There are a couple of cases that the U.S. Supreme Court has either heard or will be hearing that have implications for New York state.

The case of the New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett will be heard next fall.

According to Rob Rosborough, partner at Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, the case is the natural follow-up to the Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark decision “Heller v. District of Columbia.”

“Ten years ago, the Supreme Court, and in particular Justice Scalia, said ‘you have a right under the Second Amendment to self-defense in your own home.’ But it didn’t go any farther than that because that’s only thing that District of Columbia’s laws were regulating,” explained Rosborough. 

The Supreme Court struck down D.C.’s law. New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett takes the Heller case a step further, asking whether “the state of New York’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-care licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.” 

New York’s law was upheld by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012, but because of the composition of the Supreme Court at the time, it wasn’t argued at that level.

“Now that there’s a strong conservative majority, they are taking up the review to answer the question that was left open in Heller,” Rosborough said. 

The second case, which has already been argued in front of the highest court, is Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.

“It’s the intersection of student speech and social media, and what you can do on campus versus off campus,” Rosborough explained. 

Brandi Levy (the B.L. in the case) posted a profane Snapchat diatribe after she learned she didn’t make the varsity cheerleading squad. A screenshot of her post was sent to school officials who, in turn, suspected Levy from cheerleading.

The question the court is facing is whether speech outside of school is protected. Precedent in this case was set back in 1969 in the case of Tinker v. Des Moines, when the Supreme Court's majority ruled that neither students nor teachers “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” 

The question that the current court is faced with is whether speech outside of school that may be disruptive to the pedagogical environment is constitutionally protected.