The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of a West Virginia man for violating a federal law barring people convicted in domestic violence cases from possessing firearms.
In a 7-2 vote, the court ruled that a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., wrongly threw out the conviction of Randy Edward Hayes. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia dissented.
The federal government, gun control groups and women's rights advocates worried that a ruling for Hayes would have weakened the federal law enacted in 1996 that applied the 40-year-old ban on gun possession by a felon to people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Hayes' favor because the West Virginia state law on battery under which he was convicted did not contain specific wording about a domestic relationship between the offender and the victim.
Nine other appeals courts rejected that interpretation.