Supreme Court

SCOTUS Refuses to Hear Major Gun Rights Case, Clarence Thomas Files Sharp Dissent

Petition denied in Jackson v. San Francisco.


Credit: C-SPAN

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt Second Amendment supporters a major defeat today by refusing to hear an appeal filed by San Francisco gun owners seeking to overturn that city's requirement that all handguns kept at home and not carried on the owner's person be "stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock." Today's action by the Court leaves that gun control ordinance on the books.

If the facts of the San Francisco case sound familiar it is because they correspond so closely to the facts at issue in the Supreme Court's 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller. In that decision, the Court voided not only D.C.'s ban on handguns, it also voided D.C.'s requirement that all firearms kept at home be "unloaded and dissembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device." According to Heller, the Second Amendment protects the right of the people to keep a "lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."

In other words, the San Francisco gun control law would appear to be plainly unconstitutional under Heller. Yet the Court still refused to hear the case. As is customary, the justices gave no explanation for their denial of the appeal.

Two justices, however, did speak out in opposition to the Court's refusal to get involved. Writing in dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, accused his colleagues of undermining Heller and failing to give the Second Amendment its constitutional due. Here's a portion of Thomas' dissent:

Less than a decade ago, we explained that an ordinance requiring firearms in the home to be kept inoperable, without an exception for self-defense, conflicted with the Second Amendment because it "ma[de] it impossible for citizens to use [their firearms] for the core lawful purpose of self- defense." District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570, 630 (2008). Despite the clarity with which we described the Second Amendment's core protection for the right of self-defense, lower courts, including the ones here, have failed to protect it. Because Second Amendment rights are no less protected by our Constitution than other rights enumerated in that document, I would have granted this petition.

The case is Jackson v. San Francisco. Justice Thomas' dissent from denial of certiorari is available here.

NEXT: Ralph Nader Blames Hillary Clinton's Lady Bits for Her "Shocking" Militarism

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  1. “Keep and bear arms” obviously means “keep locked and inoperable.” Everyone knows this.

    1. Who could be against REASONable, common-sense regulations?

      1. “Common sense” to the tyrannical government we now are infected with.
        Time for true patriots to come to the aid of the country or it will be lost forever.

        1. Too late. Apathy killed off most of ’em.

    2. Gillespie says don’t discuss this:…..eason-com/

      1. holy shit

      2. I didn’t realize we commentators were such a threat. Not to mention the article calling us stupid. How rude. I’d put the intelligence of the people of this site up against any others any day.

  2. Hey, Clarence, here’s one to try on for size:
    Because Fourth Amendment rights are no less protected by our Constitution than other rights enumerated in that document, I would have granted this petition.

  3. As I law abiding native resident of the city of SF I will surely comply with their silly little ordinance.

    1. Do so a your own peril!

    2. When the Politicians don’t bother to follow the laws, I see no need to follow them any further than it takes to avoid prosecution.

  4. It’s a clear victory for Team Officer Safety!

    1. +1 flashbang

      1. +9000 BBQ infants

  5. I’m pretty convinced that ever since citizens united, there has been an active blackmail campaign against the supremes

    1. it certainly makes me wonder,because the other conservative Justices have been folding regularly since then. Something is wrong.

      it’s time to feed the hogs.

  6. Could they not have heard it simply because it is settled case law?

    I mean, they’ve already answered this.

    1. They are allowing lower-court decisions by the 9th and 3rd circuits to stand in conflict with the SCOTUS decision in Heller.

      1. So in other words the states that hate guns can do whatever they want despite what the constitution and the supreme courts actions. If they want anarchy they are just creating it. why have a supreme court if they won’t do their jobs.

        1. the only way a government will create anarchy is if it dismantles itself and allows the free market to fill its position.
          its not anarchy its chaos, anarchy means the absence of rulers/ chaos is disorder DO NOT conflate the 2.

          1. Coming to a county near you!

          2. Hell yeah bro, Ancap 4 lyfe!

            It always annoys me when people conflate the two.

        2. the point above is that SCOTUS have already done their job in Heller. The lower courts need to be dealt with as they have diverged from the plainly expressed ruling in Heller. The evecutive in CAlifornia need to heed Hellewr and apply it. But they will not. It is, aftetr all, California

      2. Shouldn’t the lower courts, not following prior SCOTUS rulings be eligible for impeachment and removal from the bench?
        If they have no other job requirement, this is it.

