The Sixth Circuit sat en banc yesterday to hear oral argument in Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Dep’t regarding whether or not a federal provision prohibiting the possession of a firearm by a person who has been confined to a mental institution violates the Second Amendment under Heller.  The original panel had sustained the plaintiff’s Second Amendment challenge to the federal law, something that no court of appeals had done since Heller.  We have previously reported on the case here, here, and here, flagging this case early on as a contender for eventual SCOTUS review.

Also yesterday, the Sixth Circuit granted rehearing en banc in Martinez v. USA, in which a divided panel held that Article 7 of the 1978 U.S.-Mexico extradition treaty incorporates  the Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment and remanded the petitioner’s speedy trial habeas claim to the district court for further consideration.  Judge Clay (joined by Judge Gilman) writing for the majority, rejected the argument that the “sole relevant purpose” of the treaty was “reciprocal surrender of suspected criminals,” and stated that “[i]nterpreting Article 7 to incorporate constitutional limits on oppressive prosecutorial delay is consistent with the protective purpose of the provision and its context.”  Judge Sutton dissented, cautioning that “[a]fter today’s decision, . . . extradition fights will turn on elastic speedy-trial claims.”

With so many Sixth Circuit judges in town, it was the perfect opportunity for a reception celebrating Chief Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr., as the first African-American Chief Judge of the Sixth Circuit.  The event was a collaboration between the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati, as well as the Federal Bar Association and the BLAC-CBA Roundtable of the Cincinnati Bar Association.  Among the many speakers honoring Chief Judge Cole were former Sixth Circuit Judge Nathaniel Jones, whom Judge Cole was appointed to replace, and the previous Chief Judge Alice Batchelder, who remains on the court.