Supreme Court To Consider Scope of Domestic Violence Gun Ban
The US Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to consider the scope of a federal law that bans people who have been convicted of domestic violence from owning a gun.
In 2001, James Castleman pled guilty in Tennessee state court to misdemeanor domestic assault against the mother of his child and was sentenced to supervised probation for 11 months and 29 days. Then, in 2008, law enforcement agents found that Castleman and his wife were purchasing firearms from gun dealers and selling them on the black market. Castleman was subsequently charged in federal court with possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" and with making false statements to a federally licensed firearm dealer.
Castleman moved to dismiss the federal charges, arguing that his domestic assault conviction was not a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" as defined in the federal law because his state court conviction did not establish that Castleman had used physical force against the victim. A lower court and court of appeals agreed and threw out the indictment. The United States petitioned the Supreme Court for review.
The Supreme Court will now decide when the federal law banning gun ownership will apply to individuals convicted of domestic violence crimes. The Obama administration argues that if the Court upholds the lower court decisions, it will invalidate the federal domestic violence gun prohibition. The administration also argues that any assault that results in bodily injury includes some degree of physical force.
Oral arguments in United States v. Castleman have not yet been scheduled.
Media Resources: The Supreme Court of the United States
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .