From SCOTUSblog, on what this means for the pending petitions before the Supreme Court in Second Amendment cases:
Without a conflict, the Supreme Court may wish to wait for the issue to percolate further in lower courts. The issue also roiled the nomination hearings for Justice-designate Sonia Sotomayor, perhaps raising the sensitivity of the issue to the point that the Court might be reluctant to take it on when the lower courts are not in disagreement on it.
On Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit Court voted to review en banc a three-judge panel decision in April, extending the Second Amendment right to have a gun for personal self-defense so that it would restrict or nullify state, county and city gun control laws. The effect of that order, of course, was to vacate the panel decision. Thus, the disagreement between that panel and the Second and Seventh Circuits no longer exists — at least until the Ninth Circuit, or some other Circuit Court, weighs in on the issue.
Without the so-called "circuit split" on the Second Amendment incorporation issue between the Ninth, Second, and Seventh Circuits, the Supreme Court may be more inclined to defer the pending petitions related to the Chicago gun ban case and the Maloney (nunchaku) case from New York until after the Ninth Circuit has had a chance to rule on the issue.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is merely another delaying tactic by the notoriously Left-leaning Ninth Circuit to postpone a Supreme Court ruling on the incorporation issue. Sigh. As the old civil rights mantra proclaims: Justice delayed, is justice denied.