here. Like I said before, Justice Alo was the only one that was in dissent in this 8-to-1 decision. This 8-to-1 decision did something that I completely did not expect. I was expecting a GVR to be granted, vacate the lower court's decision, and remand it back down to them. But that's not what happened at all. As a matter of fact, they decided to deny all of these cases.

Now, I know there's going to be a lot of people that are going to be seriously out there, and I guarantee you, I was one of those until I read Justice Thomas's thoughts and his statement. Now, I'm going to show you guys Justice Thomas's statement here in just a second, and that should ease things up just a bit. But basically, what these eight justices said is that these cases, being interlocutory, meaning that there's more to do at the lower court level, should be left for the lower courts to finish before they ever make it up to the Supreme Court. So, they basically want them to exhaust every avenue that they have prior to accepting it up at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court basically wants a finished case.

Now, there's some good and some bad about that. Obviously, the lower courts, the Seventh Circuit, they can drag things on, and they can move things around and make things take time, just like with Miller out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has been going on for nearly a decade now. They can kind of do something similar. However, Justice Thomas gave them more clear instructions and I think addressed some things from the lower court that will basically overturn at least one of these cases within the lower court. So, let me just read this to you real quick. Now, I want you guys to listen to this very closely because this is very powerful language. This language could help overturn the bans in the Ninth Circuit, in the Seventh Circuit, and if it doesn't get overturned by the lower courts, he's basically saying, bring it back up to us. We will fix things. We will overturn it.

So, it says here, a statement from Justice Thomas decided July 2, 2024: "The petitions for writ of certiorari are denied. Justice Alo would grant the petitions for writ of certiorari. Statement of Justice Thomas: The state of Illinois enacted a law that makes it a felony to possess what Illinois branded 'assault weapons,' a term defined to include AR-15s." Now, this next part is extremely important, and you have to understand what they're acknowledging here, where it says, "The AR-15 is the most popular semi-automatic rifle in America." So again, they're acknowledging that and therefore undeniably in common use today. And that is, uh, that's from Heller. So it obviously, by Supreme Court standards, passes the common use test for lawful purposes.

Now, what's interesting here is that Justice Thomas, after he mentions Heller, he also mentions Kavanaugh in his dissent in Cargill and Sotomayor in her dissent in Cargill, describing "semi-automatic rifles such as AR-15s as commonly available." So that's what she wrote in her dissent, and that is now what is being used. So, I just thought that that was really interesting. It also says here, "Petitioners sought a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the law, arguing that the law violates their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected petitioners' request for preliminary injunction, concluding that the AR-15 is not protected by the Second Amendment, and that's in Bevis v. City of Naperville." According to the Seventh Circuit, the rifle selected by millions of Americans for self-defense and other lawful purposes does not even fall within the scope of arms referred to by the Second Amendment.

This court is rightly wary of taking cases on an interlocutory posture, but I hope we will consider the important issues presented by these petitions after the cases reach final judgment. Now, he continues on to say, "We have never squarely addressed what types of weapons are arms protected by the Second Amendment. To be sure, we explained in D.C. v. Heller that the Second Amendment's protection extends prima facie to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding. And we noted that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, recognizing the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. But this minimal guidance is far from a comprehensive framework for evaluating restrictions on types of weapons, and it leaves open essential questions such as what makes a weapon bearable, dangerous, or unusual, etc. The Seventh Circuit's decision illustrates why this court must provide more guidance on which weapons the Second Amendment covers. By contorting what little guidance our precedents provide, the Seventh Circuit," and you have to see there that they did, Justice Thomas noticed that they contorted their precedent, "the Seventh Circuit concluded that the Second Amendment does not protect militaristic 'militaristic weapons.' It then tautologically defined militaristic weapons as those that may be reserved for military use. The Seventh Circuit's contrived non-militaristic limitation on the arms protected by the Second Amendment seems unmoored from both text and history."

Now, this is an interesting quote as well, where it says, "The AR-15 is a civilian, not military, weapon. No army in the world uses a service rifle that is only semi-automatic. In my view, Illinois's ban is highly suspect because it broadly prohibits common semi-automatic firearms used for lawful purposes." And it continues on even to say, "It is difficult to see how the Seventh Circuit could have concluded that the most widely owned semi-automatic rifles are not arms protected by the Second Amendment. The Seventh Circuit stressed that its merits analysis was merely a preliminary look at the subject. But if the Seventh Circuit ultimately allows Illinois to ban America's most common civilian rifle, we can and should review the decision once the cases reach a final judgment. The court must not permit the Seventh Circuit to relegate the Second Amendment to a second-class right."

Now, on one hand, this sucks. They should have taken the cases, they should have heard them, they should have clarified things for the lower courts, they shouldn't allow people's rights to be trampled on while the appellate courts take their time and waste their time on these things. They should provide some relief, some constitutional relief to the people while everything is figured out. And in doing so, they could have used language like that or language that would have completely overturned every other ban in this country. So, this is really bad. It's bad.

But on the other hand, it's also good in the fact that they're saying, "Hey, look, you got it wrong. These are in common use for lawful purposes. It's the most popular one in America. There's no way that you can get around that. It's not militaristic. No military in the world would ever use something like this. So, you can't use those as well." And so, the Seventh Circuit's going to have to look at that. They're going to have to look at what Justice Thomas said, what some of the others said, and they're going to have to use that when they're coming up with their final decisions in these cases. And that might work out in our favor. But even if it works out in our favor, I still think that the Supreme Court should have taken them. Whether they take them now or later is just putting things off. I understand the whole interlocutory thing. They want the lower courts to finish their work before they step in. But dude, at some point, like, come on. It has been, you know, decades now that we have been trying to get relief here, and, you know, we're not getting any help. So, I think that the Supreme Court should have done something. But I am happy that it's not over.

Now, people are going to say, "What about a GVR? Why didn't they just GVR it, right? They could have granted, vacated, and remanded it down to the Seventh Circuit." Well, in doing that, that would have actually taken more time because that would have wiped everything off the table, and the Seventh Circuit would have had to start all over again. And who knows if the Seventh Circuit would have done what the Ninth Circuit did, which is send things back down to the district court level to start all over, like post-Bruen or something, right? And then the district court would have to figure everything out, and it would have to go through the entire process again up at the Seventh Circuit. By not denying it, right, by simply sending it back down for them to finish up, it keeps its place. It's like a bookmark, right? So, it keeps its spot in line, and it doesn't move anything out of the way. So, everything is as it was, and now it can move forward. So, that's kind of where I think I'm actually glad that the GVR didn't happen and that they denied it. If they were going to deny it, but they denied it now, at least it stays in its same pattern, meaning that it would be back up to the Supreme Court a lot faster in the future, possibly next conference. I know there are people that are worried that it's going to last for years, but I think next year's conference we're going to see these back up here.

So, I want to let you guys know about that. Thank you all very much for watching. I really do appreciate it. It's pretty unfortunate. I was hoping we would get some type of support here, but we didn't. Well, not much at least. We got a little bit. Anyway, thanks again. Have a good one.