Second Amendment, Immigration, Churches, and Obama EPA's Federal Power at Supreme Court
Monday, Feb. 24 at 9:30 a.m., the Supreme Court will release its list of orders on a number of important cases asking for the Court’s review – including some on the Second Amendment – revealing which ones it will take.
Then, at 10:00 a.m., the justices will hear arguments in the biggest EPA case in years, regarding the unprecedented reach and power the Environmental Protection Agency is claiming under President Obama.
On Monday the Supreme Court will hold its first session since Jan. 27. The first order of business will be disposing of hundreds of requests for review – called petitions for a writ of certiorari (“cert petitions”) – that have piled up in the past four weeks. The Court receives around 8,000 petitions each year yet only takes around 80 (or one percent). About three dozen are particularly newsworthy, including several that may be of interest to our readers:
- In City of Hazelton v. Lozano and a second petition, the court would review whether a city ordinance forbidding landowners to rent housing to illegal aliens is preempted by federal law.
- In DiCristina v. U.S., whether hosting a poker game can be considered a federal felony under a broadly written federal law.
- In Shelton v. Gravelet-Blondin, the question is whether police officers are immune from lawsuit for using significant force, including the use of tasers, against citizens engaged in passive resistance.
- In The Falls Church v. The Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S., when several former Episcopal churches left that denomination over its new position on homosexuality and other theological differences, two constitutional issues (from the First Amendment and the Contracts Clause) arose to determine which body has the rights to the local churches’ property and assets, and the role of secular federal courts in deciding the matter.
- Two cases are up for review on whether federal law allows the Obama administration to raise power utility rates beyond what is proportional to cost increases in order to promote renewable energy.
There are three cases involving the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, two of which were brought by the National Rifle Association:
- In NRA v. ATF, as Breitbart News has reported in detail, since federal law allows 18-to-20-year-old adults to own and purchase long guns (rifles and shotguns) and allows them to own handguns, the court would consider whether a federal law allowing them to buy handguns only from private sellers, but making it illegal to buy those same handguns from a federally licensed gun shop (FFL), violates the Second Amendment. The NRA in that case is represented by perhaps the most prominent Supreme Court lawyer of his generation, former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement.
- In NRA v. McCraw, the court is to consider whether the Second Amendment includes the right to carry firearms in public and includes 18-to-20-year-old adults. The NRA in this case is represented by one of America’s most accomplished constitutional lawyers who has dealt with the Second Amendment for many years, Charles Cooper.
- In Lane v. Holder, the court would consider whether consumers have standing to challenge gun laws that regulate firearm sales under the Second Amendment.
In each of these cases, the Supreme Court has the choice to (1) grant the petition, (2) deny the petition, or (3) hold it over for further review. Many petitions will be rescheduled up to a couple times before being granted, though the overwhelming majority of petitions are decided at the first Court conference in which they are discussed, and immediately denied.
After these orders come down, the Supreme Court will hear 90 minutes of arguments in six consolidated cases involving the EPA, under the name Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA.
At issue is the Clean Air Act (CAA). The EPA has previously issued emission standards for automobiles under the CAA. Now the Obama administration has cited that as giving it authority to issue rules that regulate every stationary object in America that emits greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as CO2, which would include house furnaces, patio grills, kitchen stoves, and many other common household items.
Breitbart News’s previous report contains more information on this important case concerning federal power.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal analyst for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.