Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

They Shoot, They Score


The NRA had issued statements expressing concern and ultimately opposing Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation based upon her anti-Second Amendment record, and her failure to adequately allay concerns about that record during the hearings—but the big question remained: would they pull the trigger and score the vote?  The NRA grades congressmen based upon gun-related legislation or nomination votes that they choose to “score.”  Thus, if the Sotomayor confirmation vote were not scored, a Senator could have a perfect rating from the NRA, even if  they cast a vote regarding Sotomayor that could do long-term damage to gun owner’s interests.  Today, the NRA sent a letter to Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell confirming that they will be scoring the vote.

Why does this matter?   Just ask Harry Reid.  He joined 19 other Democrats in voting for Thune’s concealed-carry amendment yesterday–an NRA scored vote.   Democrats crossing the line included:

Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Casey (D-PA)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Feingold (D-WI)
Hagan (D-NC)
Johnson (D-SD)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reid (D-NV)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)

Indeed, Reid joined 15 Democrats who, in three other NRA-scored votes this year, consistently voted the pro-gun position. The scorecard ends up being very important in red state races, where voters scrutinize a candidate’s gun-rights record—whether that candidate is a Republican or as a Democrat.  The White House will undoubtedly put tremendous pressure on these red-state Democrats to vote for Sotomayor, but given the NRA’s decision to score, they will likely be seeing increased pressure from constituents, as well, whether now, or come re-election time when they have to explain their vote.


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