The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Seegars, et al., v. Ashcroft

The D.C. Circuit has found that the District of Columbia residents wanting to purchase and possess handguns in Seegars et al., v. Ashcroft to lack sufficient standing to bring the lawsuit.

It’s an interesting opinion, and I am sure the pro RKBA forces will have plenty more to say on this. I've read it once, and will read it again tonight, but I have a few quick points I'd like to make.

First, this is pure and utter bullshit and a very convenient way for the court to sidestep an issue it doesn't feel comfortable addressing.

As the dissent pointed out, the Navegar case is easily distinguished (let alone insults basic intelligence), and plenty of authority exists elsewhere to find standing. That, of course, means Seegars is heading for a likely en banc review by the full D.C. Circuit and possibly the Supreme Court - though don't get your hopes up for a complete 2nd Amendment victory yet. Rather, any review will be narrowly focused on the issue of standing sending the case itself back down for a full airing out of the underlying 2nd Amendment claims.

Second, part of me thinks that this is a brilliant strategic move (DISCLAIMER: I've been accused of turning lemons into lemonade before) that is going to force the mainstream media and other traditionally non RKBA forces to join the fight on OUR SIDE.


Because this decision is so, so, offensive, to the basic understandings of the role of courts since Marbury v. Madison. I mean, is the court really saying you can only challenge non first amendment issue after prosecution? If that’s the case, they are effectively overturning Marbury v. Madison and abolishing judicial review in the D.C. Circuit as a practical matter.

Naturally, I don't believe that's what is going on. Rather, I think we are looking at a Court that is ready, but reluctant, to strike the D.C. gun ban down, and is screaming for help from its colleagues. Lets face it, people (and judges are no different) don't like to step alone into uncharted waters, and that’s what Seegars is in effect asking them to do. I expect, on the standing issue at least, those colleagues will come quickly running to its defense and overturn this decision.

As a result, in this way, I think Seegars will eventually turn into a watershed decision in the area of legislative and regulatory review - and as a result, will be remembered long from now for its ultimate impact on judicial review.

Of course, the importance of any appeal of Seegars in defining the boudaries of judicial review will force a positive spin on the decision by an activist press unwilling to give up the basic rights of pre enforcement judicial review. Heck, this is going to get the ACLU to come in on our side. Once the spin that Seegars should get its time in court is unleashed, it becomes rather easy for the D.C. Circuit (and perhaps the Supreme Court) to make the RKBA decision.

But that's just my quick hit opinion.


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