U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Federal court rules firearms prohibition against an individual for a misdemeanor conviction under vehicle code is unconstitutional,” Adam Kraut reported on Prince Law Offices Blog Monday. “Judge Eduardo Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in a 25 page memorandum that it was unconstitutional, as applied to [plaintiff Daniel F.] Miller, to prevent him from exercising his Second Amendment right as a result of a 1998 misdemeanor conviction under the vehicle code – specifically, the alteration of a PennDOT window tint exemption form.”
My first thought on reading that was to wonder about the kind of totalitarian that would impose a lifetime prohibition on a fundamental and Constitutionally-enumerated right for such a ridiculous “offense.” My second was to wonder what kind of government attorney would want to see that upheld, particularly as, per the Constitution:
“[A]ll executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.”
Looking at the ruling, we see what kind:
The complaint was against then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That’s the same Jeff Sessions, working in the ostensibly “pro-gun” Trump administration, who had continuously enjoyed “A” ratings and endorsements from the National Rifle Association, which assured gun owners he was “A True Defender of our Freedom.”
It’s not the first time the administration has argued to reject Second Amendment claims of non-violent offenders.
It reminded me of a similar top government lawyer, Ted Olson, in the ostensibly “pro-gun” George W. Bush administration, who argued for the government and against the right to keep and bear arms in the Emerson, Haney and Bean cases.
So what’s the beef? It’s nothing personal (for them). It’s part of their job. They’ve got to defend the government’s position. Right?
I keep coming back to that oath these guys took. And how it’s been pretty much established that “I was only following orders” doesn’t cut it for human rights abuses.
Besides, a principled man would rather resign and take what comes than fight for tyranny and injustice. And for those of us they're opposing, it's plenty personal.
But what do I know about legal repercussions if they sat one out, not being a lawyer? So I asked a couple colleagues who are (and who, out of professional consideration will remain anonymous):
“Legal question since I see ‘pro-gun’ Jeff Sessions as the defendant– is there any law prohibiting the AG from standing down or giving up on a case if he believes the plaintiff is right in principle?” I asked. “I know they are supposed to represent the government, but is there anything that would legally — not traditionally or historically, but legally — prevent him from in effect saying he agrees with the complaint and recommends ruling in its favor? Is there a precedent, or if not, a legal bar to set a new precedent?”
One referred me to a 2011 CBS News report, “Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA”:
“President Obama has instructed the Justice Department to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the legal prohibition on federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that the department will stop defending the policy…”
The other, who has many years as a government attorney in his background, reminded me of a story from two years ago, when “President Trump fired his acting attorney general … removing her as the nation’s top law enforcement officer after she defiantly refused to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries.”
You don’t have to agree with her decision, but she made it, took her lumps, and showed it can be done.
“From my government days, DOJ could ‘refuse to defend’ a case,” the second attorney recalled. “Some memory about they had to notify both Judiciary Committees, or maybe that was only if they refused to defend the constitutionality of a law. And there's always the simple route of caving in without making it formal. We'd agree to be enjoined if you will not seek attorney fees. See, we didn't refuse to defend, we just settled the case.”
It’s fair to ask what is it with this Justice Department, in which “leadership” owes its positions of power to gun owners who believed their boss when he promised:
“Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I'm your president.”
The siege began on many of us when the clock started ticking on the “Trumpstock ban.” In a little over a month-and-a-half, if we who have been non-violent and loyal Americans all our productive lives do not destroy or surrender our heretofore lawfully-owned property, Donald Trump’s Department of Justice will declare us felons and marshal the resources of the federal government to take us hostage, financially ruin us, tear us from our families, imprison us and destroy our lives.
Who thinks they will stand down or even lose a moment’s sleep?
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.