In Knick v. Township of Scott, the Supreme Court overruled Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, which had created a de-facto state-litigation requirement for plaintiffs bringing federal takings claims. Specifically, the Court in Knick held that a property owner may proceed directly to federal court as soon as his property is taken without compensation, even if there are state remedies to provide compensation after the taking occurs.
During its recent term, the Supreme Court decided Tennessee Wine & Spirit Retailers Ass’n v. Thomas, a case pitting the Commerce Clause, or rather the Dormant Commerce Clause Doctrine (“DCCD”), against Section 2 of the Twenty-first Amendment. In a 7-2 decision, the Court held that the DCCD’s prohibition of state-level protectionist legislation trumped the Twenty-first Amendment’s grant of seemingly plenary authority over alcohol sales. The Court’s opinion indicates, much to the chagrin of law students and bar examinees, that the DCCD remains an enduring part of the United States Constitution’s structure.
On January 22, 2019, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to hear its first Second Amendment case in nearly a decade. Prior to this decision to grant cert, the Supreme Court last heard cases relating to an individual’s right to own a firearm in 2010 and 2008, choosing to leave many firearm issues to the states. In the 2008 decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court held the District of Columbia’s prohibition on the possession of handguns in the home violated the Second Amendment because the Amendment guarantees the right to possess and carry firearms for the purpose of self-defense. In the 2010 decision, McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Court incorporated the Second Amendment right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, making the Second Amendment applicable to the states.
The case set for the Court’s review, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, concerns Title 38, Chapter Five, Section 23 of the Rules of the City of New York. This New York statutory provision prohibits handgun owners from removing their weapon from the address specified on their license except for a purpose allowed under the statute, such as transporting the gun to an approved shooting range.