Supreme Court case on Lautenburg Amendment
An attorney in US v. Hayes has a website on pleadings in the appeal. Hayes won in the 4th Circuit, the government sought cert., and it was granted; briefings have not yet begun.
The issue is one of statutory interpretation. Lautenberg forbids a person to possess a firearm if they have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor. That in turn is defined as a misdemeanor that "has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, ... committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim..."
The defendant had been convicted of ordinary battery, not of an offense against a specific domestic violence statute. The battery was against a spouse, but that was not an element of the offense. That is, while the offense involved a spouse, the State could have gotten a conviction whether that was true or not. It had no duty to prove it.
So the question is whether the words of the statute mean "an element of which is force against a spouse" or mean "an element of which is force, and which happens to be committed against a spouse." That is, does "an element" refer only to use of force, or to use of force against a spouse. This is course the sort of fine point that we attorneys love -- but in this case it determines whether Hayes is to be a federal felon for having a firearm ten years after a misdemeanor plea.