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
Washington State Firearm Confiscation Law Found Unconstitutional

News  

Monday, October 26, 2020

Washington State Firearm Confiscation Law Found Unconstitutional

Earlier this year, in a ruling of first impression in Washington State, the Kitsap County District Court decided that the state’s compulsory “firearm surrender” laws violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and the analogous provisions ...

The Incredible Shrinking Gun Control Message

News  

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Incredible Shrinking Gun Control Message

Throughout the two presidential debates and single vice-presidential debate the moderators did not ask a single question about gun control or the right to keep and bear arms. The dearth of coverage on Second Amendment issues at ...

Was Bloomberg Group Shamed Into Being (Sort of) Honest?

News  

Monday, October 26, 2020

Was Bloomberg Group Shamed Into Being (Sort of) Honest?

The gun-ban proponents at Everytown, New York Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s personal anti-gun advocacy apparatus, have finally begun talking about guns in their political ads. In August and September, we pointed out that Everytown seemed rather focused in its ...

Anti-gun Politicians Seek to Tax Your Second Amendment Rights Into Oblivion

News  

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Anti-gun Politicians Seek to Tax Your Second Amendment Rights Into Oblivion

In 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court famously wrote:  “the power to tax involves the power to destroy ….”

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Your Action Needed: Urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF's Arbitrary Determination on "Honey Badger" Pistol!

News  

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Your Action Needed: Urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF's Arbitrary Determination on "Honey Badger" Pistol!

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) recently informed firearm manufacturer Q, LLC that, in ATF’s view, Q’s “Honey Badger” pistol with stabilizing brace is actually a short-barreled rifle and therefore subject to the National ...

The NRA Applauds Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett

News  

Monday, October 26, 2020

The NRA Applauds Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett

The NRA applauds President Trump and his nomination of Justice Barrett, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for their leadership and service during the confirmation process.

Joe Biden Told Voters the Second Amendment DOES NOT Protect an Individual Right

News  

Monday, September 21, 2020

Joe Biden Told Voters the Second Amendment DOES NOT Protect an Individual Right

During a September 2019 “townhall” hosted by New Hampshire ABC affiliate WMUR, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made clear that he does not believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms and ...

Please Urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF's Arbitrary Determination on "Honey Badger" Pistol

News  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Please Urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF's Arbitrary Determination on "Honey Badger" Pistol

As we reported last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) recently informed firearm manufacturer Q, LLC that, in ATF’s view, Q’s “Honey Badger” pistol with stabilizing brace is actually a short-barreled rifle and ...

Gun Control May be Wasting Away, But Not Because of COVID

News  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Gun Control May be Wasting Away, But Not Because of COVID

A recent article on a gun control news site laments that the COVID-19 pandemic has thwarted ballot initiatives to expand gun bans and restrictions. Initiatives in Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio and Oregon have stalled, allegedly due to the ...

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.