Jump to content

Aposhian v Garland - Bump stock ban


Euler
 Share

Recommended Posts

Docket

...

The Questions Presented are:

(1) Whether courts should defer under Chevron to an agency interpretation of federal law when the federal government affirmatively disavows Chevron deference.

(2) Whether the Chevron framework applies to statutes with criminal-law applications.

(3) Whether, if a court determines that a statute with criminal-law applications is ambiguous, the rule of lenity requires the court to construe the statute in favor of the criminal defendant, notwithstanding a contrary federal agency construction.

...

The term "machinegun" means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under control of a person.

...

This Petition raises purely legal issues of exceptional importance regarding the scope of deference under Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. .... Relying on Chevron deference, a sharply divided Tenth Circuit panel upheld the challenged ATF regulation at issue here -- despite the fact that the agency itself expressly disavowed such deference and defended the regulation as the best reading of the plain language of the statute at issue. In both the appeals court and the district court, the Government affirmatively insisted that ATF was not entitled to Chevron deference because the statute's language is unambiguous. ... The panel majority, however, would not take no for an answer and granted the Government deference over its protestations.

 

The decision ... is all the more startling since the statute at issue imposes criminal penalties for violations. The panel majority held that the agency's construction of a criminal statute is entitled to Chevron deference, provided that Congress has delegated rulemaking authority to the agency and the agency promulgates its interpretation by means of formal rulemaking. ... The panel held further that the rule of lenity is inapplicable in cases to which Chevron applies. ...

...

Moreover, resolution of the legal issues here is likely outcome determinative. Unlike the district court, in upholding the ATF's regulation, the panel majority below never suggested that ATF's construction was the best reading of the statute. Rather, it simply deferred to ATF's rule as a reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute. ... But eight federal appeals court judges have now issued opinions evaluating ATF's interpretation of the statute without placing a Chevron thumb on the scale in the Government's favor. Every one of those judges has concluded ATF's interpretation is incorrect.

 

Petitioners respectfully submit that this Court should grant this Petition and hold Chevron inapplicable.

...

 

"Chevron deference" is a reference to the stated Chevron case, wherein the Supreme Court ruled that a regulatory agency has the power to interpret the laws that it is charged with enforcing.

 

In this case, the ATF did not seek such deference with respect to the NFA of 1934 and specifically denied that it needed it. Nevertheless the lower courts cited Chevron deference as the reason they ruled that the ATF has the power to ban bump stocks. Basically the courts avoided interpreting the NFA of 1934 and instead relied on the ATF's interpretation.

 

If the Supreme Court grants this petition and subsequently decides in favor of Aposhian, it doesn't mean that the ATF doesn't have the power to ban bump stocks. It means that the case will be sent back to the lower courts with instructions that the ATF doesn't get Chevron deference. In other words, the lower courts will have to interpret the NFA of 1934 for themselves.

Edited by Euler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

" Supreme Court ruled that a regulatory agency has the power to interpret the laws that it is charged with enforcing."

I'm wondering why this is a problem. This makes reasonable sense. If courts find the agency misinterpreted the statute, the regulations (interpretation) get changed.

I predict SCOTUS will affirm Chevron on the first two counts. The third one, I think could go lenient to the defendant.

Edited by BobPistol
Link to comment
Share on other sites

" Supreme Court ruled that a regulatory agency has the power to interpret the laws that it is charged with enforcing."

 

I'm wondering why this is a problem. This makes reasonable sense. If courts find the agency misinterpreted the statute, the regulations (interpretation) get changed.

I predict SCOTUS will affirm Chevron on the first two counts. The third one, I think could go lenient to the defendant.

This never happens under Chevron, quite the opposite in fact. The Chevron defense essentially says the court can't find an agency misinterpreted a statute, because agency's power to interpret the statute supersedes the court's interpretation

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...