U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

Gun Rights Lawyer Makes Personal Request of Justice Roberts, Gets Denied

Alan Gura, the attorney who argued some of this nation's most groundbreaking modern gun cases including District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, made a personal request of Chief Justice Roberts. Unfortunately for Gura, the request was denied.

The issue began last year over a section of a law that required persons to provide a good reason for carrying firearms in public streets in D.C. Alan Gura was not happy when a visiting judge from upstate New York issued an order against the city to stop enforcing the law.

Judge Scullin's Authority to Hear the Gura's Case

Judge Scullin was appointed judge to the case by Chief Justice Roberts in an attempt to unclog the always congested D.C. Circuit. In that time, Mr. Gura secured wins in the Heller case which famously allowed almost unfettered right to have a gun in one's home for self-defense. Scullin, the assigned visiting judge assigned by Chief Justice struck down a provision in Palmer on the grounds that it went beyond the bounds of Heller.

While the district's local town amended the law, the Palmer challengers tried again. Only this time, they challenged the authority of Judge Scullin to ever hear the case. To make matters more interesting, another Gura case, Wrenn v. D.C. was assigned to Scullin on the basis that he had previously handled the Palmer case. By that time, Judge Scullin decided not to touch Palmer and made a ruling on Wrenn instead. Upon a filing of appeal of Wrenn, the D.C. Circuit Court itself decided to raise the issue of whether or not Judge Scullin had jurisdiction to hear the case. Confused?

Gura Reaches out to Justice Roberts

On November 20, a hearing was held to settle the issue. Scallin's authority to hear the case became the legal issue that clouded any concern about Second Amendment Rights. Gura defended the judge's assignment to the case, no surprise. Shortly afterward, Gura wrote a letter personally to Justice Roberts asking him to expressly clarify Scullin's proper authority to hear the case -- or specifically assign him to hit.

One has to hand it to Gura: he's persistent. One could almost believe that Justice Roberts would have obliged him in his request, if he could. No word yet as to Gura's response to the Justice's decision not to intervene.

Related Resources: