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Joint Statement On Judge Sotomayor's Nomination To The U.S. Supreme Court

Thursday, July 16, 2009

By NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre,
and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox

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 have been watching to see whether this nominee – if confirmed – would respect the Second Amendment or side with those who have declared war on the rights of America's 80 million gun owners. 

From the outset, the National Rifle Association has respected the confirmation process and hoped for mainstream answers to bedrock questions.  Unfortunately, Judge Sotomayor's judicial record and testimony clearly demonstrate a hostile view of the Second Amendment and the fundamental right of self-defense guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. 

It is only by ignoring history that any judge can say that the Second Amendment is not a fundamental right and does not apply to the states. The one part of the Bill of Rights that Congress clearly intended to apply to all Americans in passing the Fourteenth Amendment was the Second Amendment.  History and congressional debate are clear on this point. 

Yet Judge Sotomayor seems to believe that the Second Amendment is limited only to the residents of federal enclaves such as Washington, D.C. and does not protect all Americans living in every corner of this nation.  In her Maloney opinion and during the confirmation hearings, she deliberately misread Supreme Court precedent to support her incorrect view. 

In last year's historic Heller decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees the individual's right to own firearms and recognizes the inherent right of self-defense.  In addition, the Court required lower courts to apply the Twentieth Century cases it has used to incorporate a majority of the Bill of Rights to the States.  Yet in her Maloney opinion, Judge Sotomayor dismissed that requirement, mistakenly relying instead on 19th century jurisprudence to hold that the Second Amendment does not apply to the States. 

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 our loved ones and ourselves is one of those. The individual right to keep and bear arms is another. These truths are what define us as Americans. Yet, Judge Sotomayor takes an opposite view, contrary to the views of our Founding Fathers, the Supreme Court, and the vast majority of the American people. 

We believe any individual who does not agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right and who does not respect our God-given right of self-defense should not serve on any court, much less the highest court in the land. Therefore, the National Rifle Association of America opposes the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the position of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Read the letter sent to members of the U.S. Senate.

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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.