The conservative majority in The Supreme Court, and the incredible number of judges that President Donald Trump has nominated to the appellate courts, are paying major dividends for Constitutionalists.
In the most recent example, the Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal brought by a Pennsylvania County that would have allowed the continued harassment of law-abiding gun owners.
The Court on Monday said no to a request by the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office to take a look at a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that dismissed the case brought by its office against a man in Allentown.
The man was stopped when an officer noticed the man putting a gun in his waistband. When he was pulled over, on that basis, he got hit with a drunk driving charge after the police officer learned that the man had a license for the firearm.
The incident occurred when Michael J. Hicks was pulled over by police in June of 2014 and subsequently did not get charged with any weapons offenses.
When the Pennsylvania Justices dismissed the case they also did away with an old legal doctrine that dictated that if an officer has knowledge of a concealed weapon that, by itself, was sufficient reason to allow a traffic stop and to detain a person until they prove they have a license for concealed carry.
The Justices ruled that it was not proper to stop a person simply because you believe they have a concealed firearm, considering the fact that concealed carry is legal in Pennsylvania, McCall reported.
It said that the doctrine that allowed Pennsylvania police to detain people for believing they had a firearm “subverts the fundamental protections of the Fourth Amendment.”
The court said that hundreds of thousands of the state’s citizens are given licenses to carry every year.
“When many people are licensed to do something, and violate no law by doing that thing, common sense dictates that the police officer cannot assume that any given person doing it is breaking the law,” Justice David Wecht said in the Court’s opinion.
Lehigh County Assistant public defender Kate Smith, who represented the plaintiff in the case, said “This is a big win for the Constitution.”
And for Hicks the decision, which will send the case back to Lehigh County where it will subsequently be dismissed, means that his driver’s license will not be suspended.
Heather Gallagher, who is in charge of appeals in the Lehigh County district attorney’s office, said that police had a reasonable suspicion to stop Hicks under the “totality of the circumstances.”
“It’s concerning if a person has a concealed firearm or is showing that firearm in a manner that’s irresponsible, “she said.
And she is not impressed with The Supreme Court’s decision, saying that it is not as sweeping as gun rights activists think it is.
“All this case does is … uphold the longstanding principle that we need a totality of the circumstances that rises to reasonable suspicion. It’s not just one factor alone,” the prosecutor said.