The principles of limited government, separation of powers, and federalism have become ubiquitous colloquialisms echoed in the halls of legislatures, courts, and research institutions. Despite preconceived notions, these principles are not partisan. Their application may be debated, but their importance is not denied. This Note examines the limits of the Supreme Court of the United States as established in Article III of the United States Constitution. Specifically, it defines the standards of justiciability and examines one element: mootness. The Note looks at a 2013 New York City case regarding Second Amendment rights: The New York State Rifle Pistol Association v. The City of New York, New York. The Supreme Court of the United States had not heard a major gun rights case in almost 10 years (the last being landmark cases District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010)). While the Court granted certiorari in January of 2019, it faced a significant obstacle: the controversy’s resolution. Given the resolved grievances, the Supreme Court of the United States had to consider whether or not it held the requisite jurisdiction to examine the merits of the case.
This Note will begin with a discussion on the purpose and limitations of the Judiciary. This discussion will be followed by a history of the case and the grievances sustained by the petitioners. Thirdly, the Note will define mootness and apply the doctrine to the facts of this case. Importantly, the Note also examines the exceptions to the mootness doctrine: when a case is “capable of repetition, yet evading review” as established in Southern Pacific Terminal Co. v. Interstate Commerce Com.. Finally, the Note acknowledges varying jurisprudential philosophies but emphasizes the Court’s uniform commitment to and understanding of the standards of justiciability, specifically mootness.
Political Philosopher Leo Strauss once wrote, “good writing achieves its end if the reader considers carefully the ‘logographic necessity’ of every part, however small or seemingly insignificant, of the writing.” Considering the United States Constitution to be a piece of “good writing,” the text must be scrutinized, analyzed, understood and applied. The text of the Constitution grants the Judiciary jurisdiction over “controversies” for which, the Note argues, there remains none in The New York State Rifle Pistol Association v. The City of New York, New York.
"On Mootness: The New York State Rifle Pistol Association v. The City of New York, New York,"
Fordham Undergraduate Law Review: Vol. 1
, Article 2.
Available at: https://research.library.fordham.edu/fulr/vol1/iss1/2