By Dean Weingarten | GunWatch
Rodgers v. Grewal is a New Jersey Second Amendment case that has pushed through the court system of appeals. The petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to hear the case. The legal term is to ask the Court to grant a writ of Certiorari.
The case is the next in a stream of Second Amendment cases over the last eight years. This case, like others, deals with the Second Amendment right to carry a weapon, specifically a handgun, outside of the home.
The Supreme Court has refused to hear a case on the issue for eight years. That changed on January 22, 2019, when the Court agreed to hear a case from New York Rifle & Pistol Association. In that case, the City of New York forbids pistol owners from taking a pistol outside of their home except to one of nine ranges available in New York City. That case was granted a writ of certiorari or “cert” as it is called in legal jargon.
The New Jersey case is broader, and deals with issues already raised in several appeals courts. The primary issue is whether there is *any* right to bear arms outside of the home. The Third Circuit Court of appeals had decided, in a previous case, the right to bear arms did not apply outside of the home. The only avenue left was an appeal to the Supreme Court.
The First, Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits have all held, in slightly varying degrees, that there is no Second Amendment right to bear arms outside of the home. These Circuits contain states on the East coast that remain “may issue”, which is to say, allow a governmental authority to deny the right to carry outside the home on the basis of need, which does not include a general need for self-defense.
The D.C. circuit and, currently, the Ninth Circuit, have held there is a right to bear arms outside the home, and the government cannot deny a permit to carry on the basis of need.
This makes for a split in the circuit courts. The petitioners in Rogers v. Grewal argue it is a split that needs to be fixed by the Supreme Court. From the petition:
This Court’s review is necessary in this case for three independent reasons: to resolve the direct conflict in the circuits over the constitutionality of laws like New Jersey’s, to correct the decision of the court below essentially ignoring the clear holdings of Heller and McDonald, and to end the lower courts’ open and massive resistance to those decisions.
The Supreme Court had scheduled a hearing on the case for 19 February, 2019.
Congress granted the Supreme Court the power to decide what cases it would hear when it set up the appeals court system in 1891. About 8,000 cases ask for a writ of certiorari in a given year. The Supreme Court accepts about 80, or one percent of those cases.
In some cases, the court desires more information about the case before it makes the decision about accepting it or deciding not to hear it. The Court asked for more information about Rogers v. Grewal. From the supremecourt.gov:
Feb 19, 2019, Response Requested. (Due March 21, 2019)
It will be at least a month before we know if the Supreme Court decides to hear Rogers v. Grewal. The Supreme Court is interested enough to ask for more information. That does not mean they will hear the case; it means they did not refuse to hear the case with the knowledge available to them at present.
The case has several aspects that make it a good candidate. But Second Amendment supporters have been disappointed several times in the last eight years.