U.S. Supreme Court Hears United States v. Rahimi on November 7, 2023

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in United States v. Rahimi, No. 22-915, on November 7. The case will determine whether it is constitutional to prohibit individuals who are subject to domestic violence protective orders from possessing firearms. 

The federal law at issue, Section 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(8), contains critical protections for Native women and children. It prohibits persons subject to a restraining/protective order for domestic violence and stalking from possessing firearms. This prohibition applies to orders issued in both tribal and state courts. Because this law is an important barrier between victims and homicide, and because Native women are more likely to be victimized by domestic violence than any other population in the United States, it is reasonable to expect that loss of these statutory protections would result in significant increases in firearm homicides across Indian country.

On August 21, 2023, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) filed an amicus brief in Rahimi, joined by tribal nations, two national organizations representing tribal nations, and eighteen Native and victim advocacy organizations including the Indian Law Resource Center. The amicus brief urges the Court to overturn the Fifth Circuit’s decision declaring §922(g)(8) unconstitutional. The brief is available to read at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/22/22-915/275832/20230821153716239_22-915tsacNationalIndigenousWomensResourceCenterEt.Al.pdf

The audio recording of the oral arguments heard by the Court will be posted and available for listening or download at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio/2023