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SCOTUS Gun Watch - Week of 3/20/23

  • Date:
  • March 20th, 2023

By: Andrew Willinger

There was major news from the Supreme Court on Friday, as the federal government filed a petition for certiorari in United States v. Rahimi.  In Rahimi, a Fifth Circuit panel struck down as unconstitutional § 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8)—which prohibits gun possession by those subject to certain domestic-violence protective orders issued after notice and a hearing (we covered the original panel opinion in Rahimi here and here; the judges subsequently withdrew that opinion and re-filed a revised version reaching the same result).   

Following the panel decision, the government had the option to either seek en banc review or file a petition for certiorari.  It chose the latter route and filed a petition last Friday, although the Court's internal docket does not yet reflect this (it can take some time after a petition is filed for the case to show up on the Court's website).  In the petition, the government argues that "Section 922(g)(8) fits squarely within the longstanding tradition of disarming dangerous individuals," that the Fifth Circuit erred by conducting too narrow of a historical analysis, and that "it would be bizarre if legislatures could disarm dangerous individuals based on categorical presumptions, but not based on individualized judicial findings after notice and a hearing."  The petition also explains that "the government is filing . . . a writ of certiorari on a highly expedited schedule—a little more than two weeks after the issuance of the Fifth Circuit’s final amended opinion—in order to allow the Court to consider the petition before it recesses for the summer."  This would, presumably, put the case on track to be argued early in the fall if certiorari is granted.  

Overall, it seems quite likely that the Court will decide to take Rahimi even without a direct circuit split on this particular statute.  As the petition notes, the Court has said in recent years that it is "usual" practice to grant certiorari when a federal appellate court strikes down a federal statute as unconstitutional; and Justice Thomas, writing separately with respect to a procedural ruling in a 2014 case, wrote that the Court "ha[s] recognized a strong presumption in favor of granting writs of certiorari to review decisions of lower courts holding federal statutes unconstitutional."  It's worth noting that this same calculus might not apply to the other litigation most likely to work its way up to the Court sometime later this year—challenges to New York's post-Bruen gun regulations, which are set to be argued before a Second Circuit panel this afternoon (although the Court's docket is, of course, entirely discretionary and it's difficult to predict how things will play out).  It is also unclear to me to what extent pre-Bruen decisions upholding 922(g)(8), with some historical analysis, create a circuit conflict: those decisions obviously did not apply Bruen, but they did in some cases reach different conclusions about American historical tradition.    

Petitions Pending

Case

Ct. Below

Pet. Filed

Implicated Law/Issue

Status

United States 

v.

Rahimi

(Case No. pending)

5th Cir.

17-Mar-2023

Facial constitutional challenge to § 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8) under the Second Amendment.

Petition filed 17-Mar-2023

The National Rifle Association of America 

v.

Maria T. Vullo

(22-842)

2d Cir. 

7-Feb-2023

First Amendment challenge by the NRA to state government guidance and press urging banks and insurance companies to consider the reputational risks of doing business with gun-rights organizations. 

Petition filed 7-Feb-2023 (Leave to file under seal granted)

Doe

v.

United States

(22-806)

1st Cir.

17-Feb-2023

Whether the Massachusetts state crime of straight assault becomes a violent felony that satisfies the ACCA's force requirement because it was committed with a dangerous weapon.

Distributed for conference 24-Mar-2023

Lora

v. 

United States

(22-49)

2d Cir. 

15-July-2022

Whether 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(D)(ii) requires consecutive sentences be imposed for a defendant convicted and sentenced under 924(j).

Set for argument 28-Mar-2023 (Reply submitted 17-Mar-2023)

 

Petitions Disposed

Case

Ct. Below

Pet. Filed

Implicated Law/Issue

Status

Flick v. Rosen

(20-902)

11th Cir.

29-Dec-20

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(1)

Cert Denied

Fleury v. Massachusetts

(20-1122)

App. Ct. Mass.

2-Nov-20

Challenge to Mass. firearm storage law

Cert Denied

Holloway v. Barr

(20-782)

3d Cir.

3-Dec-20

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(1)

Cert Denied

Mai v. United States

(20-819)

9th Cir.

9-Dec-20

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(4)

Cert Denied

Folajtar v. Barr

(20-812)

3d Cir.

