SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 10/12/20

  • Date:
  • October 12, 2020

Because today’s a Supreme Court holiday, we won’t get the order list from last Friday’s conference until tomorrow at 9:30. When that list comes out we’ll be watching the Rodriguez case, which was relisted from last week’s conference. The rhetoric in the petition papers is heated (the petitioners call the decision below an example of the Ninth Circuit’s “distort[ion of] the law to avoid protection of Second Amendment rights” and refer to its “lawless disposition of cases involving the Second Amendment”), but the facts are straightforward: law enforcement seized firearms from the home of a man they took into custody for mental health reasons; the man became unable to lawfully possess those weapons, but some of the guns belonged to his wife and the state did not return them to her. The petitioner claims the initial seizure violated the Fourth Amendment and the later retention and refusal to return the guns violated the Second Amendment. While the facts are straightforward, the procedural history is not—the Ninth Circuit didn’t address the Second Amendment question because it ruled that claim was barred by issue preclusion based on prior state court rulings in the gun forfeiture action. That complication may be one reason the Court might hesitate before taking the case.

There’s also one new petition addressing the effect of a Rehaif error—where the district court failed to inform a defendant charged with violating 922(g) that the government is required to prove the defendant knew the status that made him ineligible to possess a firearm.

Case Ct. Below Pet. Filed Implicated Law/Issue Status
Rodriguez v. San Jose


9th Cir. 21-Feb-20 Warrantless search and seizure of firearms under Second & Fourth Amendments distributed 9-Oct-20 conf.
Johnson v. United States


4th. Cir. 12-Jun-20 Vagueness challenge to the Armed Career Criminal Act’s elements clause Cert Denied
Zoie H. v Nebraska


Neb. Sup. Ct. 22-June-20


Second and Sixth Amendment challenge to jury-less conviction that can result in gun disqualifer for juveniles Cert Denied
Caniglia v. Strom


1st Cir. 10-Aug-20 Fourth Amendment challenge to gun removal response due 14-Oct-20
Hobbs v. United States


6th Cir. 13-Aug-20 Guilty plea under 922(g) without knowledge of disqualifying status


response due 16-Oct-20
Torres v. United States


9th Cir. 27-Aug-20 As-applied challenge to 922(g)(1) response due 2-Nov-20
United States v. Gary


4th Cir. 5-Oct-20 Guilty plea under 922(g) without being informed that knowledge is an element of the offense

(Govt is petitioner)

response due 6-Nov-20