Justice Clarence Thomas issues a scathing dissent after Supreme Court declines 2nd Amendment case

Justice Clarence Thomas issues a scathing dissent after Supreme Court declines 2nd Amendment case
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was the only dissenter in the court's decision not to hear a Second Amendment challenge to California's 10-day waiting period for new gun purchases. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Tuesday to hear a Second Amendment challenge to California’s law requiring a 10-day waiting period for new gun purchases. The high court’s refusal let stand a federal appeals court decision that called the waiting period a “reasonable safety precaution” without requiring the state to produce evidence and without hearing contrary arguments.

What is the background?

The case began with a lawsuit by California gun owner Jeff Silvester and the CalGuns Foundation, who said the waiting period is too long for gun owners who are purchasing a second or subsequent weapon and for citizens who already have a California concealed carry permit.

The 9th Circuit Court upheld the law based on California’s stance that the waiting period could deter purchasers from getting another gun “better suited for a heinous use.”

What did Clarence Thomas write in the dissent?

Only one justice, Clarence Thomas, wrote a dissent of the high court’s refusal to hear the case.

In his dissent, Thomas slammed the cavalier treatment of the Second Amendment and accused the court of taking an unfavorable stance toward an explicit constitutional right.

Here is some of his dissent:

Because the right to keep and bear arms is enumerated in the Constitution, courts cannot subject laws that burden it to mere rational-basis review. But the decision below did just that. Purporting to apply intermediate scrutiny, the Court of Appeals upheld California’s 10-day waiting period for firearms based solely on its own “common sense.”

If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt that this Court would intervene. But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court.

Thomas also made it clear he did not “believe we should be in the business of choosing which constitutional rights are ‘really worth insisting upon.’”