11-Dec-20

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(1)

Cert Denied

Greer v. United States

(19-8709)

11th Cir.

8-Jun-2020

Scope of appellate review for Rehaif errors

Decided 14-June-2021

Caniglia v. Strom

(20-157)

1st Cir.

10-Aug-20

Fourth Amendment challenge to gun removal

Decided 17-May-2021

Hobbs v. United States

(20-171)

6th Cir.

13-Aug-20

Guilty plea under 922(g) without knowledge of disqualifying status

 

Cert Denied

United States v. Gary

(20-444)

4th Cir.

5-Oct-20

Guilty plea under 922(g) without being informed that knowledge is an element of the offense

(Govt is petitioner)

Decided 14-June-2021

Rodriguez v. San Jose

(19-1057)

9th Cir.

21-Feb-20

Warrantless search and seizure of firearms under Fourth Amendment

Cert Denied

Johnson v. United States

(19-1390)

4th. Cir.

12-Jun-20

Vagueness challenge to the Armed Career Criminal Act’s elements clause

Cert Denied

Zoie H. v Nebraska

(19-1418)

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

Caldara v. City of Boulder

(20-416)

10th Cir.

24-Sep-20

Federal court abstention over Second Amendment claims being adjudicated in state court

Cert Denied

Torres v. United States

(20-5579)

9th Cir.

27-Aug-20

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(1)

Cert Denied

E.H. v. Florida Dept. Ag. (Pro se)

(20-627)

Fla. Ct. App.

9-Oct-20

Challenge to firearm license denial based on prior mental health commitment

Cert Denied

Porter v. United States

(20-522)

6th Cir.

16-Oct-20

Challenge to ACCA enhancement

Cert Denied

McGinnis v. United States

(20-6046)

5th Cir.

13-Oct-20

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(8)

Cert Denied

Yoo v. United States

(20-550)

5th Cir.

21-Oct-20

Challenge to conviction based on misstatements on Form 4473 (req’d for purchase at a gun dealer)

Cert Denied

Knowles v. Hart

(20-840)

11th Cir.

17-Dec-20

Fourth Amendment challenge to use of deadly force against person with holstered weapon

Cert Denied

Libertarian Party of Erie County v. Cuomo

(20-1151)

2d Cir.

9-Feb-21

Challenge to New York’s pistol permit regime

Cert Denied

Keahey v. Marquis

(20-1298)

6th Cir.

16-Mar-21

Failure to give self-defense instruction

Cert Denied

Russell v. New Jersey

(20-1419)

N.J. Superior Ct.

2-Apr-21

Challenge to New Jersey’s good cause public carry law

Cert Denied

Reyes-Torres, v. United States

(20-7714)

5th Cir.

5- Apr-2021

Challenge to § 922(g)(5) (federal law barring undocumented immigrants from possessing firearms)

Cert Denied

Weber v. Ohio

(20-1640)

Ohio Sup. Ct.

21-May-21

Challenge to Ohio law barring carrying/using firearms while intoxicated

Cert Denied

Roundtree v. Wisconsin

(20-1706)

Wisc. Sup. Ct.

4-June-2021

Challenge to state law prohibiting firearm possession by non-violent felon

Cert Denied

Harley v. Garland

(21-104)

4th Cir.

22-July-2021

As-applied challenge to § 922(g)(9) (conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence offense)

Cert Denied

Bello v. Rockland County

(21-514)

2d Cir.

4-Oct-2021

Fourth Amendment and due process challenges to New York policies about the return of firearms after disqualification

Cert Denied

P.Z. v. New Jersey

(21-175)

N.J. Superior Ct.

4-Aug-2021

Challenge to N.J. law permitting firearms seizure/prohibiting possession pursuant to DV restraining order

Cert Denied

Hatch v. Minnesota

(21-667)

Minn. Sup. Ct.

1-Nov-2021

Challenge to Minnesota’s requirement that a person get a permit to carry in public

Cert Denied

Zaitzeff v. Seattle

(21-910)

Wash. Ct. App.

16-Dec-2021

Challenge to Seattle ordinance barring the public carry of certain knives

Cert Denied

Marshall v. BATFE

(21-1155)

4th Cir.

