The Second Amendment Foundation has taken the unusual step of filing a petition for a writ of mandamus in the case of Palmer v. District of Columbia, which was filed in 2009 and is still awaiting a ruling by the federal district court.
This is SAF’s case concerning right-to-carry in the District of Columbia, the last remaining jurisdiction in the nation where citizens cannot carry a firearm in any manner outside their home for personal protection.
“We realize this is a difficult step to take,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “but this case has been languishing for 1,475 days, and counting since it was ready for decision. In our case in Moore v. Madigan, challenging the carry ban in Illinois, the trial court took 172 days to rule, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals took 202 days to issue its ruling on the appeal. We have been waiting well over four years for a decision in the Palmer case, which was filed in August 2009, and waiting four more is not an option.”
The SAF petition was filed in U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
“Win or lose,” the court document states, “Petitioners are entitled to a resolution of this important case-and to an appeal. Because the district court’s failure to decide the case impedes this Court’s appellate jurisdiction, because the delay in resolving this priority civil rights case is extreme, because no reason exists to believe an opinion will issue within another four years absent this Court’s intervention, and because Petitioners lack any other remedy, a writ of mandamus should issue directing the district court to forthwith produce an appealable order with a sufficiently-elaborated opinion. Petitioners respectfully submit that seven days would suffice.”
“The lower court’s failure to decide this case acts as a sort of decision in and of itself,” the petition adds. “Justice interminably delayed is justice denied. If Petitioners are forbidden from exercising a constitutional right, and the district court never rules on their challenge to that prohibition, the right is lost.”
“SAF reluctantly took this step,” Gottlieb explained, “because we simply cannot allow our case to lie around gathering dust. We are hopeful the Court of Appeals compels a swift ruling by the District Court so that we can move on with this case, if that becomes necessary.”
Logo courtesy Second Amendment Foundation