NEW YORK GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL FILES APPEAL OF TRO: WHAT WILL THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT DO?
POST-BRUEN—WHAT IT ALL MEANS AND WHAT ITS IMPACT IS BOTH FOR THOSE WHO SUPPORT AND CHERISH THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS AND THOSE WHO DO NOT; THOSE WHO SEEK TO UNDERMINE AND EVENTUALLY DESTROY THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT AND THOSE WHO SEEK TO PRESERVE AND STRENGTHEN THE RIGHT BOTH FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR DESCENDANTS
Just as we anticipated and pointed out in our article posted on both AQ and in Ammoland Shooting Sports news, on October 10, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s Government wasted no time filing her “Emergency Motion Pending Appeal” with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York granted Plaintiffs’ request for a TRO staying execution of Hochul’s CCIA in Antonyuk vs. Hochul.
Hochul’s Attorney General, Letitia James, filed the Motion along with the Governor’s “Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Motion For A Stay Pending Appeal And An Administrative Stay Pending Resolution Of The Motion,” on October 10, 2022.
Apart from the AG’s Press Release of October 6, 2022, coming immediately after the District Court granted a stay of the CCIA, there was a blackout of news coverage on this.
Hochul’s AG, James, must have worked around the clock to get Hochul’s motion filed in hopes of protecting the CCIA in the run-up to the Midterm Elections.
Upon the filing of the Motion to lift the stay, the AG released a succinct Press Release, detailing the aspects of the CCIA under assault, which Hochul intends to enforce:
“The CCIA was passed during an extraordinary session of the Legislature and enacted earlier this summer in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The law strengthens requirements for concealed carry permits, prohibits guns in sensitive places, requires individuals with concealed carry permits to request a property owner’s consent to carry on their premises, enhances safe storage requirements, requires social media review ahead of certain gun purchases, and requires background checks on all ammunition purchases.”
The curious thing about this entire episode is the notable absence of Press Coverage, apart from two terse, self-serving Press releases from the AG’s Office. Is this a news blackout? It is! Doesn’t The New York Times think the District Court’s award of a TRO meets the requirement of the Paper’s motto: “All the News Fit to Print”? It doesn’t.
The legal ramifications of the TRO are bad enough but the political fall-out is even more compelling, concerning, and disconcerting for Hochul, especially with her Governorship on the line.
Congressman Zeldin is breathing down her neck. A staunch supporter of the Second Amendment is in striking distance, closer than anyone thought possible, as the New York Post points out in its October 10, 2022, article, “Polls show Lee Zeldin on track to win — if voters learn the stakes.”
Hochul’s image makers want to make the New York Gubernatorial Race about abortion. But the pressing issue is rampant, escalating violent crime in New York City, extending throughout New York. The Governor is either unable or unwilling to deal with that.
Hochul never talks about “Criminal Violence.” She only talks about “Gun Violence.” Sounds simple, and, for some, logical: no guns, no “gun violence.” But, what about criminal violence? Doesn’t that remain?
Hochul’s policy is one-sided: disarm the public, and her CCIA does that.
But what about criminal violence? How about removing psychopaths and lunatics from the streets? It is these elements that are responsible for the havoc and chaos and harm to or loss of innocent life.
This flotsam and jetsam may use guns, if available, sure; or other items such as knives, blunt objects, and arms and legs and maws. See the FBI statistics report and the breakdown provided by Joslyn Law Firm Report.
And New York’s cashless bail policy doesn’t help, as the Zeldin Media Center aptly points out.
And it doesn’t help that NYC prosecutors routinely drop serious charges against perpetrators of violence. See the article in The New America.
And, of course, it is easy to attack the law-abiding citizen.
Doing so kills two birds with one stone. Disarm the citizenry so it doesn’t pose a threat to the Tyrant, and create the pretense of promoting public safety.
That once was true, but no longer.
Now the Hochul Government is beset with a vexing problem: the award of a TRO against enforcement of Hochul’s CCIA.
