WaPo sweats bullets over Parker
A Washington Post story sweats over the prospect of a Supreme Court appeal of the decision striking the DC gun ban.
"Gun-control advocates are quietly acknowledging that Fenty (D) is in a difficult spot. Across the country, many of them and their attorneys have been meeting in conference rooms to analyze the potential damage that could be done nationwide if the D.C. law falls apart. Some fear that an adverse Supreme Court ruling could lead to more gun lobby challenges and the collapse of tough gun regulations in New York, Chicago and Detroit. Other potential casualties include federal laws that require background checks for gun buyers or ban the manufacture of machine guns for civilian use."
Brady Campaign leader "Helmke said he wouldn't advise the mayor to avoid the Supreme Court challenge. He said several gun-control experts worry just as much about the cases the gun lobby might be able to win if the city doesn't keep fighting."
Quite a turnaround for the Washington Post and for DC! When the panel decision came down, the Post reported that DC "Promises to Fight Appellate Court's Ruling," In an editorial, it proclaimed "a federal appeals court turned its back on nearly 70 years of Supreme Court precedent to give a new and dangerous meaning to the Second Amendment." It was a "radical" and "dangerous" ruling that showed "willful disregard of Supreme Court precedent." "Never before has a law been struck down on that basis."
And today, DC, the Washington Post and Brady Campaign are .... dare we say, sweating bullets over the thought that the Parker plaintiffs might just be right?
1. From DC's individual standpoint, it might as well go for cert. The core of its gun law is gone, otherwise. If it wants to try for lesser regulation, it can do that whether the ruling stands or not. Besides, everyone convicted under the old law will now have a shot at filing for habeas (or whatever the local equivalent is) to have their convictions set aside. And anyone charged with a violation since the ruling (whose effect is stayed, I believe) will have a shot at a 1983 suit. I'd say a Circuit ruling is "clearly established" law, and the failure to seek cert. would confirm that.
2. From the general antigun standpoint, might as well go for cert. This is the DC CIrcuit. The jurisdiction and venue rules say you can always sue the federal government in DC -- you might say the government is deemed to "reside" there. Writing off the DC circuit means that every federal gun law is open to challenge under an individual rights standard.
[Clarifiication in light of comments: yep, a Californian could sue in US District Court, DC, to challenge a federal gun law, even though it impacts them in California. A district court (almost always) has jurisdiction if you go to the defendant, file in the district where he or she resides. In the case of the U.S. government, DC is treated as its "home district." When I worked at Interior, we got sued in DC over wildlife refuge hunts in Florida, Virginia, you name it.]