Setting Aside That I Want DC to Lose This Case...

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?


  1. I agree with your assessment that the Fenty Administration is letting us down. My favorite part of the gun case was when the DC government argued that, since DC isn't a state, the Bill of Rights and the rights granted therein to states alone do not also cover DC residents. So under that reasoning we DC residents wouldn't have the right to trial by jury, religious freedom or the freedom to write blogs, since those are all guaranteed only to individuals who live in states.

    What a crock.

  2. This is probably the best thing for the future of Morrison's career. DC is going to lose this case and tank whoever's careers are attached to it.

    Not to mention that any declines in gun violence since the ban can be directly correlated with national trends. I'm in favor of overturning the ban, but I won't be around by the time that happens. If DC turns into the wild west like Fenty believes, it will be his own fault but I'll still keep the rest of you in my prayers.

  3. Ok, wait a minute. Are you for or against the gun ban because by my reasoning I want every freaking gun off the streets that can be taken off the streets.

    The police are supposed to protect us from criminals, but they have not. I am as liberal as the next guy and frankly I would not care if you had a gun. I do care if you are shooting at me, or threatening me with a .38 for my pocket change.

    I don't own a gun; despite the fact that I am a black male. I don't need a gun and frankly, I am hard pressed to come up with a reason that anyone else needs a gun.

    Screw them, screw the second amendment, take the guns.

  4. "hard pressed to come up with a reason that anyone else needs a gun."

    The major purpose behind the 2nd Amendment is that an armed populace can overthrow the government. They believed bad governments should be overthrown, in other words. I, for one, would not like the only people to have guns be the police and the military, i.e. government employees. No way, no how.

  5. kristen s.

    "an armed populace can overthrow the government"

    That's probably right. But how did that "Branch Dividian" thing or that "Ruby Ridge" thing work out.

  6. I am for reasonable gun control. The handgun ban doesn't strike me as reasonable. It's an obvious affront to the Second Amendment and has done nothing to slow down Washington's crime rate.

  7. But the D.C. gun law only bans certain types of guns, i.e. "(1) Sawed-off shotgun; (2) Machine gun; (3) Short-barreled rifle; or (4) Pistol not validly registered to the current registrant in the District prior to September 24, 1976". It also requires that "each registrant shall keep any firearm in his possession unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device unless such firearm is kept at his place of business, or while being used for lawful recreational purposes within the District of Columbia".

    Other than being inconvenient, I don't see how the D.C. law violates the letter of the Second Amendment. District residents' right "to keep and bear Arms" isn't being infringed.

    But, you know, don't flame me for it. I'm playing devil's advocate here.