The awarding of a TRO is an extraordinary remedy rarely granted. That a U.S. District Court granted it here, means the District Court finds that the principal provisions of the CCIA are unconstitutional and unconscionable.
But Hochul should have seen this coming. She didn’t or simply hoped the District Court wouldn’t award a TRO. After all, the Federal Courts have hitherto deferred to Government actions targeting New York gun owners.
They once did, but no longer, certainly not since NYSRPA vs. Bruen.
And Hochul should have gotten a clue when the District Court pointed to the unconstitutionality and outright rapaciousness of the CCIA in the previous case, Antonyuk vs. Bruen when the Court dismissed the case without prejudice due to a technical legal matter.
The Court’s lengthy opinion in the first case left no doubt that it encouraged the Plaintiff, Antonyuk, to file a new case. The Court spent considerable ink in explaining, one, why the CCIA is unconstitutional and intolerable and two, how Antonyuk can overcome the standing issue.
This is a problem for Hochul. It is one thing when an American citizen and resident of New York argues that the State Government has violated his fundamental, unalienable right to keep and bear arms, consistent with his God-Given natural law right to armed self-defense. That has come to be expected. Hochul doesn’t give a damn about that. It is ho-hum, nothing new. It has happened many times before, going back to 1911 when the State first imposed handgun licensing on New Yorkers, with enactment of the Sullivan Act. And the New York Government has slowly, methodically, inexorably whittled away at the God-Given right of armed self-defense ever since.
But it is quite another thing when a Federal Court agrees with the citizen and, more, not only admonishes the Government but excoriates the Government for creating a law that denies a law-abiding citizen the ability to effectively secure his life, health, well-being, and safety with a firearm.
The Court’s reaction to the CCIA is damning to the Government’s narrative that it had long assumed the public and the courts would take as axiomatic: that denying a law-abiding citizen the right to armed self-defense is constitutional precisely because doing so promotes public safety. Both propositions are false.
Heretofore New York’s Federal Courts have deferred to the Government’s immolation of the Second Amendment guarantee, even acknowledging that armed self-defense is nothing but a privilege, conditioned on the acquisition of a license to engage in that privilege of armed self-defense; and that constraints on the exercise of the privilege are acceptable because a greater good is obtained: public safety.
This in a nutshell is the salient tenet of the American Collectivist ethical system of utilitarian consequentialism.
The Heller, McDonald, and Bruen rulings upended the idea that the fundamental, unalienable right of armed self-defense is reducible to a mere Governmental privilege. And in controverting that idea, the High Court also uprooted the entire normative ethical system of utilitarianism that denies the existence of natural law rights beyond the power of the Government to modify, dismiss, abrogate, or ignore.
But, in failing to strike a State’s handgun licensing statute, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed renegade State Governments to perpetuate the practice of denying the exercise of a natural law right—the most important natural law right—survival of Self, upon which the sanctity and inviolability of one’s being depends. And jurisdictions like New York took advantage of that failure.
Collectivism repudiates the idea of the sanctity and inviolability of the individual. The individual counts for nothing. Only the sanctity of “the hive” is important along with the Queen Bee. In human society, the “Queen Bee” includes the few “Elect Elites” of society.
Of course, people like Governor Hochul don’t describe the ravaging of the natural law right of armed self-defense in such stark terms, but, their actions bear out they care nothing for the well-being of the common man.
But, at least one New York Federal Court in New York has rethought the foundation of Second Circuit law in light of the Bruen rulings, recognizes the flaw, and has done something about it.
Presumptive deference to State Government actions denying the right of armed self-defense in New York is becoming a dead letter, erstwhile blackletter law.
Let’s see if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agrees with the District Court’s granting of the TRO, and keeps the TRO in place, suspending enforcement of the CCIA until the District Court has had an opportunity to resolve Antonyuk vs. Hochul on the merits and has entered final judgment in the case. It should.
