B.L.U.F. If the case at hand is an outlier or the people involved are particularly sympathetic, the case law created in the case isn’t going to be very good.

Consider an EMT with a long history of service to his nation and his community. He finds a woman that he likes and starts a relationship with them. After a short(ish) period of time he discovers that his GF is toxic any many many ways so the tells her to go.

He makes every effort to make that separation as painless as possible. Bending over backwards, loaning her a vehicle, all sorts of things.

After months of separation she gets a bug in her ear and goes psycho ex. She goes to the judge and says that our EMT is stalking her. That she is afraid of him because he is one of those right-wing gun nuts. The judge listens to all of this testimony with nobody to stand up for our EMT.

The judge decides to grant a TRO with the right markers on it. Our EMT just became a prohibited person. Shortly thereafter the cops show up at our EMT’s home and tell him he has to hand over his weapons or dispose of them. Lucky for him he has that sort of friend you call when you need a backhoe and “we’ll never speak of this again” sort of friend.

Friend shows up and EMT sells all his firearms to his friend for a token amount.

Our EMT now enters a long legal battle to get his rights back.

Our EMT has cops and people in the community to testify to his virtue. He has proof he was out of town when psycho-ex claims she saw him, he has documentation that he was helping her get on her feet after the broke up. He has everything he needs to prove his innocence once he gets in front of the judge.


This is a “hard case”. Our EMT is exactly the sort of person that we want. He is a good person. Yet that TRO has striped him of his rights. He files a lawsuit against 18 USC § 922(g)(8) saying that it is unconstitutional when evaluated in regards to Bruen. The court agrees and rules that §922(g)(8) is unconstitutional.

And then the reason why this is bad (case) law. Did the judgement happen because our EMT is a good and virtuous person who was abused by the system? Or did it happen because the law is bad.

No matter what the actual reason, no matter how good the opinion, there will be many people that will question if this is “good case law”.


Now let’s consider a different person. We’ve got a guy that was arrested for shooting at people, he has a TRO on him because he beat the stuffing out of his girl friend and baby maker, he has had multiple run ins with law enforcement yet has never been convicted, he is not a felon.

When the cops arrest him they charge him with all the shooting he did. They find he is in possession of a firearm and that he has as TRO against him, so they stack a firearms charge on top of all the rest.

He files a case to have the firearms charge dropped because 18 USC §922(g)(8) is unconstitutional.

The court finds that §922(g)(8) is unconstitutional. Nobody things they did this because they had any real sympathy for the guy.

He deserves to spend time behind bars. He is a danger to himself and others and he committed multiple crimes.

That doesn’t change the undisputed fact that he is part of “the people” that are protected by our Constitution as amended by the Bill of Rights. The first still applies to him, as does the fourth and fifth. If those rights still apply to him, then so does the much more explicit second amendment “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

To quote Clarence Thomas “…Only then may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.'”. The second amendment is explicit and it issues an unqualified command upon our government.

Hard cases do make bad laws. I don’t like the fact that bad dudes are the center of some of the good 2A opinions that have been coming down.


Not long enough? Ok. I really wanted the quote from Thomas including “…the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.'”.

Regardless of what you think about the person, we have to judge the law based on the rule of law. Our country uses “common law” as its standard.

We have the law as passed by the people through their representatives. Those laws fit within a hierarchy. The top is our Constitution, as amended, at the bottom are the little rules, regulations, policies of your local government.

What those laws mean, how they are interpreted, is determined by the judicial system. Because we use “common law”, the decision in one court affects all other questions that are related. Since our courts are also exist in a hierarchy, we have the Supreme Court Of The United States at the top and all other inferior courts under them. The higher up the hierarchy the court is, the stronger their opinion becomes in case law.

We need good case law in support of the Second Amendment. This means that bad people are going to make Second Amendment claims in their defence. We can still want those bad people to be convicted, but of the bad things they did. We need the case law that comes out of these cases strengthening the courts interpretation of the Second Amendment.

For those that say that we can just have judges issue TRO’s that prohibit possession of firearms, that is not going to fly, long term. Where in the constitution does it say that a Judge can remove your right to free speech, freedom of religion, the right to petition your government, your right to be secure in your person and papers? It isn’t there.

There are very few situations where your rights can be removed.

We want good Case Law.

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By awa

2 thoughts on “Hard cases make bad law – Updated”
  1. “Lawful but Awful” can go both ways with constitutional law. One the one hand you have the Amy Gyger case, who believed she was in her own apartment when she shot an intruder in her dwelling and it turned-out, her exhausted mind was wrong on both counts. And on the other hand, you have the bad case scenario you presented AWA. Gyger was not guilty of murder, and I would argue she was not guilty of involuntary manslaughter either. But the wildcard factor of a jury then comes into play and in today’s society that’s a wildcard I don’t want—everyone’s a social justice activist endeavoring to signal their virtue to the world.

    What would be interesting is knowing the percentage of ‘hard or bad cases produces bad case law’ element within the system. Less than ten percent? How small a percentage is it? Righteous law-abiding citizens are ‘always’ judged within a system formed from the actions of the criminal element of society. And the criminal element of society has learned how to use that against the righteous who stand in their way.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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