- Supreme Court agrees to hear 2nd Amendment case, signaling willingness to tolerate Biden administration’s resistance to recognizing Second Amendment rights.
- Zackey Rahimi, a convicted drug dealer, is an unsympathetic defendant in the case mischaracterized as being about domestic violence. It actually focuses on due process of law.
- 5th Circuit panel correctly rules that constitutional rights cannot be taken away based on restraining orders. At least four Supreme Court judges support hearing the case.
The Supreme Court, on the last day available this session, June 30, 2023, agreed to hear a Second Amendment case, United States v. Rahimi.
This is not good news for Second Amendment supporters, but it is also not terrible news. It signals a willingness in the Court to tolerate some Biden administration resistance to recognizing Second Amendment rights as put forward in the Bruen decision last year.
UNITED STATES V. RAHIMI, ZACKEY
The motion of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted.
The Biden administration pushed to have the Rahimi case moved to the head of the line for a grant of certiorari. The case has been completely mischaracterized in the media. Unfortunately, even Supreme Court justices have been shown to be swayed by sympathetic defendants. Zackey Rahimi is not a sympathetic defendant. He is an acknowledged drug dealer who committed several crimes with firearms. He was convicted of those crimes and sentenced to 73 months in prison. A three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit held another charge of being in possession of a firearm while under a domestic violence restraining order WAS unconstitutional. Rahimi was never convicted of domestic violence. The case was never about domestic violence. It is about due process of law.
The three-judge panel is correct in its application of law in the Rahimi case. The Biden administration, with the aid of the media, may have seen a possibility to short-circuit the Bruen decision with an unsympathetic defendant. Numerous articles in the Media have characterized Rahimi as a domestic abuser. It may or may not be true. He was never convicted of domestic abuse in a court of law. There are numerous other convictions which bar him from the possession of firearms under federal law. Whether Rahimi retains a right to keep and bear arms is not in question. The question before the Fifth Circuit was, and before the Supreme Court is:
May a fundamental constitutional right, enumerated in the Bill of Rights, be taken from a person with a mere restraining order?
The Fifth Circuit three-judge panel correctly wrote an opinion that showed there was no historical precedent for taking Constitutional rights based on mere restraining orders.
Rahimi did not wish to have the case taken before the Supreme Court. He had won. This is entirely understandable. His lawyers made a cogent point: there are numerous other cases in the appeals courts. Some of those cases should be allowed to be heard before the Supreme Court takes this case.
At least four judges on the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case next year. The timing is uncertain. Four judges, at minimum, think the case should be heard. Judges usually do not agree to hear cases with which they agree. It is not always true; it is the way to bet. A justice or two may want to hear the case to slap down the Biden administration, but that seems unlikely.
The Biden administration slowed down other cases which have more sympathetic defendants while pushing hard to have the Rahimi case moved to the head of the line.
It will be months before the Rahimi case is heard. The decision is unlikely to be announced before June 2024, only a few months before the 2024 election. The media mischaracterization of the case will be on the level of the Dobbs case last year.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.