Unanimous decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States aren’t terribly common. Especially when you consider that there are some very politically liberal justices on the court and some pretty libertarian (as in Constitutionalist) justices on the court, and those political ideologies rarely see eye-to-eye on any issue.
But, apparently, there is one case that they had a meeting of the minds, and they popped out a unanimous decision about certain gun crimes (yes, really!). Zachary Stieber writes,
Some people convicted of gun crimes can spend less time in prison, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 16.
Sentences for certain gun crimes can run concurrently, the nation’s top court said in a unanimous decision, siding with the convict.
“Congress could certainly have designed the penalty scheme at issue here differently. But Congress did not do any of these things. And we must implement the design Congress chose,” Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Biden appointee, wrote in the ruling […].
The case involves two subsections of 18 U.S.C. 924. Subsection (c) outlines offenses and penalties, and states that “no term of imprisonment imposed on a person under this subsection shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment imposed on the person.” Subsection (j), which was added more recently, outlines other offenses and corresponding penalties. It does not include language about forbidding concurrent sentences.
District courts generally have discretion as to whether prison sentences run concurrently or consecutively. Some laws forbid concurrent sentences in certain cases.
So, you may be asking yourself, “Why should I care about this decision?” It’s a good question with two simple answers.
The first reason is that the Supreme Court is upholding the law which bans concurrent sentences in certain situations. We should care about the courts upholding the law as passed by the legislature instead of judges legislating from the bench. It means that those judges are actually doing their jobs, and that’s what we want because it protects our Second Amendment rights.
The other reason that you should care is that this ruling helps to prevent some nutcase Obama or Biden appointee from sticking us with multiple concurrent sentences just because they don’t like that we have guns legally (not that they seem to mind people illegally having firearms, for some reason). That could protect you and me in the future if we find ourselves in the unfortunate situation where we are involved in the court system because we had to shoot to save a life.
So, while this case is, for most people, a little thing with a limited application (meaning it won’t affect most people), we should be glad for it because it’s a step in the right direction.