I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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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.


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