Obama-Appointed Judge Joins Pro-Gun Rights Ruling; WashPost Ignores That Angle

September 18th, 2015 4:14 PM

A federal appeals panel today ruled parts of a Washington, D.C. gun-regulation bill to be unconstitutional. One of the judges in the majority, Patricia Millett, is an Obama appointee who once clerked for a judge in the infamously left-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yet that angle of the story was curiously absent from Washington Post reporter Spencer Hsu's coverage of the ruling, even as he noted it was a George W. Bush appointee who dissented from ruling.

According to her bio on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Judge Millett (emphasis mine):

...was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals on December 10, 2013. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (summa cum laude) in 1985 and from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude) in 1988. After working in a private law firm (Miller & Chevalier) for two years, she clerked for Judge Thomas Tang of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Following her clerkship, she worked for four years on the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division in the United States Department of Justice and for eleven years as an Assistant in the Office of the Solicitor General. In September 2007, she became a partner leading the Supreme Court and appellate practices at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. She has argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is married and has two children.

Millett, you may recall, is one of the controversial appointments for whom Democrats nuked the filibuster to push through despite Republican opposition.

Here's Hsu's story, excerpted in full with portions in bold reflecting my emphasis to highlight the loaded language often deployed by liberal court reporters covering outcomes they don't like (emphasis mine):

A divided federal appeals court panel on Friday struck down the District’s one-gun-a-month law and several other city firearms regulations as unconstitutional. The decision continued a rollback of gun-control measures since a U.S. Supreme Court landmark 2008 decision reversed the city’s long-standing ban on keeping firearms in the home.

In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. knocked down several provisions of the District’s Firearms Amendment Act of 2012, including requirements that gun owners re-register weapons every three years, bring their firearm with them to be registered and pass a knowledge test of local laws.

[The court’s ruling]

Writing for the court, U.S. Circuit Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, a Reagan appointee, said the District government’s claim that limiting residents to registering one pistol every 30 days promotes public safety by reducing the number of guns on the street, “does not justify restricting an individual’s undoubted constitutional right to keep arms (plural) in his or her home.”

He continued, “Taken to its logical conclusion, that reasoning would justify a total ban on firearms kept in the home.”

In a dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, appointed by George W. Bush, warned that regulating firearms to “combat gun violence is a grave and complex task” and that she would have upheld all of the D.C. law.

“Today I fear the majority has initiated a retreat — at least in part — from the practice of restraint,” Henderson said.

The decision comes weeks before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. is set to hear oral arguments on a federal judge’s 2014 ruling striking down the District’s regulations for carrying concealed weapons.

“We’re not surprised,” Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) told WAMU-88.5 radio host Kojo Nnamdi, when asked about the court’s decision Friday. “Our gun laws have been under attack for many years. We obviously disagree.”

You'll notice there are two quotes which reflect the view of the losing party in this lawsuit, but only one which accords with the views of the petitioner, Mr. Dick Heller, a D.C. gun owner impacted negatively by the onerous restrictions on his right to keep and bear arms. Did Hsu even attempt to get a reaction from the winning party in this case before publishing his story?

You can read both the opinion and the dissent in today's ruling in Heller v. District of Columbia here.