    2. I mean, they’ve already answered this.

      You would think that for purposes of institutional preservation alone, they wouldn’t tolerate subordinate courts blatantly disregarding their opinions.

      They are basically tolerating mutiny by the lower courts. You have to wonder why.

      1. They are basically tolerating mutiny by the lower courts

        Without seeming like a wisenheimer, are there reasons why they would do this?

        1. The obvious answers are Sotomayor and Kagan, who both almost certainly violently disagree with Heller.

          1. Who gives a shit about Sotomayor and Kagan? The five conservative members who voted in Heller are still on the Court. They still have the majority. If all of the conservative members still believe in their reasoning in Heller and McDonald, they should have no worries about being on the winning side in this one. And this case was probably less likely to result in backlash, since it really was just putting the 9th Circuit in its place, not making new jurisprudence.

            1. Given all of that, I have to wonder if it’s because the conservative wing doesn’t believe that it still has a majority or because some of the conservatives are questioning their votes in Heller and McDonald. Still, it only takes 4 to grant cert, so that means that at least two of Roberts, Scalia, and Kennedy voted against cert here. I could see Roberts being a coward on this, but who’s the other?

              1. Given Scalia joined in the dissent, I’d bet Kennedy.

      2. They are basically tolerating mutiny by the lower courts. You have to wonder why.

        Not that I agree with the decision, but there is a degree of electoral autonomy that has to be generated in some of these places before SCOTUS’s decision means jack shit.

        If the people of Chicago, IL San Francisco, CA New York City, NY Anytown, USA continue to elect dipshits who not only can’t read the plain English of the Constitution, but can’t be bothered with SCOTUS’s decisions; what recourse do they have except to let/put Anytown in a situation to reap what they’ve sewn by doubling down on stupid?

        1. What does this even mean? “If you live in a jurisdiction where legislators pass unconstitutional laws, the courts won’t help you until your jurisdiction starts electing other people”?

          And yet again, people, Chicago is in full compliance with SCOTUS decisions, and has much more liberal gun laws than SF, NYC, etc. as a result. Court decisions work.

          1. Look, Nikki, it’s science. People who live in cities are un-American faggotnists, and they deserve to be brutally repressed by their Democrap overlords, who are probably dirty minorities, or something, because they voted for them, and they shouldn’t be living in disgusting, dirty, immigrant-filled, disease-ridden cities anyway.

            1. faggotnists

              I’ve been going through every dictionary in the house… you made this up, didn’t you?

          2. And yet again, people, Chicago is in full compliance with SCOTUS decisions, and has much more liberal gun laws than SF, NYC, etc. as a result. Court decisions work.

            Technically, now SF is in compliance as well. I’m an idiot for even thinking there was a discussion here.

            I mean, the fact that I can carry my gun while passing through a parade in the city of Chicago, but can be arrested if I stop to talk to someone or use the bathroom is completely clear and something I *would* want SCOTUS ruling on (considering as, Ken Schultz pointed out, they’re wrong as often as they’re right).

            If the State posts licensing fees and tacks on training riders so that 90% of the licenses are issued to affluent white people in non-violent neighborhoods, the obvious solution is to get SCOTUS involved to protect both the 2nd and the 14th, right? Since they do nothing but generate freedom and equality 24/7.

            Silly me for doubting whether more government involvement is always the answer.

    3. That’s funny, you expect logical consistency from the Court.

      Ahem, “Well there’s your problem!”

  7. PS I didn’t need another reason to not want to move to SF, but thanks for providing one anyway, SF government.

  8. That and this


    just ruined my Monday

    1. is there a more worthless group of cunts than the Dept of State?

      1. Dept. of education

      2. The writers at Vox?

      3. IRS? DEA? ATF? Florida?

      4. Jizzabel

    2. Do Congresscritters qualify under the exception:

      ” (4) another U.S. government official with authority to allow the ”technical data” or software to be made available to the public”

      If so, Paul or Amash could simply give blanket approval to release of info for say any firearm smaller than 50 mm (or whatever)

      1. “approval to release of info for say any firearm smaller than 50 mm (or whatever)”

        Lets just go with any firearm. No restrictions.

    3. More evidence that no matter how far fetched and over the top something is, if you give the govt the slightest opening they will do it. Not maybe, but certainly.

      So, if I discuss in a forum like this one how many grains of black powder I put in my percussion rifle I have committed a crime under a law meant to protect national security.

      Publishing anything on the internet makes it available to the world and so is the same as ‘export’. Huh. If I say something offensive here that could be prosecuted as hate speech in any other country, have I committed a crime in the US? Going to another country and committing a crime there is illegal under US law, is it not?

      1. that regulation/provision of the “treaty” is intended to keep people from sharing data files on 3-D printing or CNC files for machining their own guns/gun parts. People already share CNC files for making their own AR-15 receivers from a block of aluminum,or CNC files to complete an “80% lower”,the part of an AR-15 that when completely finished,has to be bought from a FFL,with all the gov’t paperwork and background check.

    4. But hey, let’s give the federal government even MORE control over the internet.

      What could possibly go wrong?

    5. So I wonder how they would play it if I, as an American citizen, were posting firearms related information on line from my residence outside the United States? Have I committed a crime by carrying that information outside the US in my head?

  9. You know who else wanted guns controlled?

    1. Little Bill Daggett?

      1. I’m gonna need that .32 bob.

        1. “Duck, I says.”

          1. “A writer? Letters and such?”

    2. Bugs Bunny

  10. They’ll see it again if SF ever charges anyone with this ordinance.

  11. What the actual fuck ? We were warned that Heller was not the great victory we wanted. If every restriction, license scheme, fee and regulation is “reasonable” then Heller is kind of a hollow victory.

    In the immediate aftermath of Heller, DC drafted regulations that would have banned the very gun that Dick Heller wanted a permit for (by defining semiauto handguns as “machine guns”).
    Here the SF reg is clearly and unambiguously unconstitutional under Heller, but…oh well.

  12. One thing that’s crossed my mind as of late is the fixation we have with the Bill of Rights when deciding if a matter is constitutional. Recall that the Bill of Rights was considered redundant by Madison. Every right “granted” by the Bill of Rights was already inherently a right held by the people on the basis the right to restrict was not granted to the government. Guess Madison has been proved wrong given that even when rights are redundantly/specifically stated in the Bill of Rights, they still seem to be an enigma.

    1. Enumerated powers and unlimited rights have given way to unlimited powers and enumerated rights, just as Madison warned. Though I imagine it would be a whole lot worse without the BoR. All governments become totalitarian because that’s the nature of the beast. The Constitution and BoR have slowed the process somewhat, but it’s inevitable.

      1. 200 years is not a slowdown it is a more rapid pace of corruption and oppression than that of the monarchies of old, the English king was not nearly as oppressive as the Fed gov is

        1. The English kings were notorious for blatantly violating the Magna Carta and then getting called to the carpet by nobles who forced the public re-issuing of it. A number of times the nobles employed actual force of arms. Unfortunately, today we have a system more akin to the nobles (Congress) being completely in bed with the king (President).

        2. England was practically in a perpetual state of war, with numerous civil wars, since the Norman Conquest. The corruption and oppression was near constant right from the get-go.

    2. It is amazing how prescient the anonymous Anti-Federalist who used the handle “Brutus” was about how the Feds would eventually go totalitarian.

      [the] legislature of the United States are vested with the great and uncontroulable powers, of laying and collecting taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; of regulating trade, raising and supporting armies, organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, instituting courts, and other general powers. And are by this clause invested with the power of making all laws, proper and necessary, for carrying all these into execution; and they may so exercise this power as entirely to annihilate all the state governments, and reduce this country to one single government. .. it is pretty certain they will; for it will be found that the power retained by individual states, … will be a clog upon the wheels of the government of the United States; the latter therefore will be naturally inclined to remove it out of the way. Besides, it is a truth confirmed by the unerring experience of ages, that every man, and every body of men, invested with power, are ever disposed to increase it, and to acquire a superiority over every thing that stands in their way. This disposition, which is implanted in human nature, will operate in the federal legislature to lessen and ultimately to subvert the state authority, and having such advantages, will most certainly succeed.

      1. Brutus was New York politican Robert Yates.

    3. This was a state law, and the state governments powers stem from the citizens of the state through its state Constitution and, in some cases, are said to have certain inherent powers. This is in contrast to the Federal government, which was explicitly granted its power by the people through the Constitution. It wasn’t until after the passage of the 14th Amendment that the Bill of Rights began to be applied to the states (and then in a haphazard and inconsistent way).

      1. McDonald explicitly incorporated the 2nd Amendment through the 14th Amendment. Applying the conclusions in Heller and McDonald makes this an open and closed case. There is no reason that SCOTUS shouldn’t have shot down the 9th Circuit on this.

