While the media and special interest groups on the left were losing their collective minds and spewing a host of unfounded accusations and threats against a Supreme Court Justice who had not even been selected, President Trump was finishing the selection process for the said nomination. While none of the finalists had a record of opposing citizen’s “Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh arguably had the strongest record of supporting the Second Amendment.
President Trump’s second pick for the Supreme Court—if confirmed in the senate—will strengthen the court’s resolve to preserve the right to self-defense. However, Judge Kavanaugh has to get through the confirmation process, and the anti-gunners, special interest groups, and liberal media are all lining up against him.
It is important to note that simply getting a Justice confirmed is not a slam-dunk that guarantees a bunch of onerous laws will be reversed or prevented in the future. During Judge Kavanaugh’s speech after his nomination, he said, “A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law.” Supporters of the Second Amendment can all breathe a collective sigh of relief as a result. However, Judge Kavanaugh also wrote a dissent that talked about laws that have “traditionally” been in place.
The weight given to a law that has “traditionally” been in place may mean he would not be likely to vote that the National Firearms Act of 1934 or Gun Control Act of 1968 were unconstitutional (today). Every indication of Judge Kavanaugh’s record indicates he is thoughtful and looks at every issue on a case-by-case basis, so the best we can say is that it is hard to predict how he would vote on issues such as those. We can, however, look to the past and recount his record on Second Amendment-related cases to draw inferences on how he may vote in the future.
Judge Kavanaugh’s record speaks volumes on his strict adherence to the constitution. For example, while on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Judge Kavanaugh recently wrote a minority dissent regarding a case many dubbed to be Heller II, specifically, Heller v. District of Columbia. Here is an important excerpt from that dissent.
In Heller, the Supreme Court held that handguns—the vast majority of which today are semiautomatic—are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens. There is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semiautomatic handguns and semiautomatic rifles. Semiautomatic rifles, like semiautomatic handguns, have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens for self-defense in the home, hunting, and other lawful uses. Moreover, semiautomatic handguns are used in connection with violent crimes far more than semiautomatic rifles are. It follows from Heller’s protection of semiautomatic handguns that semiautomatic rifles are also constitutionally protected and that D.C.’s ban on them is unconstitutional. (By contrast, fully automatic weapons, also known as machine guns, have traditionally been banned and may continue to be banned after Heller.)
D.C.’s registration requirement, which is significantly more stringent than any other federal or state gun law in the United States, is likewise unconstitutional. Heller and later McDonald [District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago] said that regulations on the sale, possession, or use of guns are permissible if they are within the class of traditional, “longstanding” gun regulations in the United States. Registration of all lawfully possessed guns—as distinct from licensing of gun owners or mandatory recordkeeping by gun sellers—has not traditionally been required in the United States and even today remains highly unusual. Under Heller’s history, and tradition-based test, D.C.’s registration requirement is therefore unconstitutional.
The National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation, and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, along with just about every other gun rights group, has applauded Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. His confirmation will be the next step to securing the future of the Second Amendment for future generations.
“On behalf of our 6 million members, the NRA strongly supports Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. We will be activating our members and tens of millions of supporters throughout the country in support of Judge Kavanaugh. He will protect our right to keep and bear arms and is an outstanding choice to fill Justice Kennedy’s seat,” said Chris Cox, executive director for the NRA-ILA.
In thinking of the record and character of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominations, Justice Gorsuch and Judge Kavanaugh, I was struck by a thought that sent a chill down my spine. Regardless of your personal politics, and just considering our Second Amendment rights, can you imagine the political bias against the Second Amendment that a “President” Hillary Clinton nominee would have brought to the court? The change of landscape that would have occurred with a Hillary-nominated candidate who would have replaced Justice Scalia is terrifying. Then, top that off with the fact that President Trump will likely—if reelected to another term—get to nominate at least one more person to the High Court and possibly two and it is a tremendous victory for gun owners.
However, as I previously noted, Judge Kavanaugh has to first be confirmed. A strong grassroots push by supporters of the Second Amendment will be necessary to counter the political forces working to oppose him, so get out and make your voice heard.
Do you support Judge Kavanaugh’s nominiation to be the next Supreme Court Justice? Why or why not? How do you think the Second Amendment would have been affected if Hillary Clinton had been elected and had the opportunities to nominate replacements for Justice Scalia and Kennedy? Share your answers in the comment section.
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