Somewhat lost in all the teeth-gnashing from both the right and left over the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Peruta and its tentative upholding of the Trump Administration’s travel ban was the news that the Supreme Court also let stand the Third Circuit’s decision in the gun rights case Binderup v. Sessions.
We’ve been reporting on Binderup since the case was hot off the presses last year. Daniel Binderup and Julio Suarez were legally prohibited from owning firearms after being convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors potentially punishable by more than two years in prison — Binderup because of one count of corrupting a minor in Pennsylvania (he had a consensual romantic relationship with a 17-year-old when he was 41,) and Suarez for carrying a firearm in a vehicle without a license in Maryland.
Neither did any time for the convictions, but under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), they were barred from possessing a firearm. Decades later, both tried to get their rights to keep and bear arms restored, but absent a presidential pardon, they found that they couldn’t. Although a process existed to restore the gun rights of ex-cons, Congress had not provided money to the Attorney General to implement the law.
The Third Circuit held that the law was unconstitutional as applied to these two, and since they had no other recourse, both should have their rights to keep and bear arms restored. The Supreme Court, by denying the petition for certiorari, let the matter stand.
From a gun rights perspective, it would have been nice to have the case go before the Court and to have Binderup and Suarez win — indeed, that was Second Amendment Foundation jefe Alan Gottleib’s ardent hope when I spoke to him last month:
[W]e think this is actually a win/win situation for us — if the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, we win. If they agree to hear it, well, we’re convinced that we have a winning case and we’ll win there, too, which would mean it would apply across the country.
That’s hardly consolation for the Peruta cert denial but a win is a win. For the record, the text of the order reads:
The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied. Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor would grant the petitions for writs of certiorari.
So now you know.