Meanwhile in Delaware: The Battle of 'Supplemental Authority' Rages on in Hunter Biden's Gun Case

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The June conviction of First Son Hunter Biden on gun charges in federal court in Delaware came as a surprise not because the evidence didn’t seem to support his guilt but because of the venue and his last name. 

That a jury of 12 of Hunter’s “peers” unanimously opted to hold him accountable for lying on a federal firearms form to procure a gun he was prohibited from possessing due to his ongoing drug/addiction issues carried some added schadenfreude in two respects: 1) it came just weeks after former President Donald Trump, his father’s chief political opponent, was convicted in Manhattan on specious business fraud charges; 2) his father has long been one of the loudest proponents of “gun control” and measures like the very statutes under which Hunter convicted.

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And in a rather ironic legal twist, some recent legal rulings from the very Supreme Court that President Joe Biden has repeatedly railed against for being “extremist” may wind up aiding in Hunter’s efforts to overturn his conviction. 

As we reported previously, the day after the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Snyder v. United States, Hunter’s legal team filed a “Notice of Supplemental Authority” in the Delaware District Court where he was convicted and where Judge Maryellen Noreika is considering his Motion(s) for Acquittal and Motion for New Trial. Their argument is essentially that a similar analysis of the statutory language under which Biden was charged raises the same issues as the Supreme Court found in Snyder, namely that the language is vague and fails to give “fair notice” to a would-be defendant as to what specific conduct is prohibited by the statute. 

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Following that, on July 1, the prosecution filed its response to Biden’s Notice of Supplemental Authority, in which it contended that “The Supreme Court’s decision in Snyder has no connection to the factual or legal issues before this Court.” Further, the prosecution contends, Biden waived his right to raise the issue of vagueness by failing to raise it in his initial Motion for Acquittal. 

Then, on July 2, the prosecution filed its own Notice of Supplemental Authority, in which it notes that the Supreme Court has now vacated and remanded the Fifth Circuit’s ruling in United States v. Daniels (on which Biden relied “extensively” in his Motion for Acquittal) for further consideration in light of the Court’s recent ruling in United States v. Rahimi

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While the Fifth Circuit held, in Daniels, that § 922(g)(3) (the same provision under which Hunter was convicted) was unconstitutional as applied to a recreational marijuana user, the Supreme Court’s order remanding the case indicates “that the Fifth and Third circuits incorrectly applied this standard and provide additional support for the conclusion that § 922(g)(3) is constitutional as applied to the defendant in this case,” per the Government

But wait — there’s more! On July 3, Hunter’s team responded to the Government’s Notice of Supplemental Authority, essentially pooh-poohing the significance of the Supreme Court’s granting of certiorari, then vacating and remanding lower court decisions on related issues. Hunter’s lawyers insist that these aren’t decisions on the merits and further point out that several other “GVRs” issued by the Court on the same day involved lower court decisions that had, in fact, rejected Second Amendment claims. They criticize the Government’s expansive reading of Rahimi and, for added measure, point out that this seems to run counter the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen.

The Special Counsel’s suggestion that Rahimi, coupled with the GVRs, means Section 922(g)(3) is close enough to the Founding Era precedents identified in Rahimi to be upheld tracks the very argument that was rejected in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, 597 U.S. 1 (2022). Rahimi and Bruen are bookends to the relevance of Founding Era surety laws.

So, at this point, we have a rolling gun battle (figuratively speaking and no pun intended, of course) between Joe Biden’s Department of Justice, which is trying to uphold a conviction of his son under gun control measures of the sort Joe Biden has long championed, and his son’s legal team, which is zealously championing the Second Amendment. And they are using recent rulings from the Supreme Court Joe Biden has repeatedly excoriated as ammo. 

Ya gotta love American jurisprudence!

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