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Snippets: Guns, Ginsburg, and NSA Litigation

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Today's a day for three of my favorite topics: guns, Ginsburg, and people suing the crap out of the National Security Agency. When Ginsburg, Kagan, and the rest of the justices stop making speeches and return to chambers (seriously, five out of the Nine made speeches last week), they'll consider landmark cases dealing with the Second and Fourth Amendment, if they grant certiorari.

What's got us so excited on a Thursday morning, besides the impending weekend? Read on:

Three Gun Cert. Petitions -- Regular readers might have noticed my affinity for Second Amendment law, which, since Heller and McDonald, has been rife with circuit splits and denied cert. petitions. At the Court's next conference on February 21, it will consider three cases, two brought by the NRA on behalf of 18 to 20-year-olds, challenging state and federal laws that prohibit them from owning certain firearms.

One of the cases makes the interesting argument that Heller held that "right to keep arms" applies within the home. Statutory construction principles mean that no term is superfluous, so what does the "bear" mean in "right to keep and bear arms?" Outside the home, perhaps? Concealed carry? Lyle Denniston has more at SCOTUSblog.

The other case, which has been held over repeatedly, is Lane v. Holder, which challenges the entire federal gun licensing scheme. Fed regulations require transfers of firearms to occur through a licensed dealer. All of the dealers went out of business in D.C., and local residents couldn't legally go to Virginia or Maryland to procure arms.

See the problem? The Fourth Circuit certainly didn't.

Kagan Loves Ginsburg ... Now -- In speeches last week at the New York City Bar Association, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg traded jabs, with Ginsburg joking about Kagan's rumored boxing skill. Kagan countered by pointing out that Ginsburg once denied her a clerkship, stating "The only one of President Carter's nominees to the D.C. Circuit who thought me not quite good enough was Judge Ginsburg. She didn't even interview me," reports The New York Times.

It wasn't all barbs, however. Kagan credited Ginsburg for blazing a path for women in the legal profession, first as a litigator, then as a judge.

NSA Short-certcuited -- Yes, I'm coining that phrase. And no, you aren't alone in experiencing déjà vu. Last year, we covered EPIC's epic writ that tried to by-pass lower courts and go straight to SCOTUS with challenges to NSA surveillance. It didn't work.

This year, after a victory in a district court (which paralleled a case that went the other way), attorney Larry Klayman, the victorious NSA plaintiff, is seeking to by-pass the Circuit Court of Appeals level and go straight to SCOTUS. Wired explains the legal justification for his unlikely-to-succeed petition.

Any upcoming cases you're excited about? Tell us about them on Facebook.

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