        1. Yes, understood. I was responding to Jough’s question as to why the Bill of Rights comes into play at all.

          1. Ah. Sorry. Long threads and all…

            1. No worries

  13. SanFran’s intentions are quite clear. We can’t get away with just banning and confiscating guns, so what we’ll do instead is allow you to own one, but if you ever use it in your own self defense, in your own home, we’re going to lock you up and throw away the key.

    You can’t just be helping yourself, that’s what the state is for. The state is all, the state is GOD.

  14. The Supreme Court is so wrong about so much.

    If this was an opportunity for them to overturn any part or rationale in Heller, then it may have been a good thing they chose not to hear the case.

    1. Wait until Hillary is done with her 8 years and has appointed a couple of far left screeching harpies to the court.

      1. Can’t wait… then nobody will be paying any attention and a far higher percentage of the citizenry will be actively engaged in circumventing the regulatory state!

        1. Your white privilege is showing. U veel submit, comrade!

  15. Well this is what we knew would happen. The 14th amendment was rendered moot by courts finding bullshit exceptions to it, ditto the 4th and the 1st. Why should we be surprised that the 2nd is being mistreated the same way?

    1. Sensible gun control denier!

    2. Why do you hate the children Warty? Why?


        1. My spawn must be broken. She hasn’t woken me up that early since she started eating solids.

          1. Mine can’t stay awake past 6pm and then usually sleeps until 5:30 or 6. If I could just get her to stay awake till 7, maybe. But nope.

  16. Actually, the dissent gave the reason why the cert petition was denied. There is no circuit split –…..x07k2&_v=2

    1. Huh. This is some epic idiocy by SCOTUS if it’s true. Since when have they refused to hear cases on Constitutional rights simply because of the absence of a circuit split? And when the lower courts are ruling in a manner contrary to their precedents? It’s weird.

      1. If you read the SCOTUS court rules, which are online, it clearly states that SCOTUS does not grant cert petitions in order to correct errors of law made by the lower courts. SCOTUS grants cert petitions to resolve circuit splits. That said, the dissent listed several cases where SCOTUS did grant cert when there wasn’t a split but these were exceptions, not the rule.

    2. How can there possibly be a circuit split over San Fran’s ordinance? There’s only one circuit with jurisdiction to rule on it?

      1. I think it’s over the application of the reasoning in Heller andMcDonald to city-level decisions in general? This is a very good point though…

      2. There are other jurisdictions which require firearms to be locked up in the home. Until an appellate court overturns one of them, there will not be a circuit split and therefore SCOTUS will not hear the case.

  17. Should have been summarily reversed. No briefing or oral argument needed where it’s a clear and obvious conflict with SCOTUS precedent.

    1. Agreed. And in that case there wouldn’t have been any time for the pundits to build this into a do-or-die case pitting the crazy conservatives against sanity. At least not before the fact.

  18. Aargh! Now we’ll have to rely on people other than San Francisco residents in our upcoming shootout with the federal government. Eh, I heard they were pansies anyway. Too many gays, you know.

    1. Fuck off.

    2. Thank you for your brilliant and insightful comment! Now I understand that libertarians hate the government and homosexuals but enjoy shooting people! You have changed my life!!!!


      1. It’s not me advocating this line since I’m a lover not a fighter kind of libertarian, but– boy– you should see the rhetoric coming from our friends in the Tea Party when the subject of the ATF, Agenda 21, the EPA, et. Al. Comes up. Our local group here in California has taken up the cause of seceding from the state. For the sake of the citizens in Redding, who IMHO have it rough already, I hope their plan doesn’t work out.

        1. I’m a lover not a fighter kind of libertarian

          Fixed that for you.

          What do you do when the government is so oppressive that it takes all you have and imprisons (read: enslaves) you?

          Oh, I already know your answer, submit. “May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

        2. Re: American Stolid,

          you should see the rhetoric coming from our friends in the Tea Party when the subject of the ATF, Agenda 21, the EPA, et. Al. Comes up.

          What about the Twinkie?

        3. don’t read Unintended Consequences by John Ross,it would really freak you out.
          (it’s a book I consider a must-read for those who support gun rights or the US Constitution.)

          1. I see that it has the Timothy mcveigh seal of approval.

    3. Re: American Stolid,

      Now we’ll have to rely on people other than San Francisco residents in our upcoming shootout with the federal government.

