Justice Clarence Thomas has famously not asked a question during any Supreme Court arguments in a decade.
That changed today during questioning over a gun rights case.
From The Hill:
The case before the court on Monday, Stephen Voisine v. United States, centers on the convictions of two men who had been charged with domestic violence. The court is being asked to decide whether a prior conviction of “reckless” domestic violence qualifies as a federal misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, which would bar the men from possessing firearms.
Thomas, one of the court’s four remaining conservative members, asked Eisenstein how long the suspension of the right to own a firearm is under a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
“Your Honor, the right is suspended indefinitely,” she said.
“OK,” Thomas responded. “So can you think of a First Amendment suspension or a suspension of a First Amendment right that is permanent?”
After Eisenstein clarified that the ban in not necessarily permanent, Thomas questioned why a person would be barred from owning a firearm if a firearm had not been used in the domestic violence case.
“It is a suspension that is actually indirectly related or actually unrelated,” he said. “It’s just a family member’s involved in a misdemeanor violation; therefore, a constitutional right is suspended.”
Giving a hypothetical, he asked whether a publisher could be banned from ever publishing again if found to have recklessly used a child in an advertisement.
Eisenstein said she didn’t think the right to ever publish again could be take away, but it could be limited.
“So how is that different from suspending your Second Amendment right?” Thomas asked.
With the absence of the very active Antonin Scalia, maybe Thomas is stepping in?
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