A new California gun law should force the Supreme Court to confront the enormity of its worst decision in decades.
VOX, By Ian Millhiser Jul 25, 2022
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a law on Friday modeled after Texas’s anti-abortion law SB 8 — the Texas law which uses private lawsuits to target abortion providers. But there’s one important difference between the two state laws: California’s new law sends these litigious bounty hunters against gun dealers who sell certain guns, including assault weapons and weapons with no serial number.
It’s a high-stakes gambit that will test whether the Supreme Court actually meant what it said in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson (2021), which held that because of SB 8’s unique style of enforcement, it was immune from meaningful judicial review — and thus would take effect despite very strong arguments that the law was unconstitutional at the time.
Shortly after Jackson was decided last December, Newsom announced that he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s conclusion that states can dodge judicial review of unconstitutional laws. But Newsom also said that, if the Court’s Republican-appointed majority would give this power to states, then he would use it to limit access to firearms.
If states can shield their laws from review by federal courts, then CA will use that authority to help protect lives.
We will work to create the ability for private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in CA. pic.twitter.com/YPBJ00vN6z
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) December 12, 2021
Indeed, California’s new gun law, known as SB 1327, is explicit that the new law’s fate is tied to SB 8’s. SB 1327 provides that its SB 8-like provisions “shall become inoperative” if SB 8 is struck down “in its entirety by a final decision of the United States Supreme Court or Texas Supreme Court.”
The state of California, in other words, appears to be trolling the Supreme Court. SB 1327 should force the justices to either overrule Jackson and admit that they were wrong to let states evade the Constitution, or give California’s new gun ban the same immunity from judicial scrutiny that five justices gave SB 8.
That is, of course, assuming that this increasingly political Supreme Court cares about consistency. Continue reading Gavin Newsom’s plan to save the US Constitution by trolling the Supreme Court