Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,300+ case briefs...

Johnson v. United States

United States Supreme Court
574 U.S. 1069 (2015)


Samuel Johnson (defendant) was a felon with an extensive criminal record. Johnson was being monitored by federal authorities, who suspected Johnson was planning to commit acts of terrorism. Johnson eventually showed an undercover agent several firearms in his possession. Johnson was then arrested and pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of federal law. The government (plaintiff) requested an enhanced sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act (the act). The act held that a felon in possession of a firearm faced more severe punishment if the felon had three or more previous convictions for violent felonies. A violent felony was defined as any felony involving conduct that presented a serious potential risk of physical injury to another. This section of the act was known as the residual clause. The government argued that three of Johnson’s previous convictions, including unlawful possession of a short-barrel shotgun, qualified as violent felonies. The trial court sided with the government, and sentenced Johnson to a 15-year prison term under the act. Johnson appealed his conviction. The Supreme Court granted certiorari on the issue of whether the residual clause was compatible with the Constitution’s prohibition on vague criminal laws.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

Concurrence (Kennedy, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 457,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 457,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,300 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial