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Parker Gun Case

4/20/2008: See my correction to this post here.

The lamestream media told you:
The mayor of Washington, D.C. has hired an expensive law firm at taxpayer expense to fight against residents who seek to regain their right to keep and bear arms. That right is being challenged in the "Parker" case and may go to the Supreme Court.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:
Activists should be aware that as the "Parker" case heads to appeal at the Supreme Court, it may no longer be the "Parker" case.  The pleading for certiorari will be titled "District of Columbia v. Heller" another of the original plaintiffs.

Asked why the change was made, an insider with knowledge of the case suggests, "D.C. has switched to Heller probably because Parker is an African-American female and Heller is a less sympathetic figure as a white male. Our side will probably keep the name Parker when responding to the D.C. cert petition, and ultimately, it'll be up to the Supremes."

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, D.C.'s hired guns in this gun case, is using the collection of founding documents compiled on ConSource, the first comprehensive online collection of Constitution-related source materials. Their research will present the District's position that their handgun ban withstands Constitutional scrutiny, and that you have no rights. These documents will play an important role in seeking to overturn the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit holding that the District's law, banning gun possession even at home, violates the Second Amendment.

ConSource is currently in beta test, but is accessible by special request.

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"D.C. has switched to Heller probably because Parker is an African-American female and Heller is a less sympathetic figure as a white male."


The name was switched from Parker to Heller because Parker - along with all other plaintiffs except Heller - were denied "standing" at a lower court, and are no longer part of this case. At this point it's silly to call the case "Parker" when the only participant on that side is Mr. Heller.

Specifically: only Mr. Heller actually bothered to go to the DC handgun permit office and apply for a permit which, by law, would invariably be denied (as the law has required for 30+ years). Because the other plaintiffs did not attempt to get a permit which would not ever no-way-no-how be granted, the court rejected them from the case on the grounds that they had not tried all available options, including dead ends.


ctdonath nailed the bullseye.

It has nothing to do with discrimination based on ethnic or national origin, color, race, religion, or sex [or residence of anyone].

All USSC case names are styled “Petitioner v. Respondent”, regardless of which party initiated the lawsuit in the lower court. The party that lost in the lower court is called the petitioner, and the party that prevailed is called the respondent.

DC lost in the lower court (DC becomes the petitioner).
Heller was the only one with “standing” in Parker et al. v DC (Heller becomes the respondent).

Therefore, if the USSC grants the petition for writ of certiorari (Cert.) the name should be “District of Columbia v. Heller et al.”

All papers submitted to the USSC will refer to the case as “Parker et al. v DC” UNTIL the USSC grants cert–[IF cert is granted] then it becomes a new case with a new name.

For the whole reasoning of why only Heller had standing, see the published decision in Parker v DC [PDF file], pages 5 through about 12.

The the gist of it is:

“The noteworthy distinction in this case—a distinction mentioned in appellants’ complaint and pressed by them on appeal—is that appellant Heller has applied for and been denied a registration certificate to own a handgun, a fact not present in Seegars. The denial of the gun license is significant; it constitutes an injury independent of the District’s prospective enforcement of its gun laws, and an injury to which the stringent requirements for pre-enforcement standing under Navegar and Seegars would not apply. Since D.C. Code § 22-4504 (prohibition against carrying a pistol without a license) and D.C. Code § 7-2507.02 (disassembly/trigger lock requirement) would amount to further conditions on the certificate Heller desires, Heller’s standing to pursue the license denial would subsume these other claims too.”


“In sum, we conclude that Heller has standing to raise his § 1983 challenge to specific provisions of the District’s gun control laws.”

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  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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