SW Legal Educational Publishing

Court Has No Jurisdiction to Review Statutory Privileges Suspended by Congress
Description Appeals court held that federal courts did not have jurisdiction to review applications submitted by felons to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms requesting to have their right to possess firearms restored. Congress ordered the agency not to consider such applications, so none were possible and the courts could not intervene.
Topic Administrative Law
Key Words Judicial Review; Administrative Proceedings
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Mullis was convicted of a non-violent felony in 1994. As a result he was not allowed to possess a firearm. An avid hunter, he applied to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (AFT) in 1996 and 1997 to be allowed to possess a firearm. The ATF responded that it could not consider the application because Congress forbade the ATF from using any appropriated funds to evaluate such requests. In 1998 he filed suit to remove his federal firearm disability. The ATF argued that the court did not have jurisdiction to consider the suit. The court held that since Mullis was not likely to endanger public safety the firearm disability was to be removed. The ATF appealed.
Decision Reversed. The statute that authorizes application to the ATF for restoration of firearm privileges doe not permit independent judicial review except in cases in which the ATF denied an application at its discretion. The ATF did not review the application because Congress ordered it not to review applications, so there was no discretionary denial by the agency. By withdrawing funding for reviewing applications, Congress suspended the statute that would allow felons to be considered for firearm privileges. The court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to review the matter.
Citation Mullis v. U.S., 230 F.3d 215 (6th Cir., 2000)

Back to Administrative Law Listings

©1997-2002  SW Legal Studies in Business. All Rights Reserved.