Reader John Dingell III writes:
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear Michaels v. Lynch, a class action lawsuit filed by Barry Michaels, a Nevada Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate seat last year. Mr. Michaels, a convicted felon, was seeking to purchase a firearm for self-defense despite his convictions for non-violent felonies.
Michaels decided to get his act together during a stay in federal prison. Once released, he managed a variety of businesses, including a pizza parlor, and several unsuccessful bids for Congress.
Because of his rising star on the political scene, Michaels has said, he sought a gun for self-defense. But federal law prohibits the possession of firearms by felons. And in 2008, the Supreme Court held that “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons” are presumptively lawful.
Michaels alleged 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1), which makes it a crime punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, for “every” person “who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year… to possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition”, violates the Second Amendment right of people to keep and bear arms.
But Michaels’ attorney used the case to also challenge the legitimacy of the current acting Attorney General.
He asked the court to name the case Barry Michaels v. Rod Rosenstein, rather than Barry Michaels v. Matthew Whitaker. In briefs, Goldstein acknowledged that his argument was unusual but said he saw the issue as urgent.
“Yes, the Court can blink at that reality, decline to act, and move on,” Goldstein wrote in one November brief. “But history will regret that it did.”
The court declined Goldstein’s request to change the name of the case in addition to the underlying 2nd Amendment question.
As a result, the issue in this case became conflated with the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General, so SCOTUS’ decision not to hear this case may not indicate their current posture on gun rights in general or rights for felons more specifically.
[ED: We’re still watching for the Court’s cert decision on New York Rifle & Pistol Club v. City of New York. The Court was to have decided whether to hear the case by January 7, but relisted (postponed) the conference. The new conference was to have taken place on Friday the 11th, but again, there was no determination announced today. There’s speculation that the absence of Ruth Bader Ginsburg could be the reason the matter is being pushed back. Watch this space.]