Law professor submits a Mean Girls "Frenemy of the Court" brief in US v. Rahimi

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

Before I started delving into court cases and reading decisions, opinions, dissents, and amicus briefs, as a non-lawyer, I had a high regard for law professors. I have a STEM background and the professors I learned from were brilliant and technically solid. That regard extended by default to law faculty. Slowly, that regard turned into skepticism and then into borderline contempt as I discovered arrogance, incompetence, an utter disregard for the Constitution, and a belittling of the average citizen in the writings of more than a handful of law professors.


Yesterday, I stumbled upon one of the worst pieces of writing in an amicus brief submitted in United States v. Rahimi. In case you missed it, this case questions whether or not someone can be stripped of their right to keep and bear arms after a civil proceeding granting a protective order, based on a finding of a “credible threat” of domestic violence to another person. This case is messy and has extremely poor optics; Zackey Rahimi is not a good person from the looks of it and no self-respecting father would want his daughter dating a man like Rahimi. But as the Fifth Circuit wrote, this case is not about deciding the outcome based on a laudable policy goal, but on the constitutionality of a statute under the Second Amendment.

The Fifth Circuit did its job honestly. But that triggered a George Washington Law School professor named Mary Ann Franks, who channeled her inner Regina George from Mean Girls, filing what can be described as a “Frenemy of the Court” filing:

The Constitution does not confer upon domestic abusers a right to possess firearms. Before District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022), it would have been unthinkable for any court—much less a U.S. Court of Appeals—to hold that the Constitution guarantees the right of an individual with a documented history of armed terrorization of intimate partners and the general public to possess lethal firearms. While Heller and Bruen do not command a contrary result, this case highlights how the invention and expansion of an individual right to bear arms leads to increasingly dangerous and grotesque consequences.

Based on its reasoning in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., 142 S. Ct. 2228 (2022), this Court must correct course on its Second Amendment jurisprudence. In Dobbs, this Court cited concern for the destruction of potential life in discarding the nearly fifty years of precedent of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 979 (1992). The threat to currently existing life posed by the possession of firearms, especially in the hands of domestic abusers, provides sufficient reason to correct the fifteen years of misguided precedent since Heller. Applying the logic of Dobbs and its treatment of history and stare decisis to this case makes clear that Heller and Bruen were egregiously wrong and must be overruled.

As nothing in the text or history of the Constitution supports an individual right to possess firearms, the government may regulate gun ownership for legitimate reasons. Considering the serious risks that domestic abusers with access to firearms pose to their intimate partners and their children, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8)’s goal of disarming abusers to prevent injury and death to women and children is not only legitimate, but compelling. Failure to apply the reasoning of Dobbs to this case would suggest that the Court’s concern for human life in Dobbs was a mere pretext; that its historic methods can be selectively implemented to reach a preferred conclusion; and that the Court’s real motivation is to sanctify gun culture, to the detriment of women, children, and minorities.


The purpose of a “Friend of the Court” (amicus) brief is to provide the Court useful information and insight that can help the Court in its decision making. Prof. Frank’s “Frenemy of the Court” brief is a too-cute-by-half trollwork that sounds like an audition for a law-themed theatrical production. Her concern about minorities, among whom I count myself, is nothing more than posturing and moral preening, especially as women and minorities load up on guns, to quote a popular Nirvana song.

I read through the entire amicus brief and it was painfully stupid and condescending. I should also note here that Prof. Franks is the author of the book, “Cult of the Constitution,” which calls for redoing not just the Second Amendment but also the First Amendment.

If this reflects on the academic acumen and attitude of law school faculty in general, the future is bleak. Thankfully, there is a minority of conservative, libertarian, and classical liberal law faculty who seem to be punching far above their weight class. They may be our only hope in legal academia.

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