SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 10/5/20

  • Date:
  • October 05, 2020

The Supreme Court’s new term officially starts today. It released an order list this morning with the petitions it considered at its Long Conference last week. The Court denied cert in Zoie H., a case challenging the ability of a state to temporarily deprive Second Amendment rights after a juvenile adjudication without a jury. Paul Clement, who represented the NYSRPA challengers, represented the petitioners in Zoie H., but the Court was apparently not interested. The Court did not act on the petition in Rodriguez, which means it will likely be relisted for the next conference. Veteran court watcher John Elwood has explained that “[i]f a case has been relisted once, it generally means that the Court is paying close attention to the case, and the chances of a grant are higher than for an average case.” But more than one relist is no longer a sign of the Court likely giving the case plenary review—at that point, it is more likely that a justice is writing a dissent from denial of cert or that the Court will deal with the case in a summary way.

There’s also one new cert petition on the list below—Torres v. United States—which is an as-applied challenge to the felon prohibitor in 922(g)(1). I remain skeptical that the Court wants to use a prohibited person case to expand the Second Amendment, but given that we know Judge Barrett would find as-applied challenges available, and that this type of case might appeal to her, that could change if she is confirmed.

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 To be relisted
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