Legal Issues

Class v. United States ‘Victory’ Not the End of Gun Owner’s Case

Capitol Building

News of a recent gun-related Supreme Court opinion is making the rounds via emails and forums, with gun owners making breathless assumptions about the scope and significance of the decision. The case is Class v. United States, in which “A federal grand jury indicted petitioner, Rodney Class, for possessing firearms in his locked jeep, which was parked on the grounds of the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C.”

U.S. Capitol Building
The way the decision is being presented can lead to the assumption that the case is won, victory is complete, and gun owners can now ignore such statutes.

The way the decision is being presented can lead to the assumption that the case is won, victory is complete, and gun owners can now ignore such statutes.

“Rod Class Just WON His Supreme Court Case (Federal District Court Gun Case was Richard W. Roberts who decided to ‘retire’ after his frustrating time presiding over Rod’s Gun Case),” a typical summation declares.

There are some significant concerns raised in that brief assertion. First, Justice Roberts has been on “inactive senior status” on the DC District Court since March, 2016, “citing unspecified health issues.” He has since been battling sexual assault allegations.

Second, let’s look at the legal question SCOTUS actually considered:

“Does a guilty plea bar a criminal defendant from later appealing his conviction on the grounds that the statute of conviction violates the Constitution?”

It concluded 6-3, “A guilty plea by itself does not bar that appeal,” with Thomas, Kennedy and Alito dissenting. The order specifically states:

“[W]e hold that Rodney Class may pursue his constitutional claims on direct appeal. The contrary judgment of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

That’s it. This is not an end. This is a continuation.

Admittedly, reading threads on Mr. Class and his legal theories can lead down many divergent paths, some with unequivocal detractors and others with supporters passionately behind him. Going down them and taking “sides” is not the purpose of this piece, which is merely to emphasize what the Supreme Court actually said.

We interested gun owners can be excused in many cases for making assumptions and coming to hopeful conclusions. Most of us aren’t lawyers. I’m not, and don’t claim any particular legal acumen or insight aside from being able to read. So we owe it to ourselves—and especially to those we hope to inform—to do some basic fact-checking before passing information on as Gospel.

You can find out more about the case on SCOTUS blog and via a Google “News” search.

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Comments (10)

  1. “We the People” have been witness to this time and time again in area’s of this Country that does not care about any ruling passed down from the Supreme Court. D.C. on a regular basis violates the high court rulings and will still not allow Concealed Carry in the District of Columbia and this is just one example! These officals need to be rounded up and arrested for their Anit-Constitutional actions…PERIOD..!!!

  2. Knowing lawyers actually work for the courts how does that help a sovereign citizen on defending his 2nd amendment protections? The fact the 2nd amendment is written in plain English why do we need a corrupt government like our to reinterpret it for us? The fact is the Constitution is our license to bear arms anytime anywhere.

    1. Bill M I noticed you mentioned sovereign citizen. I wonder if you have done your research & learned what that really means. I have learned that the Supreme Court has rendered a decision many years ago stating that the 2 words are synonymous. There are some people saying you can be one, or the other, but not both; claiming that a sovereign is greater than a citizen. I guess that is if you are acting/operating as a 14th Amendment citizen. Which most of us seem to actually do because we are not familiar with the Common Law. The basic tenet of common law is do no harm. As long as we do not injure someone, damage someone’s property, or infringed on another’s rights we have not broken the law. In this case Mr. Glass broke no law. Therefore, he should be set free. One of the duties of a militia is to execute the laws of the nation. Mr. Glass’s rights were infringed upon. If there was a well regulated militia available they could have had a call to arms & had him released by force, if necessary. So why aren’t the 2nd Amendment advocates lobbying for a well regulated militia? The militia could solve many of our governments rights violations from a local level all the way to the federal level.

  3. It’s a victory only in one battle of his legal war that means he can keep fighting. Yes, and important victory, but because it means he can fight a more important battle for the rest of us.

  4. The Supreme Court. What did the framers think they were doing when they gave them Supreme power of the law??? They are politically appointed, then confirmed by the Senate that only has elections for 1/3 of the Senate every six years, All of them can hold office for life and most do. So where are the checks and balances in that system???
    What is your answer to the questions? Can their rulings be over turned or reversed?

  5. I am not sure what your comments about a judge on the DC Court of Appeals (Richard Roberts) have to do with this case. Justice Richard Roberts, who is on “Inactive Senior” status, is not on the US Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts is.

  6. David Codrea, Thank you for clarifying the court opinion and important facts.. Having read a few outlandish posts on the case I appreciate you on point analysis’

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