SCOTUS Punts Most 2A Cases Again (Updated)

The Supreme Court has their conference on Fridays to examine which cases they wish to take and the ones they don’t. They announce the results on Monday in the Orders of the Court. Not all pending cases are sent to conference but those that are can be denied certiorari (or mandamus), accepted, or passed on to another week’s conference.

The Orders of the Court released this morning indicate that they punted all the major Second Amendment cases to the next week. The exception was Bradley Beers v. Barr which dealt with the denial of Second Amendment rights to those who had been involuntarily committed no matter how long ago.

In that case, the Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated the judgment, and sent it back to the 3rd Circuit to dismiss as moot.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit with instructions to dismiss the case as moot. See United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., 340 U. S. 36 (1950).

Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about the Beers case to say why the Supreme Court said it was moot.

The Polite Society Podcast will have attorney Cody Wisniewski of the Mountain States Legal Foundation as our guest tonight. He will be discussing these potential cases and why he considered the finding of moot in NYSRPA v City of New York was not the end of the world for 2A cases. I will have a link up later where you can watch this on Facebook Live.

Cody was one of the attorneys who brought the case that forced New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) to reopen some gun stores in that state.

UPDATE: Thanks to Rob at 2A Updates I have an answer as to why the Beers case was considered moot. Mr. Beers has been cleared by the State of Pennsylvania, was granted a firearms license, and now has a legally owned firearm.

UPDATE II: The link to the Facebook Live broadcast of the Polite Society Podcast can be found here. It starts at approximately 7:05pm EDT tonight.

3 thoughts on “SCOTUS Punts Most 2A Cases Again (Updated)”

  1. Same game, different day. Cert was granted, government tries and succeeds at mooting the case.

  2. The case is moot as a matter of law as the ATF certified Pennsylvania’s mental health rights restoration program and Beers’ rights have been restored and he has been able to purchase a firearm.
    So, with no “live controversy” there is nothing to decide.

    Beers was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric inpatient hospital in, 2005.
    He had no further mental health issues, but was later denied a gun purchase, due to the mental health commitment.
    He challenged federal law prohibiting the possession of firearms by anyone who has previously been adjudicated as mentally ill or committed to a mental institution, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4), arguing that, as applied to him, it violates the Second Amendment, claiming that, although he was previously involuntarily institutionalized, he has since been rehabilitated, which distinguishes his circumstances from those in the historically-barred class.

    The Third Circuit rejected his arguments, noting that “the traditional justification for disarming mentally ill individuals was that they were considered dangerous to themselves and/or to the public at large. Courts are ill-equipped to determine whether any particular individual who was previously deemed mentally ill should have his firearm rights restore.”

    The issue was that for anyone, previously mentally ill or convicted felon, to have their rights restored they must ask the Federal Government to restore those rights. However, congress hasn’t funded that program since the 1990’s. Instead, the bureaucraps allow people to petition their state governments, but state mental heath programs must be certified by the feds and the Pennsylvania program hadn’t, at that time, been certified.
    In this case, Pennsylvania’s program was later certified, Beer’s rights were restored and later he actually had bought a gun.
    So – moot.

    But the Supreme’s didn’t just moot the case. They vacated the 3rd circuit’s ruling. “Courts are ill-equipped to determine whether any particular individual who was previously deemed mentally ill should have his firearm rights restore.”

    Now, as some more knowledgeable lawyers see it, that’s not a decision that means court are now ‘well-equipped’ it just means that the circuit’s ruling that court’s aren’t ‘well-equipped’ was trashed.

    It’s not a clear win, but it apparently did wipe out a bad circuit court ruling for RKBA.

    1. Thanks for a very clear and comprehensive explanation of the Beers case. I think it is very useful in understanding the whole issue. Again, thanks!

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