Opinion: The Supreme Court looks to the past to create a right-wing future

This coming week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could upend America’s gun laws, in essence forcing every state, no matter the preferences of its inhabitants and political leaders, to treat guns the way conservative states do. Informed legal analysts will tell you that there’s still some uncertainty in how the court will rule. This is a complicated legal and policy question, and the decision could fall anywhere from maintaining the status quo to creating a national gun free-for-all — and will probably land somewhere in between. But we’re about to get a lesson in just how different a 6-to-3 conservative majority is from a 5-to-4 conservative majority. That may be the best way to understand not only this case but also the most consequential decisions the court will be issuing in the coming years. They’ll be revisiting a series of precedents that were limited in scope by the requirement to maintain those fragile 5-to-4 majorities. The conservatives won some of those cases, and the liberals won others. But now the question for the court’s conservatives will be: How far do we want to go? And with a majority that has a vote to spare and is far to the right of where it was just a few years ago, they’ll likely be willing to go very far. The case the court will hear next week concerns a New York state gun law that allows local officials to restrict people’s ability to carry guns wherever […]

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