Court rejects challenge to regulation of gun silencers

Court rejects challenge to regulation of gun silencers

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to federal regulation of gun silencers Monday, just days after a gunman used one in a shooting rampage that killed 12 people in Virginia.

The justices did not comment in turning away appeals from two Kansas men who were convicted of violating federal law regulating silencers. The men argued that the constitutional right "to keep and bear arms" includes silencers.

The court's action in the silencer cases was among dozens of orders in pending appeals, including decisions to add an international child custody dispute and four other cases to next term's docket. The justices also will hear cases dealing with a death row inmate in Arizona, racial discrimination claims against Comcast by an African American owned media company, environmental cleanup at a Superfund site in Montana and a dispute between Intel Corp. and a retired Intel engineer.

The court also rejected an appeal from a Yemeni man who has been held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base for more than 17 years. But Justice Stephen Breyer said "it is past time" for the court to decide whether indefinite detention at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba is legal.

In the silencer cases, Kansas and seven other states joined in a court filing urging the justices to hear the appeals. The states said the court should affirm that the Second Amendment protects "silencers and other firearms accessories." The other states are: Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

President Donald Trump's administration asked the court to stay out of the case and leave the convictions in place.

Shane Cox, owner of a military surplus store, was convicted of making and transferring an unregistered silencer, and customer Jeremy Kettler was convicted of possessing one, all in violation of the 85-year-old National Firearms Act. Both men were sentenced to probation.

Meanwhile, police are trying to determine a motive for the deadly shootings in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Authorities have said that city employee DeWayne Craddock opened fire in a municipal building on May 31. Police say Craddock was armed with two semi-automatic handguns, a silencer and extended ammunition magazines.

Craddock later was killed in a shootout with police.

Supreme Court rules against oil drilling platform workers

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday against workers on oil drilling platforms off California who argued they should be paid for the off-work time they spend on the platform, including sleeping.

The high court said that federal law applies to the workers and doesn't require them to be paid for nonworking time spent at their work location on the Outer Continental Shelf. The workers had argued that California law, which would require them to be compensated for that time, should apply.

Justice Clarence Thomas said in an opinion that "federal law is the only law" that applies on the Outer Continental Shelf and "there has never been any overlapping state and federal jurisdiction there." The question, he said, was whether federal law addressed the question of off-work time spent on the oil rig. He said it did and didn't require the workers to be paid.

The case before the Supreme Court involved Brian Newton, who worked on drilling platforms off California's coast near Santa Barbara from 2013 to 2015. Like others living and working on the platform, he worked 14-day shifts, spending 12 hours working and 12 hours off work but on standby, where he could not leave the platform.

In 2015, Newton filed a class action lawsuit arguing that his former employer, Parker Drilling, was violating California law by, among other things, failing to pay workers for the time they spent on standby, including the time they spent sleeping.

In making their ruling, the justices had to grapple with a 1953 law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. It says federal law applies on the Outer Continental Shelf. But the law also says the laws of the adjacent state are federal law to the extent they are "applicable and not inconsistent" with other federal law. If "federal law applies to a particular issue, state law is inapplicable," Thomas wrote.

The case is Parker Drilling Mgmt. Services v. Newton, 18-389.

High Court rejects appeal from Guantanamo detainee

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from a Yemeni man who has been held without charges at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba for more than 17 years. One justice says "it is past time" to examine the indefinite detention of foreigners at the Guantanamo Bay base.

Detainee Moath Hamza Ahmed Al-Alwi says he is effectively consigned to life in prison after his capture in Pakistan and transfer to Guantanamo in January 2002. He says the high court needs to decide whether the 2001 congressional authorization to fight al-Qaida and the Taliban following the Sept. 11 attacks permits his ongoing detention.

The justices denied the appeal Monday. But Justice Stephen Breyer says the duration and changed nature of the fighting raise questions about whether detentions may continue.

Published: Tue, Jun 11, 2019