Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News Second Amendment

With Kennedy Retirement, Trump Can Secure and Strengthen a Pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court

Friday, June 29, 2018

With Kennedy Retirement, Trump Can Secure and Strengthen a Pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court

On Wednesday, Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he is retiring effective July 31. The move signals the end of Kennedy’s 30-year career on the nation’s highest court, which bore witness to its most important decisions concerning the Second Amendment. It also creates the opportunity for President Trump to appoint a replacement who will help reinvigorate the stalled progress in Second Amendment jurisprudence.


Gun rights supporters will remember Kennedy for his vote recognizing the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms in the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling. Kennedy reaffirmed his fidelity to this constitutional right in the 2010 case McDonald v. Chicago, which incorporated the individual right to keep and bear arms to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.

Kennedy was also at times critical of federal overreach into state matters concerning firearms regulation. In the 1995 case United States v. Lopez, Kennedy joined a 5-4 majority to strike down the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990, which the court determined went beyond the federal government’s authority to regulate interstate commerce. In the 1997 case Printz v. United States, Kennedy joined another 5-4 majority in determining that the federal government, through the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, could not force state and local law enforcement officers to conduct background checks on handgun buyers.

Since McDonald, however, the Supreme Court has shown a reluctance to defend the Second Amendment as a right commensurate with other portions of the Bill of Rights. In 2015, Justice Clarence Thomas was joined by Justice Antonin Scalia in a dissent from the denial of certiorari in Friedman v. Highland Park, a case which concerned a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. Thomas noted, “The Court’s refusal to review a decision that flouts two of our Second Amendment precedents stands in marked contrast to the Court’s willingness to summarily reverse courts that disregard our other constitutional decisions.”

Earlier this year, Thomas further expressed his frustration on this matter in a dissent from the denial of certiorari in Silvester v. Becerra, a case which challenged California’s 10-day firearms waiting period. Thomas explained, “If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt that this Court would intervene. But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court.” The justice went on to lament that “[t]he right to keep and bear arms is apparently this Court’s constitutional orphan.”

With Kennedy’s retirement, President Donald Trump now has his second opportunity to shape the Supreme Court.  There is every reason to believe that he will choose a nominee that will diligently work to uphold Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms.

The president’s previous choice, Justice Neil Gorsuch, wasted no time in declaring his support for the right to keep and bear arms. Less than three months after taking office, Gorsuch joined Thomas in a dissent from the denial of certiorari in Peruta v. California, a challenge to the state’s may-issue carry regime.

Moreover, defending the Second Amendment continues to be a focal point of the president’s agenda. On the same day as Kennedy’s retirement announcement, President Trump hosted a group of 150 student leaders at the Face-to-Face With Our Future event. During his remarks to the group, the president stated, “You have to believe in protecting the entire Constitution, as written, including the right to free speech and the right to keep and bear arms. Second Amendment.”

Even with a Republican majority in the Senate, gun rights supporters will need to once again become engaged in order to ensure that a pro-Second Amendment nominee reaches the bench. The president’s opponents are already calling on their allies in the Senate to oppose the unnamed Trump nominee by any and all means. Mere hours after Kennedy’s announcement, long-time MSNBC political commentator Chris Matthews likened the coming nomination clash to the Spanish Civil War.

That sort of hysteria aside, the stakes are indeed high. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor have all made clear their view that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right. And Justice Elena Kagan undoubtedly agrees with them.  At a 2009 lecture to the Harvard Club of Washington, D.C., Ginsburg went so far as to call for Heller to be overruled, telling the audience that the dissenting opinion in the case “appeal[ed] to the intelligence of a future day.” In 2016, Ginsburg reiterated her position, calling Heller “a very bad decision.”

In the coming weeks and months NRA-ILA will keep gun rights supporters up to date with the latest news regarding the nomination process and with information on what they can do to help secure a pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court that will protect the right to keep and bear arms for decades to come.  Stay tuned.


 

 

 

 

TRENDING NOW
California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Friday, October 11, 2019

California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Earlier today, Governor Newsom signed the seven anti-gun bills listed below into law.  

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, wants you to know he’s committed to keeping AR-15s “off the street.” But he’s also committed (for the time being) to selling other types of firearms.

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

Last week, economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center released “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2019,” his annual report on the number of concealed carry permit holders in the U.S.

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Monday, October 14, 2019

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Prior to the October 13 deadline, Governor Newsom signed the final anti-gun and anti-hunting bills, AB 1254 and SB 172 into law.  

Member Spotlight: Meet the Police Officer Who Told Congress She ‘Would Not Comply' with a Gun Ban

News  

Friday, October 4, 2019

Member Spotlight: Meet the Police Officer Who Told Congress She ‘Would Not Comply' with a Gun Ban

Last week, a retired Tulsa, Oklahoma law enforcement officer testified in a Congressional hearing that she “would not comply” if Congress passes a ban on firearms. Her bold assertion earned her national media attention and ...

Virginia’s Anti-gun Politicians Put Politics Before Fighting Gun Crime

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Virginia’s Anti-gun Politicians Put Politics Before Fighting Gun Crime

Virginia’s anti-gun politicians are serious about attacking law-abiding gun owners, but are indifferent about actual gun crime. As highlighted in a recent report in the Washington Free Beacon by Stephen Gutowski, the Virginia Department of Justice Services ...

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

News  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

On Sept. 25, the Democrat-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour “hearing” entitled “Protecting America From Assault Weapons.” That framing of the issue underscored the erroneous notion that Americans need protection from ...

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

The Nov. 5th election may be the most consequential ever for our Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth. That’s because every seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate is up for grabs and gun control ...

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.

NRA Supports Supreme Court Petition Against Massachusetts Semi-Auto Ban

News  

Friday, September 27, 2019

NRA Supports Supreme Court Petition Against Massachusetts Semi-Auto Ban

On Monday, the plaintiffs in the NRA-supported case of Worman v. Healey filed their petition for writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court of the United States. This case challenges Massachusetts’s unconstitutional ban on commonly-owned, semi-automatic firearms as a violation of ...

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.