Yes, you read that right:
At-issue in Voisine v. United States is a technical question of whether two men with convictions for “reckless” domestic assault fall under a federal law prohibiting people convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from possessing a firearm. The law prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing firearms wasn’t the question under discussion — instead, the question was how far that law reached over certain states’ differing domestic assault laws.
Justice Thomas, however, was very concerned in arguments about the broader law that domestic abusers at large can’t have guns — breaking 10 years of silence on the Court to complain at arguments in February.
“Give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right,” he asked, later suggesting that the particular domestic abusers in this case shouldn’t lose their ability to carry guns because they’ve never actually “use[d] a weapon against a family member.”
The opinion of the court, delivered today by Justice Kagan, held that the law prohibiting gun ownership does extend to individuals convicted of reckless domestic assault. Thomas, predictably, authored the dissent, with Justice Sotomayor joining for the first two parts, which take issue with the majority on technical legal grounds.