Another Country Heard From: Mere Suggestions

On the one hand, you might think this is good news for NY staters.

Some NY agencies to stop enforcing gun law
When the SAFE Act became law, it emerged as one of the most controversial pieces of legislation on the books in New York.
In Erie County, including in Buffalo, people kept getting charged with a crime under that part of the law even though federal judges had struck it down.
Those defendants will soon see those charges dropped, said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.

And in the future, that charge will no longer be prosecuted in the county under his administration, according to Flynn.

Charges dismissed. Excellent.

On the other hand, the provision was struck down years ago. Why were they enforcing it at all?

On the gripping hand…

Rulings from federal courts below the U.S. Supreme Court ARE NOT BINDING ON STATE AGENCIES, so the 2013 and 2015 rulings on this part of the SAFE Act amount to MERE SUGGESTIONS, according to Flynn. It is up to individual county district attorneys to decide whether they will abide by the rulings of federal judges, he said.

Federal court rulings are not binding? Since when?

It isn’t like he’s in one federal court district, and the ruling came down from the other district. The ruling against the magazine limit (7 rounds in a 10-round magazine) was upheld by the 2nd Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. the 2nd Circuit covers the entire state, not to mention Connecticut and Vermont.

Yes, rulings are binding, if we still have a system of law, if New York (and Erie County) are still part of the United States of America.

It’s… nice that Flynn decided to obey the court. This time. But I’m deeply troubled by a district attorney who thinks it’s optional. Not according to the Constitution, Article III, Section 1.

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

And Section 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;— between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

States do not get to pick and choose with which “suggestions” they feel like complying. For instance, if the folks convicted under that unconstitutional provision were to sue in federal court for deprivation of rights under color of law, and win, Flynn doesn’t get to say, “Nah. We ain’t paying up. The Constitution doesn’t apply to us.”

Unless he’s acknowledging that he has seceded from the Union. Perhaps Flynn sees federal taxes as optional as well.

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