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Mississippi Supreme Court reverses and renders, decides open carry statute constitutional

In a unanimous order signed by Justice Pierce that I can only read as saying, “Enough of this bullshit, already,” the Supreme Court today cut off briefing and ruled on the interlocutory appeal in the open carry case, reversing and rendering and holding that the statute is not ambiguous.

After stating the familiar standard for analyzing whether a statute is unconstitutionally vague, the Court holds:

This Court now finds that the Circuit Judge erred as a matter of law when he found House Bill 2 to be vague and, therefore, unconstitutional. He also erred when he stated that “a reasonable person reading the bill could not discern what the law allows and what it prohibited.

The injunction is therefore vacated and the lawsuit dismissed.

This was the expected result, although procedurally it arrived by a peculiar route.  Why did the state need to call what it was doing an interlocutory appeal?  Should not they have been able to directly appeal from an injunction?  And, procedurally, isn’t the route:  File a notice appeal, apply for a stay of the injunction in the trial court, then, when that is denied, ask for a stay in the Supreme Court (which, in granting the stay, would note on probability of success, “This turkey of a lawsuit is D.O.A.”)?

I know there is pretty much always more than one way to skin a cat, but using an interlocutory appeal to take up what looked to me a final order seems odd, and not seeking to stay the injunction when it was pretty clear it would get stayed if asked seems even odder.   But, resolving the case in the procedural posture in which it arrived, the Supreme Court did what I thought they’d do.

Here’s order.

Thanks to John Pittman Hey for the tip and the order.


17 comments to Mississippi Supreme Court reverses and renders, decides open carry statute constitutional

  • I wonder, slightly, why they dispatched the suit in an order, not in a published opinion.

  • Witness

    The rocket docket is appropriate for all appeals from Winston Kidd rulings. His reversal rate is second to only one.

  • Terminator

    What is there to cite in a published opinion? Would we need a published opinion to determine that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west?

  • NMC

    Apparently, since this was in sufficient dispute to produce a law suit, some one need such an opinion, Terminator.

    This one is too big a public mess to end in an order, in my opinion. I’d expect a quote from the statute (and then one could state, just look at this language. It’s clear. Case over) and maybe a tad more reasoning, although as Anderson has noted in his blog post, this may be all the reasoning the case deserved.

  • Terminator

    They write too many opinions. This case was very, very simple from the start. Why beat a dead horse? We have too many big egos on both appellate courts that exhibit a need to show how “smart” they think they are by writing very obvious opinions. Just my “opinion”.

  • They can write long ops and get the law very wrong, certainly. But as Tom notes, it’s odd to issue an order on “is the statute vague?” without even quoting the statute. I guess they figure we can look it up.

    A much more important omission, IMHO, is spanking the judge. When a trial court does something absurd, the MSSC should call it what it is. There’s no other meaningful governance of bad bench work in this state. Maybe that’s what the summary disposition was meant to convey, but it’s a bit subtle.

  • Terminator

    So, you expect the pot to scold the kettle?

  • Hootie Dasher

    I’m surprised the order is simple. Maybe the simplicity was the result of a compromise, i.e., get unanimity by simplicity.
    It’s time for apologies from those who called Andy Gipson an idiot.

  • Witness

    TBA – I agree, as you can tell from my first comment, on the need for a “spanking.” But given Winston Kidd’s extraordinary reversal rate over the years and his apparent unwillingness to learn from opinions designed to provide guidance, I think the MSSC has decided shunning best demonstrates their contempt. Now if the MSSC handed out sanctions to this judge like they have the Hinds County Circuit Clerk that might bring about change.

  • Justin

    So drafting and passing a law that is upheld as constitutional makes you not an idiot? I didn’t realize we set the bar so low for our legislators.

  • Andy Gipson is an idiot, but he is a constitutional idiot, not an unconstitutional idiot. On this issue, anyway.

    Witness, I don’t think Kidd gives a rat’s posterior for any “shunning.” He’s got his. Even my whinging about “spanking” is beside the point. They called him out in Rebelwood Apts. for facilitating perjury, and if there’s been any judicial-performance action arising out of that, I ain’t heard about it.

  • Kevin

    Winston Kidd knew he would be reversed. But he can go to his low-information constituents and say he stood up to Whitey.

    He’s unfit for the bench. Hinds County and Jackson deserve him.

  • Just taking a stab at this, but proceeding as an interlocutory appeal would reduce the chance that the MSSC could bounce the appeal under 54(b). The language used by Judge Kidd “shall not take effect until such time as the Legislature reviews, amends or clarifies House Bill 2″ arguably left issues before the trial court.

  • Randy has a good point, tho I have it on good authority that the authoring justice in particular has no use for 54(b). Maybe someone has explained it to him by now.

  • Re: Kevin at 9 a.m., great minds think alike. I quote from the JJ thread on this same order:

    Anonymous said…
    Two possibilities exist, and only two:

    1. Winston Kidd really is too stupid to understand the plain meaning of the statute; or

    2. Kidd knew he would be overturned by the Supremes, but can go back to his Stokes-Lumumba voting constituents and say, “I stood up to the white NRA Tea Party people.”

    Either way, he’s unfit for the bench.

    August 30, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    … Kevin should really get with this “Anonymous” person. They have a lot in common.

  • Hootie Dasher

    I’ve only met Andy Gipson twice. He seems reasonably intelligent. I didn’t get any impression he was an idiot at all. His bill has logic to it. Just seems to me that those calling him an idiot have no basis for it and are simply name-calling … maybe due to disagreeing with his 2nd amendment position which is silly.

    As to Kidd, I’ve only met him once that I recall and he didn’t seem able to string together cogent sentences. maybe he was tired, shy or simply didn’t care. But his legal opinions are becoming legendary for their vacuity…ahem reversal rate

  • Jeff Sutton

    The injunction that was handed down by the trial court was preliminary and would typically be followed up with a trial/hearing where evidence could be presented, all arguments would be fully considered and a decision for a permanent injunction would issue. A direct appeal of a matter is typically only available for a final order (a decision from the court that terminates the litigation at the trial level), i.e. a permanent injunction, whereas an interlocutory appeal can be used when there is an order that is not final (it doesn’t terminate the litigation at the trial level), i.e. a temporary injunction. There are instances where a party can pursue an interlocutory appeal, which was the case here, where they appeal a temporary order. These types of appeals are uncommon, hence the comment “procedurally it arrived by a peculiar route” and must be approved by the appellate court to even get considered.

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