The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

"The Court does not know how [the state] prioritizes projects, but dealing with an unconstitutional law should be towards the top of the list"


In August, U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii struck down the California 10-day waiting period to buy guns for people who are known to the state to already own guns—a narrow but significant Second Amendment decision. Today, Judge Ishii declined to issue a stay of his decision; here's part of the reasoning (paragraph breaks added)

With respect to administrative and fiscal costs, the Court agrees with Defendant that hiring and training additional personnel, as well as hiring outside contractors, would represent an additional expenditure of funds that Defendant would likely not be able to recover [in the event a stay isn't issued, but the district court decision is eventually reversed]. However, Defendant [Attorney General Kamala Harris] acknowledges that she has computer personnel who could modify the system.

The problem is that Defendant believes that other projects are deserving of greater priority. There is no description of what these critical projects are or when the deadlines might be, nor is there an explanation of why outside contractors cannot be utilized for some of those projects, nor is there an explanation of why computer personnel from different departments or agencies cannot be utilized. A bench trial has concluded, and a law that is actively being enforced has been found to be unconstitutional.

The Court does not know how Defendant or the BOF prioritizes projects, but dealing with an unconstitutional law should be towards the top of the list. It is true that redirecting personnel may cause difficulties, but there is not enough before the Court for it to conclude that Defendant probably would suffer irreparable harm from such redirection. The Court is not satisfied that Defendant has demonstrated irreparable fiscal or administrative harm.

Thanks to Brandon Combs (Calguns Foundation) for the pointer.