WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 26, 2018) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced today that attorneys Thomas C. Goldstein and Daniel Woofter of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., have filed a new federal lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s “bump-stock” ban, and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker directly. A copy of the court filings can be viewed at www.whitakercase.com. Goldstein, widely known as one of the nation’s foremost appellate and Supreme Court practitioners, is lead counsel in the matter.
FPC, which owns a “bump-stock” device, seeks a preliminary injunction, a permanent injunction, and declaratory relief preventing Matthew G. Whitaker from exercising any authority as Acting Attorney General, and preventing from going into effect the ATF’s Final Rule on “Bump-Stock-Type Devices” (Docket No. ATF-2017R-22).
The case and motion argue that Acting Attorney General Mathew Whitaker, who President Trump placed into the role after the resignation of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has no authority to issue the rule because the President failed to adhere to the Constitution’s Appointments Clause and federal laws regarding succession and vacancies in the office.
“Mr. Whitaker’s designation as Acting Attorney General violates both the Constitution’s Appointments Clause . . . and the applicable statutes,” the motion argues. “Thus, he was not authorized to sign the Rule, and the Rule cannot go into effect without violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and irreparably harming Plaintiff and its members.”
“Whatever President Trump’s policy preferences, we believe that the Constitution and federal statutes require that the bump-stock rule be enjoined,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “The American people deserve a government that respects their rights, property, and the rule of law.”
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Mr. Goldstein is one of the nation’s most experienced Supreme Court practitioners, having served as counsel to a party in well over 100 merits cases at the Court, and personally arguing 42. Only 3 lawyers in the Court's modern history have argued more cases in private practice. He has been counsel on more successful petitions for certiorari over the past decade than any other lawyer in private practice. Over the past fifteen years, Goldstein & Russell, P.C.’s petitions for certiorari have been granted at a higher rate than any private law firm or legal clinic.
In addition to practicing law, Tom has taught Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard Law School since 2004, and previously taught the same subject at Stanford Law School for nearly a decade. Tom is also the co-founder and publisher of SCOTUSblog – a web-site devoted to comprehensive coverage of the Court – which is the only weblog ever to receive the Peabody Award.
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. FPC advocates on a wide variety of important constitutional, legal, policy, and social issues, including free speech, due process, separation of powers, limitations on government action, and others. FPC works to advance individual liberty through programs including strategic litigation, legal efforts, direct and grassroots advocacy, research, education, and outreach.