      That’s assuming people in San Francisco actually comply with the ordinance and that the city has anything close to the resources it would need to enforce the ordinance.

      If you assume any of those two things, I have a nice bridge over the Hudson to sell you.

    4. I have this urge to force you to ice me an NRA cake. I could do it, too. Cuz liberal feelz.

  19. They’re evening up calls. Besides, they know that in reality, people would just keep the safe on the premises, and if a case ever came up, they’d say they’d just gotten the gun out to deal w the emergency.

  20. Not surprising decision as the SCOTUS is controlled by the same bunch of Ar*** that placed a sleeper Muslim in the Black House and pulls Democrat party strings. This won’t stop until the US is destroyed and their Sharia Law is Law of the Land in America.

    1. I’m confused but intrigued. Please go on with your paranoid racist imaginings.

      1. Give me a minute to towel his froth off my shirt.

  21. our second amendment rights is the specific right that all other principles of freedom are dependent upon – in the face of tyranny, in the face of a run away government and in the face of any enemy that would attempt to invade our most personal rights and possessions….our homes, our property, our families and ourselves.
    the defense of our liberties and our sovereignty is what this nation is about…its what america and every red blloded american or anyother race for that fact; in this country is about….the ability to defend ones self and families is an absolute…its not something that goes on and off with every politicians whim- and this country chooses to fight back, with every thing we have against any traitor to the principles of freedom through whatever arbitrary commands this despicable class of parasitical lepers prefers to impose this week.

    these politicians that call themselves leaders are not good and decent people – they’re barely above average, but money buys alot of experts for the sake of appearances…and we dont need to read the legislation to see its repeated failures with millions unemployed and a 25 trillion dollar deficit…really ends this conversation and it is exactly for this reason, as americans we respect the office and its obligations, NOT THE PERSON.

  22. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,


  23. this ruling also upheld SF’s prohibition on hollow point ammo, which is used by their police.
    JHP is the best self-defense ammo,because it’s made to stay in the body,and not overpenetrate and harm bystanders.

  24. What, I wonder, form of “controlled substance” might the majority of the court have consumed that led to the mental constipation they so grievously suffer from. Lower courts referenced do not escape unscathed either.

  25. This is why I’ve committed to anarcho-capitalism. There’s no realistic scenario in which a government is going to consistently and reliably uphold the rights of people to defend themselves against it or possess arms for self-defense which could possibly be turned against it. There are, however, plenty of people who will happily turn the state’s guns against their neighbors in order to settle personal scores, eliminate people or practices they find distasteful, etc. If it’s come to the point where we’re counting on 12 old government lawyers to safeguard liberty, well, I’ve got to say that we might need a plan b.

    Tucille wrote an article a while back about why he teaches his kids to break the law in small ways. Not a bad idea, and I’ll go one better and say it’s a damn good practice to break the law in every way you can provided you’re not harming anyone. Especially when it comes to firearms. Every gun you own should be a “ghost gun”. The way you win against tyranny isn’t by voting the tyrant out of office or by rising up in bloody revolt; it’s by making the day-to-day operation of the state untenable.

  26. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

    Lysander Spooner

  27. Aren’t the cops doing a fine job defending real Americans from the thugs anyway? This country does not lack for people getting shot.

  28. It’s already too late to save the Founders Republic.
    The Pols all belong to the Kleptocrat Party; pillaging the working populace and enhancing their control of the Nation.
    The courts are corrupted by Fascists and the Feral apparatus.
    The executive is in the control of an amoral, unethical, rabid racist anti-American who wipes his arse with the Constitution.
    The Founders warned of just such an event; that the Constitution was designed for a moral and ethical people. The Feral Government is composed of neither.
    Time grows short. Prepare to defend yourselves.
    May God bless us all.

  29. Inexcusable, and cowardly!

  30. Fuck them. I have a natural right to defend my family, my self, and property by any means I choose.

  31. Good for Justice Thomas, bad for San Francisco. A gun free zone is not a safe haven. If times get tough for the left coast the criminals will definitely have the upper hand. . . They already do !!!

  32. The world is getting crazy. I’m going to John’s bunker when all the shit hits the fan.

  33. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  34. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…

  35. DO ignore libtards’ laws.

  36. The one question I have is how exactly does the City of San Francisco enforce this law? How do they make sure that every gun in the city is locked and inoperable?

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