The most likely explanation is that neither of the Court’s ideological factions was confident enough of Roberts’s support to risk granting certiorari.
On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to review all ten of the Second Amendment cases it had pending on its docket. Though the cases presented different fact patterns and procedural postures, the Court simply refused to weigh in on any of them. There seems to be one likely reason: Chief Justice Roberts does not want the Court to take a stance on the Second Amendment. We know because it only takes four justices to agree to hear a case but five to reach a decision once a case is heard — and there are four justices on record as being in favor of the Court’s reviewing Second Amendment issues.
Justice Thomas has been dissenting from the Court’s refusal to review those issues for years, and he did so again on Monday, writing to protest the Court’s decision to pass on Rogers v. Grewal, a case addressing New Jersey’s unconstitutional handgun-carry-permit laws:
This case gives us the opportunity to provide guidance on the proper approach for evaluating Second Amendment claims; acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry in public; and resolve a square Circuit split on the constitutionality of justifiable need restrictions on that right. I would grant the petition for a writ of certiorari.