Quote of the day—amicus curiae brief

New York’s licensing requirements criminalize the exercise of the fundamental Second Amendment right, with rare exception. As a result, each year, we represent hundreds of indigent people whom New York criminally charges for exercising their right to keep and bear arms. For our clients, New York’s licensing regime renders the Second Amendment a legal fiction. Worse, virtually all our clients whom New York prosecutes for exercising their Second Amendment right are Black or Hispanic. And that is no accident. New York enacted its firearm licensing requirements to criminalize gun ownership by racial and ethnic minorities. That remains the effect of its enforcement by police and prosecutors today.

July 2021
[Via Damon Root.

It is somewhat disturbing that pointing out that the demographics of the illegal prosecutions are believed to make a difference in whether the law is declared unconstitutional or not. It would seem to me the constitutionality of a law should not be decided on skin color or ethnicity.

That said, if it gets another SCOTUS justice vote (Root opines, “It’s possible that such arguments will resonate with Justice Sonia Sotomayor”) I give my thanks to the public defenders for their contribution.—Joe]


8 thoughts on “Quote of the day—amicus curiae brief

  1. Yep, that’s the role of a lawyer: throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks. Then use whatever doesn’t stick as potential cause for an appeal.

    A courtroom is a bunch of combatants loudly extolling the Marquis de Queensberry and his exquisite rules as they leap off the top turnbuckle swinging a metal folding chair.

    • That’s certainly a lovely collections of mixed metaphors. 🙂

      This item reminds me of Clayton Cramer’s essay “The racist roots of gun control”. It should be better known that the original “gun control” laws quite explicitly targeted free blacks in southern states, to make sure they were defenseless against the terrorist depredations of the KKK.

    • “And here comes Judge Thomas and he drops the elbow on Ginsberg!”

  2. Rhetoric is about influencing people at an emotional level, which you have to do because most people are not very rational. It’s like telling someone all the stupid with the Covid mask mandates from a science point and it rolls off their back Tell them it is discriminatory because blacks have been jabbed with the not-vax at about 1/3 the rate of white folks, so if you require the unvaccinated to mask up but not everyone else it’ll hit minorities the hardest and suddenly they think you have an argument.

    • Yep. 99.9% of the time, rational arguments make people’s eyes glaze over. Unless you’re dealing with an engineer, then you might get somewhere.

  3. Since New Yorks Sullivan law was explicitly intended to disarm blacks, hispanics, and immigrants… it was openly discussed as such at the time of its passage, and many times since… it is appropriate to mention this disparate impact and the motivation behind it.

    • For that matter, the same is true for the “black codes” adopted right after the civil war. You can see this clearly if you read the debates on the proposed 14th Amendment. One of the repeated arguments for why the amendment was urgently needed is that black citizens were being disarmed under color of law; the intent of the 14th Amendment was to wipe out those laws.

      Not that it should have been necessary — the words of the 2nd Amendment clearly do apply to the states as well as the Federal government, in spite of what is usually claimed. (That isn’t the case for the 1st, which is worded quite differently.) And this has occasionally been recognized; Stephen Halbrook cites a decision by the Texas Supreme Court, from around 1850 I think, in which a state gun law was struct down because it violated the 2nd Amendment.

  4. The truly scary future such legal arguments WILL lead to is that while it’s racist to impose such restrictions on blacks and hispanics doing so on all the evil white people is not only perfectly constitutional but must be made MANDATORY. Watch for it…..because THAT is the ultimate outcome of such legal wranglings.

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