As gunshots rip communities apart, one can hardly describe the Supreme Court as “pro-life.” Despite the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, on June 23, 2022 the nation’s highest court struck down a piece of gun control legislation in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. versus Bruen that requires a substantial reason to obtain a concealed carry permit in New York State. This principle does not seem unreasonable when one must pass an exam to get a driver’s permit or wait until age twenty-one to have a glass of wine with dinner. An enhanced background check for young adults before purchasing a gun is more than generous compared with other restrictions in the nation. The United States of America has higher rates of gun violence than similar foreign counterparts. Yet, the Supreme Court did not see the New York law as promoting the pro-life cause.
The Supreme Court not only found this restriction unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The majority opinion used the case to affirm the right to carry a gun outside of the home for self-defense purposes at all times, with incredibly vague exceptions. While the principle certainly had practical value in the early days of America, the Founding Fathers had no knowledge of assault-style weapons when crafting the Second Amendment. The Constitution must remain a living document rather than a stagnant doctrine. Contextualization is imperative when attempting to apply writings from the past to create modern policies. Stifling progress that improves the quality of life within the United States is not pro-life.
The dangerous implications within the majority opinion will lead to many individuals carrying guns outside of the home for self-defense, which is loosely defined at best. Violence will only become more frequent with this extraneous component of the majority opinion.
If one believes the Supreme Court justices sincerely care about one’s life, the court would have chosen the right to live without fear over the right to carry a gun. If life begins in the womb, as certain justices believe, then the Supreme Court needs to preserve the right to attend school without threats of school shootings looming over students and families. The justices cannot have one without the other.
While several of the justices would attribute the decision to their religiously motivated moral obligation, politics and personal faith should remain separate within a nation that supports freedom of religion. One individual’s religious views cannot serve as justification for legal decisions that impact an entire nation. Since each American identifies with his or her own religious doctrines, the justices must recognize that the fallout of these decisions imposes their religion upon others. Failing to consider this will only intensify hatred and division between people.
The Supreme Court is leading the United States of America down a dangerous path fraught with inequality. History shows humanity has been at this crossroads numerous times. American democracy is still healing after the pandemic and previous election cycles deepened divides between political parties. The judicial branch of government is supposed to rise above partisan politics found in the other branches of government. The Supreme Court is intended to be a voice of clarity during tumultuous times. Instead, the nation’s highest court crafts opinions to suit partisan political agendas rather than examining the true purpose of the Constitution after nearly three hundred years.
The public must bear in mind that complacent elected officials handed justices their robes. If individuals truly want to see progress and compromise, then filling out a ballot is imperative.