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Silveira v. Lockyer

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Briefs Filed in Support of Silveira v. Lockyer

Defendant Does Not Oppose Petition for Hearing

August 7, 2003
(updated with links to briefs Sept. 29, 2003) -- Several gun rights organizations met the August 7 deadline for filing an amicus brief in support of the Silveira v. Lockyer lawsuit. The organizations who filed "friend of the court" briefs in support of the case are as follows:

Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws
    Amicus brief: cover pg, brief, table, proof of service
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
    Amicus brief
Women Against Gun Control
    Amicus brief
Second Amendment Sisters
    Amicus brief

Pink Pistols
    Amicus brief

National Rifle Association
    Amicus brief

There is no record on the Supreme Court docket of any anti-gun groups filing in opposition. FYI, Emerson had zero amicus briefs filed. Bean had zero until after cert was granted -- and only had two from our side even then. (The pro-RKBA briefs in Bean were filed more than two months after anti-gunners had already filed an amicus brief.)

The most surprising among the above list was the NRA. NRA's "Chief Attorney" had earlier attempted to have the case dismissed. After he failed to have the case dismissed, he later threatened to file a brief in opposition to the case when it was appealed to the Supreme Court.

Gary Gorski, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said the law firm NRA had chosen to file the brief contacted him last week (end of July) and congratulated him on a quality Certiorari Petition to the Supreme Court. According to Gorski, the firm's representative informed him that NRA's brief would be in support and would be filed by the deadline. This is a welcome redirection of NRA's resources -- much better than having their attorney try to kill the case with the silly arguments he posed.

Each of the other organizations listed above was already expected to file in support of the Silveira plaintiffs -- the Silveira team sought them out, urged them to file and helped facilitate their presence in this matter. Gorski worked with their respective representatives to help them through the process as needed, and they got the job done. Kudos to each of them -- and to the many people involved -- for standing up for the Second Amendment in what could be the first pure Second Amendment case to be heard by the Supreme Court since 1939. 

The Justices return to the High Court the first week in October. They are expected to announce some time in their first week or two whether or not they will hear the Silveira case. (See update; this has changed.)

Attorneys for the Silveira plaintiffs are working on the plaintiffs' brief in anticipation of the case being heard. They believe the chances for the case being heard are "better than 90%." A recent action -- or inaction -- by California attorney general Bill Lockyer, a defendant in the case, might be another indicator of the case's potential for hearing. The State of California and Mr. Lockyer have chosen not to file a brief in opposition to the Petition filed by the plaintiffs. Typically, one would expect vehement opposition from defendants in such a high profile and potentially volatile case.


Once the Petition was filed at the Supreme Court, donations for the lawsuit dropped off sharply. This is to be expected, as some people want to know if the case will be heard before they pitch in their hard earned dollars. However, crucial work is currently being done to prepare for an eventual hearing, and that work needs immediate funding.

At this point, the main consideration to preparing a Supreme Court case is the realization that it's folly to file a case and then stop working until you are certain that a hearing will be granted. Winning briefs aren't simply thrown together; they are crafted and re-crafted, edited and refined -- over extended periods of time and with great forethought and careful analysis and calculation. If we stop work now and then find that we were correct -- that the Court is going to hear the case -- we've sold our objective short of its full potential. And, unfortunately, unless we come up with some money soon -- to pay the primary attorney doing the immensely powerful legal legwork -- work on the brief and many additional preparations is going to cease. And if we lose him to another project, he may not be available again once the Court agrees to hear the case. 

So please, if at all possible, trade a meal at a restaurant, a day at the shooting range or another small treat for a contribution to support a winning Supreme Court case. Liberty is worth every penny.

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Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

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