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The Week at First Street: EPA, Guns Granted; Madigan Dismissed

By William Peacock, Esq. on October 16, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Despite the federal shutdown (now probably, maybe, possibly over!) crippling much of the country, the U.S. Supreme Court chugged on, finding funding in change dropped in the couch cushions and in Alito's stocks (maybe). Business as usual consisted of a few grants, a lot of denials, and a "whoops, we improvidently granted" dismissal.

If you have any interest in firearms, EPA regulations, or Justice Scalia scolding lawyers, read on:

Orders List


Abramski v. United States: Guy buys a gun using his law enforcement discount, then transfers it immediately to his bargain-hunting uncle. He's then charged with a felony. We previewed the petition in our Fourth Circuit SCOTUS preview, and covered the case in depth when it was initially decided.

The Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth circuits would likely agree that Abramski committed a felony by lying on the DOJ purchase form, where he stated that he was the true purchaser. But the Fifth Circuit's reading of the statute focuses instead on the lawfulness of the underlying transaction (his uncle was legally allowed to purchase guns, and the transfer was perfectly legal).

The EPA Cases: This may not be the official designation, but with six consolidated cases, we'll have to stick to naming them after the one common party. The case involves the EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gases, specifically whether the regulation of vehicle emissions triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources, such as power plants.

Fun note: The grant inspired a profanity-laden meltdown on Twitter, purportedly by a BigLaw partner.


The list of denials stretches for 12 or so pages (clearing the summer backlog, apparently), but one notable denial was the missed opportunity to address concealed carry via the Fourth Circuit's Woollard v. Gallagher. The Court continues to dodge concealed carry cases, despite a massive circuit split.

Improvidently Granted

After the train wreck at oral arguments last week, the Court dismissed its first case, Madigan v. Levin, as "improvidently granted." Lyle Dennison, for SCOTUSblog, notes that by the time the arguments began, the Court wasn't sure that the Seventh Circuit even had jurisdiction, nor were they sure that Levin was covered by the ADEA. By the end, Justice Scalia was scolding Levin's attorney for wasting the court's time.


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