A unanimous three-judge panel found Tuesday that a district court judge sitting in New York should not have been assigned the case in which he ruled against Washington’s concealed carry permitting scheme.
This came as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit lifted an injunction issued in May barring Washington D.C. from applying its vague “good cause” test as part of its controversial may-issue gun licensing program that has declined more permits than it has granted.
The reason for this is that the judge in that case, Wrenn v D.C., U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin, had no jurisdiction to hear it.
“We realize that we are undoing the work of litigation to date, but we have no choice,” wrote Chief Judge David B. Sentelle, an appointment to the bench by President Ronald Reagan. “As the Supreme Court noted in Frad [Frad v. Kelly , 302 U.S. 312 (1937)], an order entered by a judge without jurisdiction is ‘null.’ ”
The other two panel judges, Cornelia T.L. Pillard and Laurence H. Silberman, appointments by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush respectively, backed Sentelle.
Scullin, of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, was assigned by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 to rehear arguments in another challenge to D.C.’s ban on issuing concealed carry permits – the Palmer case – after the district court judge who originally heard the case, Judge Henry H. Kennedy, retired without issuing a ruling.
Scullin found the city’s…