Ross: Applying the Texas approach to gun control
After Texas passed that crowdsourced anti-abortion law, and the Supreme Court declined to interfere, there were predictions that blue states would use the same ruse to outflank other constitutional protections – like the Second Amendment.
For example: Since Texas allows any citizen to sue anybody who helps procure an abortion and guarantees a $10,000 reward if they win, why couldn’t other states, in an effort to protect innocent life, allow citizens to file suit against gun sellers – and up the ante to a MILLION dollars if you catch a store selling a semi-automatic weapon?
I figured no way THAT will even happen.
And then, as I was listening to last week’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the Texas abortion law, what should come up but GUN SALES!
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wanted to know if a state applied the Texas approach to overturn the Second Amendment, could it be challenged? And he gave an example to Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone — suppose a state used this technique to ban assault-style rifles?
“Everyone who sells an AR-15 is liable for a million dollars to any citizen,” Kavanaugh proposed. “Would that kind of law be exempt from pre-enforcement review in federal court?”
Stone replied: “My answers on whether or not federal court review is available does not turn on the nature of the right, so we can put in religious liberties –”
“So we can assume that this will be across the board equally applicable to all constitutional rights?” Kavanaugh asked.
“Yes, but I’d add one more point, your Honor,” Stone said.
“You’ve also said that the amount of the penalty doesn’t matter — a million dollars per sale,” Kavanaugh continued. “Anyone, a state passed the law, anyone who declines to provide a good or service for use in a same-sex marriage, a million dollars. A suit by anyone in the state, that’s exempt from pre-enforcement review?”
Stone replied yes.
And notice – Justice Kavanaugh also expanded the example to include a state that might want to subject bakeries to Texas-style unlimited individual lawsuits for refusing to cater gay weddings.
How many blue states who never thought they’d be saying it are right now saying, “Thank you, Texas!”
The court, as usual, will take months to decide the Texas case, but while we wait, it’s pretty clear, since the Supreme Court has declined to take any immediate action, that the idea of crowdsourced gun control just got the green light from a conservative justice appointed by former President Donald Trump.
And to think liberals tried to keep him off the court! Lesson learned.
Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.
- Tune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.