NEW YORK GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL’S ARGUMENT TO DISSOLVE THE TRO IN THE ANTONYUK CASE AND ALLOW ENFORCEMENT OF THE CCIA
In the Government’s Memorandum, Letitia James, on behalf of Governor Hochul, cites several cases to buttress the Governor’s argument. But those arguments all boil down to one thing: a presumptive legal prerogative of the State that, through time, has devolved into a vacuous rhetorical political talking point, a mere platitude: “public safety.”
Letitia James writes,
“The serious risk of irreparable harm to public safety and the possibility of regulatory chaos necessitates an immediate appeal. As the data confirm, more guns carried in more places by more people result in more crime, violence, and homicide. In addition, state and local officials have spent significant resources implementing the CCIA and informing New Yorkers about the new law, only to have the Order sow confusion among the public, licensing officials, and law enforcement. The purpose of interim relief is to preserve the status quo, not to create turmoil during the pendency of litigation.”
In other words, James is saying: guns are the root of all evil; the CCIA helps eradicate that root; the public good is best served by CCIA enforcement.
That’s the gist of the argument, which begs the question why would a District Court not see this? That it did not, the Hochul Government presumes that the District Court is wrong, and she expects the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to rectify the matter, in her favor.
So convinced is the Government in its own infallibility, that it doesn’t try to convince the Federal Circuit Court that the District Court’s TRO is legally insupportable. The Government simply assumes the TRO is insupportable and that the Circuit Court should recognize this as plain and self-evident. The AG, on behalf of Governor Hochul, says,
“The serious risk of irreparable harm to public safety and the possibility of regulatory chaos necessitates an immediate appeal. As the data confirm, more guns carried in more places by more people result in more crime, violence, and homicide. In addition, state and local officials have spent significant resources implementing the CCIA and informing New Yorkers about the new law, only to have the Order sow confusion among the public, licensing officials, and law enforcement. The purpose of interim relief is to preserve the status quo, not to create turmoil during the pendency of litigation. Second, the Order should be stayed pending this appeal.”
The conclusion is presupposed in the premise. Letitia James says,
“The [TRO] Order bears the hallmarks of an appealable preliminary injunction, and a stay pending appeal is necessary given the overwhelming balance of equities in favor of appellants and plaintiffs’ failure to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits.”
But, the District Court explained through rigorous argument that it was the Plaintiffs, not the Defendant Government Officials, who had established a likelihood of success on the merits. And that is a critical requirement that must be met before a Court can legally issue a TRO. And the District Court has determined the weight of hardship accrues to the Plaintiffs if the TRO is dissolved. For if the TRO is lifted, then the Plaintiffs would be subject to arrest and slapped with a serious misdemeanor or felony for carrying a handgun for self-defense in an area where, prior to the enactment of the CCIA, it was lawful to carry if one had a valid handgun license, which Plaintiffs presently have.
The Hochul Government doesn’t see this or otherwise simply chooses to ignore it, such contempt it has for gun owners. And The Government claims the TRO, an interlocutory order, is a final appealable order to be treated as an injunction. It isn’t. Further, the Government claims it is likely to win on the merits. It can’t legally make that claim because, once again, the TRO is an interlocutory order. The claim isn’t appealable unless the TRO can be treated as an injunction. The Government here hasn’t proffered a cogent argument to support a finding for the Second Circuit to treat the TRO as an injunction.
The Government’s assertions bespeak arrogance.
The Second Circuit should keep the TRO stay in place and remand the case to the District Court to resolve the substantive issues through discovery and trial. And, in the end, the District Court will either issue a preliminary or permanent injunction or, if the Government can prove with the weight of evidence that the CCIA is constitutional, the Court can order enforcement of it. Once the trial has concluded, and the District Court has entered its order, that order becomes a final judgment entry. At that point, the party against whom judgment is entered can appeal that final judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for final resolution of the case, after which the losing Party can then appeal the judgment of the Second Circuit to the U.S. Supreme Court, which the High Court may or may not agree to review.
Copyright © 2022 Roger J. Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.