The Buckeye Institute Calls on U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Citizens from Unelected Government Bureaucrats’ Attempts to Create New Crimes

Oct 04, 2019

Columbus, OH – On Thursday, The Buckeye Institute joined the Due Process Institute in filing an amicus brief in Guedes v. ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) calling on the United States Supreme Court to protect citizens from unelected government bureaucrats effectively redefining what constitutes a crime.

Guedes v. ATF applies well beyond the Second Amendment, and—if this practice is not reversed—would allow unelected government bureaucrats to define and create new crimes without the approval of Congress and in violation of the Constitution,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute. “Making something a crime is an awesome responsibility, and the Constitution is clear that doing so falls to our democratically-elected Congress, not unelected bureaucrats in agencies set up to enforce the laws. The Buckeye Institute calls on the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize that the rule of lenity—which requires courts to interpret vaguely worded criminal law in favor of defendants—must be the grounds on which this case is decided.”

The case arises from the ATF’s promulgation of a new regulation that redefines what Congress meant by the term “machinegun.” Damien Guedes and others filed a lawsuit challenging the ATF’s authority to redefine the term when Congress had previously explicitly refused to do so.

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UPDATE: March 2, 2020, cert was denied by the Supreme Court of the United States.