Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Sotomayor's Bias

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Other than declaring war, neither house of Congress has a more solemn responsibility than the Senate’s role in confirming justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. As the Senate considers the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Americans are watching to see if this nominee would lend her support to those who’ve declared war on the rights of America’s 80 million gun owners.

After the first day of confirmation hearings, gun owners have good reason to worry. Those of us who respect the Second Amendment are concerned about the case of Maloney v. Cuomo, which reviewed whether this freedom applies to all law-abiding Americans or only to residents of Washington, D.C. If it’s incorporated, the Second Amendment prevents the states from disarming honest Americans. If it’s not, the Second Amendment is meaningless outside of our nation’s capital.

Judge Sotomayor was on the Second Circuit panel that decided the Maloney case in a short, unsigned, and clearly incorrect opinion. The fact that the Maloney panel misread precedent in order to avoid doing the Fourteenth Amendment “incorporation” analysis required by the Supreme Court is troubling to say the least.

Equally troubling is the fact that Judge Sotomayor said she wasn’t even familiar with the Supreme Court’s modern incorporation cases. There are few issues more important for a judge to understand than whether the fundamental guarantees in the Bill of Rights apply to all Americans. Our First Amendment right to free speech applies to all Americans. Our Fourth Amendment protection from illegal search and seizure applies to all Americans. It’s hard to believe that a potential Supreme Court justice wouldn’t be familiar with those cases.

Despite that judicial amnesia, Judge Sotomayor co-authored an opinion -- in January of this year -- holding that the Second Amendment does not apply to the States. So that leaves two options: either she failed to follow the Supreme Court's direction in Heller that judges are required to analyze the modern incorporation cases; or she actually did review those cases, but came to an incorrect conclusion. Neither option gives gun owners much confidence in her view of the Second Amendment.

It is only by ignoring history that any court can say—as the Second and Seventh Circuits did—that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to the states. The one part of the Bill of Rights that Congress clearly intended to apply to all Americans was the Second Amendment. History is clear on this point. In his speech introducing the proposed amendment, for example, Senator Jacob M. Howard listed the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights “such as … the right to keep and bear arms,” and said the proposed amendment would “restrain the power of the States and compel them at all times to respect these great fundamental guarantees.”

Under questioning, Judge Sotomayor was also evasive on the question of whether the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right. In fact, her previous decision in United States v. Sanchez-Villar held that it was not. Let me be clear on this -- any judge who does not believe the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right is unacceptable to gun owners.

Judges often try to hide behind precedent in order to avoid answering fundamental constitutional questions during confirmation hearings. But history has shown that, in many cases, precedent was wrong and needed to be changed. It was wrong when precedent prevented an African-Americans’ vote from counting the same as a white man’s. And it was wrong when precedent prevented African-Americans from owning firearms. It was equally wrong when precedent prevented women from voting. It took people with courage and conviction to stand up against this type of ill-conceived precedent.

This nation was founded on a set of fundamental freedoms. Our Constitution does not give us those freedoms – it guarantees and protects them. The right to defend ourselves and our loved ones is one of those. The individual right to keep and bear arms is another. These truths are what defines us as Americans.

The Supreme Court is compelled to respect the Second and Fourteenth Amendments and to interpret and apply them correctly. The cases in which Judge Sotomayor and her colleagues have mishandled these issues raise serious questions about her fitness to serve on the highest Court in the land.

TRENDING NOW
U.S. Supreme Court Schedules NRA-Supported Second Amendment Case for Argument

News  

Friday, September 20, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Schedules NRA-Supported Second Amendment Case for Argument

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a gun control law for the first time in nearly 10 years. The case arose from a New York City regulation that banned ...

Beto Going All-In on Confiscation

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Beto Going All-In on Confiscation

Democrat Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke continues to struggle to gain any sort of traction for his campaign. With some polls putting him in 10th place, and his average sitting around 7th, some might say that it is desperation ...

NRA Names Jason Ouimet to Head NRA Institute for Legislative Action

News  

Hunting  

Thursday, September 19, 2019

NRA Names Jason Ouimet to Head NRA Institute for Legislative Action

The National Rifle Association’s executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, has named Jason Ouimet to serve as executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). The NRA Board of Directors unanimously affirmed ...

California: Carson City Council Fails to Pass Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

California: Carson City Council Fails to Pass Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Yesterday, September 17, the Carson City Council failed to pass anti-gun Resolution 19-1693.  ​The resolution was being pushed by Mayor Albert Robles in an effort to prohibit firearm dealers and firearm possession in the City of Carson to the ...

Tell Your Lawmakers: No Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban!

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tell Your Lawmakers: No Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban!

The Democrat Party is now so aligned with gun control that every major candidate running for its 2020 presidential nomination recently appeared in a propaganda video produced by one of the nation’s most active firearm prohibition groups. ...

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

Friday, September 20, 2019

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

On September 19th, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Representative Melissa Sargent (D-48), and Senator Lena Taylor (D-4) held a press conference calling on the Legislature to violate the Second Amendment by: 1) ...

NRA Files Suit Against San Francisco for Violating First Amendment

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

NRA Files Suit Against San Francisco for Violating First Amendment

On September 3, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors smeared millions of law-abiding Americans by unanimously adopting a resolution that designated NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.” Less than one week later, on September 9, NRA filed a federal lawsuit ...

New Hampshire: House to Vote on Gov. Sununu's Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Hampshire: House to Vote on Gov. Sununu's Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

On Wednesday, September 18th, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on Governor Chris Sununu's vetoes of three anti-gun bills sent to his desk by the General Court.  Anti-gun Representatives who remain stubbornly committed to ...

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

News  

Friday, August 30, 2019

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

After decades of NASCAR drivers literally turning left for hours every race day (road course races excluded, of course), the governing body appears to be taking a figurative left turn, politically. K-Var, a retailer in outdoor and ...

House Democrats Continue Unprecedented Push for More Gun Control

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

House Democrats Continue Unprecedented Push for More Gun Control

As was continually threatened while Congress was on its six-week Summer break, House Democrats hastily convened a hearing on Tuesday to promote their latest batch of anti-gun bills.  The House Judiciary Committee’s markup of three bills, ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.