It's clear to me that the Acting DC Attorney General Peter Nickles is more interested in firing office rivals than winning a case that most in DC think is of the utmost importance to the city. Why else would you fire the attorney handling DC's right to ban handguns only months before he was scheduled to appear before the Supreme Court? Why would you change horses in the middle of a very deep and treacherous stream?
This isn't fighting a parking ticket. This is the Supreme Effing Court. This takes an amount of organization and discipline that many aren't capable of approaching. It's using sources from over 200 years ago to figure out exactly what those 27 words actually mean.
But Nickles didn't care about the biggest case the District has been involved in since my time here. Nickles only cared that Special Counsel Alan B. Morrison was hired by Nickles's long time rival, former Attorney General Linda Singer. When Singer resigned (because Nickels was overstepping his bounds as counsel to Mayor Fenty), Morrison was toast. No matter that there has been widespread and unanimous praise of Morrison's work. That wasn't as important to Nickles as his paranoid and delusional fantasies.
Describing their meeting, Morrison said Nickles asked him whether he "was part of a campaign" to discredit the Fenty administration in the news media after Singer's resignation.
"He hadn't made up his mind who would argue" the Supreme Court case, Morrison said, "but told me it was automatically disqualifying if I was part of a campaign."
Whoaaaa. That is some weird Manchurian Candidate shit right there.
Mayor Fenty supported the firing.
"It is important that he move quickly to build a team and a strategy to maximize our chances of winning this important case."
Well, that team and strategy already happened and the 15,000 word brief they produced was getting rave reviews. So starting over seems to be pretty preposterous. And Georgetown University Law School Professor David C. Vladeck agrees with me.
"This is a case that requires an unusual amount of preparation because one of the issues comes back to, 'What did those folks who wrote the Bill of Rights really mean when they wrote the Second Amendment?' " said Vladeck, who is friends with Morrison. "In addition to needing a good lawyer and appellate advocate, you need someone who has immersed himself in very complex historical sources. Alan has been doing that for two or three months by now. Whoever takes over this case will start many, many, many laps behind where we ought to be."
Office politics have become more important to the people in charge than a law that the Fenty Administration believes protects the safety of District residents. Think about those priorities. Morrison's firing is outrageous. And I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with Mayor Fenty and the advisers that have his ear. How this move can be interpreted as anything but a disaster is beyond me. What were these people thinking?