Supreme Court Will Hear UVA Law Clinic Case Involving Felons and Firearms Tuesday

Professor Dan Ortiz practices his argument with colleagues Tuesday as students in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic watch and prepare to give feedback.

February 20, 2015

At the Supreme Court on Tuesday, University of Virginia law professor Daniel Ortiz will argue a case at the intersection of criminal and property law involving felons' rights to own or sell non-contraband firearms.

Henderson v. United States is the 12th case UVA Law's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic has taken to Washington, and the fourth case Ortiz, the clinic's director, will argue before the court. Working in teams, students handle actual cases, from the seeking of Supreme Court review to briefing on the merits.

"The students in the clinic do everything except one thing which the court does not allow them to do," Ortiz said. "They cannot get up on the day of argument and represent the client before the Supreme Court."

In the days leading up to the argument, Ortiz has practiced before the clinic's students, UVA Law professors, and appellate litigators and Supreme Court experts who interrogate him in practice mooting, much as the justices will do on Tuesday.

Hendersoninvolves the "felon-in-possession" statute and former U.S. Border Patrol agent Tony Henderson, a Florida man charged with selling marijuana in 2006.

"This is a statute that makes it a crime for someone who's already been convicted of a felony to possess any firearms," Ortiz said. "While he was being prosecuted, the judge encouraged him to give all his firearms to the government for safekeeping, and he did."

Professor Ortiz Discusses Henderson

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