The Corner

Sometimes even law briefs can be funny

Remember that emotional petition by the District of Columbia? The one that said:

“Whatever right the Second Amendment guarantees, it does not require the District to stand by while its citizens die.”

Well this comes from the Heller brief — the response to that in the Second Amendment case before the Supreme Court.

Petitioners correctly note that the Second Amendment “does not require the District to stand by while its citizens die.” Pet. at 30 (emphasis added). Yet the city consistently fights to secure its right to stand by while its citizens are victimized by crime.

For example, the city has successfully defended its right to “stand by while its citizens” are raped, kidnapped from their homes, and further abused. Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. 1981) (en banc). The city has likewise successfully defended its right to “stand by” in the face of the worst urban rioting in our nation’s history. Westminster Investing Co. v. G.C. Murphy Co., 434 F.2d 521 (D.C. Cir. 1970).The city has even defended its right to “stand by while its citizens die” when the perpetrator is a police officer. Morgan v. District of Columbia, 468 A.2d 1306 (D.C. 1983) (en banc).

Indeed, the city has asserted its right to “stand by while its citizens die” in the course of volunteering their assistance to the police. Butera v. District of Columbia, 235 F.3d 637 (D.C. Cir. 2001).

Petitioners cannot be begrudged their arguments that they are under no general obligation to protect citizens from violent crime. As a matter of tort law, Petitioners’ position is consistent with accepted notions of sovereign immunity and the public duty doctrine. And as a matter of constitutional law, citizens do not enjoy any positive right to police protection. DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep’t of Social Servs., 489 U.S. 189 (1989); Castle Rock, 545 U.S. 748.

More details at dcguncase.com.

Most Popular

Elections

Hell, No

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National Review editorial ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National Review editorial ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More