Thursday, August 31, 2023

Biden Administration Submits Legal Brief in Rahimi Case, Discussing Civil Restraining Orders and Due Process

On August 14, 2023, the Biden administration provided its legal brief to the Supreme Court concerning the USA v. Rahimi case. The crux of the brief posits that the U.S. government has the authority to suspend fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms, through civil restraining orders. The argument hinges on the notion that the Second Amendment is applicable only to "law-abiding, responsible citizens."

From the administration's brief:

"Congress may disarm individuals who are not 'law-abiding, responsible citizens,' according to past Court decisions."

The administration further states that many elements of the Second Amendment are based on the assumption that it only protects this particular group of citizens. However, this assertion isn't universally accepted as legal precedent.

In a separate opinion related to the case when it was appealed at the Fifth Circuit, Judge Ho argued that individuals can lose their rights only upon arrest and imprisonment for criminal activities. He asserted that civil law, in contrast to criminal law, lacks historical precedent to disarm people based on restraining orders.

Judge Ho pointed out:

"18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) disarms people based on civil orders rather than criminal proceedings. There's a lack of historical precedent to support this under Bruen."

Judge Ho also raised concerns about the misuse of civil restraining orders, especially in divorce cases, and questioned the rationale behind using them to disarm individuals.

To bolster its argument, the Biden administration cited various historical examples of people being denied rights for not being "peaceable," equating this term with "law-abiding, responsible citizens." However, it raises the question of whether a judge has the authority to label someone as "non-peaceable" without criminal conviction, especially in non-adversarial proceedings. 

Starting from page 37, the brief also mentions recent cases that question the constitutionality of broad firearm restrictions under the Gun Control Act of 1968. It lists a variety of laws passed after 1900 aimed at disarming various groups, such as violent criminals and non-citizens. However, these additions occurred much later in history and do not necessarily capture the original intent of the Second Amendment.

The Rahimi case becomes complicated due to the defendant's lack of public sympathy, which sometimes influences judicial decisions. The administration is keen on framing the argument as a domestic violence issue rather than a constitutional rights issue, using emotional reasoning as a tactic.

The Biden administration's brief doesn't address historically discriminatory laws that disarmed specific groups like slaves or Native Americans. It also cites research papers that suggest more firearms exacerbate domestic violence situations. Those in favor of robust Second Amendment rights should counter these claims with data showing, for example, that intimate partner homicides have remained stagnant even after the implementation of the Lautenberg amendment in 1997.

The Biden administration aims to present the case as a matter of public safety rather than an erosion of constitutional rights without due process. It leans heavily on emotional appeals and selective historical examples to make its case.

Gun Coyote | Gun Deals

Get Our Deals Newsletter

No comments:

Post a Comment