17-Feb-2022

Challenge to 4th Circuit decision vacating opinion striking down under-21 handgun purchase ban

Cert Denied

Rodrigues v. County of Hawaii

(21-895)

9th Cir.

13-Dec-2021

Challenge to arrest on weapons’ charges given the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA)

Cert Denied

Cassidy v. Massachusetts

(21-1249)

Mass. App. Ct.

1-Mar-2022

Challenge to permit requirement for home firearm possession

Cert Denied

Turner v. Brannon-Dortch

(21-1341)

7th Cir.

4-Apr-2022

Challenge to trial questioning about “illegal” gun that was lawfully licensed

Cert Denied

McCloskey, Petitioner

v.

Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel

(21-1440)

Mo. Sup. Ct.

9-May-2022

Challenge to attorney discipline for firearms-related conduct on Second Amendment and due process grounds

Cert Denied

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen

(20-843)

2d Cir.

17-Dec-20

Challenge to New York’s good cause public carry regime

Decided 23-June-2022

Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs v. Bruck

(20-1507)

3d Cir.

26-Apr-21

Challenge to New Jersey ban on magazines holding 10 rounds or more

Granted, vacated and remanded 30-June 2022

Young v. Hawaii

(20-1639)

9th Cir.

11-May-21

Challenge to Hawaii’s restrictive open carry law

Granted, vacated and remanded 30-June 2022

Bianchi v. Frosh

(21-902)

4th Cir.

16-Dec-2021

Challenge to Maryland’s assault weapons ban and to the methodology used for 2A questions

Granted, vacated and remanded 30-June 2022

Duncan v. Bonta

(21-1194)

9th Cir.

28-Feb-2022

Challenge to California ban on magazines holding 10 rounds or more

Granted, vacated and remanded 30-June 2022

Aposhian v. Garland

(21-159)

10th Cir.

2-Aug-2021

Challenge to agency deference re the bump stock ban

Cert Denied

Morin v. Lyver

(21-1160)

1st Cir.

13-Dec-2022

Challenge to Massachusetts’ bar on handgun purchases for those with nonviolent misdemeanors

Granted, vacated and remanded 03-Oct-2022

Gun Owners of America v. Garland

(21-1215)

6th Cir.

3-Mar-2022

Challenge to the bump stock ban

Cert Denied

Whitaker

v.

District of Columbia Concealed Pistol Licensing Review Board

(21-1545)

D.C. Ct. App.

7-Jun-2022

Challenge to DC gun license revocation standard

Cert Denied

Torcivia

v.

Suffolk County

(21-1522)

2d Cir.

31-May-2022

Challenge to warrantless home entry to seize firearms

Cert Denied

McCutchen, et al.; The Modern Sportsman, et al.

v.

United States

(22-25)

Fed Cir.

8-July-2022

Challenge to ATF bump stock ban under 5th Amendment takings clause

Cert Denied

Keith L. Carnes

v.

United States

(22-76)

8th Cir.

26-July-2022

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(3) and definition of "unlawful user of . . . any controlled substance"

Cert Denied

Mashour Howling

v. 

State of Maryland

Md. Ct. App.

13-Oct-2022

Challenge to Maryland jury instructions for possessing firearm after conviction for a crime of violence

Cert Denied

Baldea

v.

City of New York License Division of the NYPD

(21-1495)

NY App. Ct.

10-May-2022

Challenge to NYC gun license denial

Cert Denied

Antonyuk

v.

Nigrelli

(22A557 - emergency application

2d Cir. 

21-Dec-2022

Application to lift stay of district court preliminary injunction pending appeal (NY post-Bruen gun law)

Denied 11-Jan-2023; Justice Alito issued a separate statement (joined by Justice Thomas)

Greco 

v. 

Platkin

(22-478)

3d Cir. 

13-May-2022

Challenge to NJ extreme-risk-protection law under Fourth Amendment / Younger abstention 

Cert Denied

Gazzola 

v.

Hochul 

(22A591 - emergency application)

2d Cir.

29-Dec-2022

Application to reverse district court order denying preliminary injunction and enter administrative stay (NY commercial gun regulations)

Denied 18-Jan-2023

Beemer 

v.

Whitmer

(22-586)

6th Cir.

21-Dec-2022

Mootness of challenge to Michigan COVID-19 restrictions, including Second Amendment challenge to order closing gun stores

Cert Denied