Not All Bad News Today From SCOTUS

It wasn’t all bad news on gun rights from the US Supreme Court today. Despite the negative ruling on certiorari for the Peruta case, we did get a win today when the court denied the government’s appeal in Sessions et al v. Binderup et al. Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor would have granted certiorari to the government.

The case involved the loss of gun rights for individuals convicted of non-serious misdemeanors. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that it violated the Second Amendment to deny such individuals their right to possess and purchase firearms. The Justice Department under former AG Loretta Lynch appealed that ruling. For some unknown reason, they didn’t move to dismiss the case under AG Jeff Sessions.

By refusing to grant certiorari, the court preserved the ruling of the 3rd Circuit. The Second Amendment Foundation which represented the plaintiffs in this case released the following statement on their win:

BELLEVUE, WA – The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to review an important Second Amendment Foundation case involving firearms rights for individuals convicted of certain non- violent misdemeanor crimes .

The decision allows an earlier favorable en banc ruling for SAF by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pennsylvania to stand . In the case of Binderup v. the U.S. Attorney General , the appeals court ruled that individuals convicted of certain non-serious misdemeanor crimes do not lose their fundamental rights under the Second Amendment for life . After SAF won at the appeals court level, the Obama Justice Department sought Supreme Court review .

The case involve d a man named Daniel Binderup , who pleaded guilty in 1996 to a misdemeanor charge related to a consensual relationship he had with a 17-year-old female employee . He received three years’ probation and a $300 fine. However, because the crime could have resulted in jail time of more than one year for which the federal gun law blocks firearms possession , Binderup sought protection of his rights via the courts .

“While we were confident that our case would once again prevail before the Supreme Court, we’re delighted at the high court’s decision that allows our victory in the Third Circuit to stand,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “We establish ed the principle that people who are convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes cannot be stripped of their fundamental right to keep and bear arms for life. ”

The Third Circuit Court’s favorable ruling combined Binderup’s case with another SAF case involving a man named Julio Suarez . He was stopped in 1990 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. At the time he was carrying a handgun and spare ammunition without a permit. He pleaded guilty in Maryland state court to the charge and received a 180-day s uspended sentence and $500 fine . As a result, he also lost his gun rights because the crime could have resulted in jail time of more than one year . Neither man was ever incarcerated.

“We cannot allow government to simply deny constitutionally-delineated rights on such flimsy grounds,” Gottlieb said. “While SAF’s goal is winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time, this time we won two!”

2 thoughts on “Not All Bad News Today From SCOTUS”

  1. Curious. Maryland is 4th Circuit, Pennsylvania is 3rd. Do we now have rulings in two circuits? I believe that the SCOTUS is generally reluctant to take cases unless there is a conflict between circuits so that may have been why they let it stand. It also means that there is nothing keeping anyone in the other 9 (10?) circuits from being denied the same rights for the same reasons, whereas a SCOTUS ruling would have standardized federal law. I don't necessarily see this as a win in the big picture although it would certainly be better to have this case come up after PDT replaces another liberal justice.

    1. It is my understanding that Mr. Suarez, though convicted of a misdemeanor in MD, is now a resident of Pennsylvania.

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