Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson Challenges GOP Court
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson questioned the dangerousness of an appeals court decision that grants domestic abusers with more gun rights.
The argument occurred on Nov. 7 in the United States v. Rahimi, marking the court’s first Second Amendment case since its 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
In Bruen, the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling led an appeals court to strike down a federal law that banned people under domestic violence restraining orders from obtaining guns. The majority agreed that courts should uphold gun restrictions only when there is a tradition of such regulation in U.S. history.
In the Rahimi case, the court discussed ways to apply this historical test. Jackson, who was nominated by Biden last year, raised a hypothetical if the court “determined based on the historical record that domestic violence was not considered dangerous back in the day? I mean, I — I just don’t know what we’d do with that scenario.”
The Biden administration argued that the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit “endangers victims of domestic violence, their families, police officers, and the public,” according to the SCOTUS Blog. As for the law, the administration noted that “past generations could not have disarmed persons subject to protective orders because such orders did not exist.”
Furthermore, Jackson pointed out whether the justices can really be “analyzing this consistent with the Bruen test at the level of dangerousness.” She suggested considering how domestic violence was treated historically. “If we have evidence of that, men who engaged in domestic violence historically were… not perceived as then dangerous from the standpoint of disarmament. What would we do with that in this situation?”
Gun violence is a major issue that has disproportionately devastated communities of color. Some advocates call it a racial justice issue. In fact, Black women are three times more likely to be fatally shot by an intimate partner, compared to white women. The current Second Amendment precedent could have profound implications for how police and courts deal with domestic violence.
Earlier this year, President Biden signed an executive order with a mission to boost the number of background checks that are supposed to take place before the purchase of a gun, BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported.