The Biden Administration has returned to the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) to ask the Court to block a new injunction issued to Blackhawk Manufacturing Group Inc (D/B/A 80 Percent Arms) and Defense Distributed.
This motion is the second time the Biden Administration has approached the Supreme Court and asked for a stay against a ruling in VanDerStok v. Garland. The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) case challenges the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rule on frames and receivers (Final Rule 2021R-05F). Previous injunctions were issued to various companies, including Polymer80, 80 Percent Arms, and Defense Distributed.
Federal Western District of Texas Court Judge Reed O’Conner would eventually vacate the entire rule once JSD Supply entered a motion to intervene. The Department of Justice (DOJ) would appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and ask them to overrule Judge O’Conner’s ruling. A three-judge panel would decide to keep most of the rule vacated.
The DOJ could have asked for an en banc hearing where the whole bench would decide the case, but even if the DOJ was granted an en banc hearing, the chances of the Fifth Circuit overruling the panel were slim to none due to the Court’s makeup. The DOJ would decide to approach SCOTUS and ask the High Court to issue a stay on the ruling until the Supreme Court could decide whether to take up the case or deny cert. SCOTUS ruled 5-4 to give a stay with Associate Justice Amy Comey Barret and Chief Justice John Roberts voting with the liberal members of the Court.
If SCOTUS does not agree to hear the case, the stay would immediately be removed. The rule would once again be vacated. If the Court does agree to hear the case, the stay will remain until the case is decided. The stay’s purpose is to maintain the status quo. The Plaintiffs argued that the status quo that should be maintained is that of before the rule went into effect.
Two companies that previously had an injunction returned to Judge O’Connor and asked him to issue another one. Those companies were Defense Distributed and 80 Percent Arms. Judge O’Connor felt that the companies were likely to succeed on the merits of the case and would suffer irreparable harm. For those reasons, Judge O’Connor issued another injunction.
The Justice Department would skip the Circuit Court and immediately ask SCOTUS to intervene. The DOJ is claiming that Judge O’Connor is going against the will of the Supreme Court and acting in direct opposition to the Court’s order. The original stay does not mention any injunctive relief. It only stayed Judge O’Connor’s decision to vacate the rule.
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar claimed that the Fifth Circuit as a whole “effectively countermanded this Court’s authoritative determination about the status quo that should prevail during appellate proceedings in this case.”
“This is the rare application where this Court has already applied the relevant legal standard in the very same case and determined the government should obtain emergency relief,” she said. “The Court’s answer should be the same as it was two months ago.”
Director of Defense Distributed Cody Wilson spoke to AmmoLand News about the filing. He took a shot at CNN, who also covered the filing, for refusing to name his company. He also had a message for the Biden Administration.
“Our name is Defense Distributed,” Wilson said. “We are from Austin, Texas. The Biden Administration’s illegal gun regulations have now expired.”
Justice Samuel Alito decided to issue a temporary stay against the injunction until 5:00 PM EDT on October 16, saving the rule once again. Lawyers for the two companies have until 5:00 PM EDT on October 11 to file their response to the government’s petition.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs are planning to file.
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