Bench Memos

NRA Opposes Merrick Garland Nomination

The Washington Post featured an op-ed by Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association, about why the NRA opposes Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Here’s what he says:

In 2008, the Supreme Court answered the question of whether individual citizens have a right to own a firearm in their homes for self-defense. It was Scalia who wrote the majority opinion in that case, District of Columbia v. Heller. That landmark decision made clear that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. Shockingly, the decision was only 5 to 4. Two years later, in McDonald v. Chicago, Scalia joined Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s opinion holding that that individual right is fundamental and applies to all Americans regardless of where they live. Once again, the decision was 5 to 4.

With Scalia’s tragic passing, there is no longer a majority of support for Heller and McDonald among the justices. Four justices believe law-abiding Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense, including handguns. Four justices do not. The math is simple — and frightening. So it’s no exaggeration to say that the future of gun ownership hangs in the balance. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, was unequivocal in a speech to the Harvard Club in the District, saying that she looked forward to a day when a future court overturns Heller. The men and women of the National Rifle Association will not sit idly by and watch that happen.

Cox explains why the NRA is so concerned about Garland’s record on the D.C. Circuit:

Obama has already nominated two Supreme Court justices who oppose our fundamental individual right to own firearms safely and responsibly. The NRA knows better than to expect anything different with his third choice. On Wednesday, he nominated Judge Merrick Garland, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court. From upholding a federal registry of law-abiding gun owners derived from the instant-background-check system created by the Brady Bill to siding with the District government by voting for a do-over in a Second Amendment decision that invalidated the D.C. handgun ban — exactly what the Supreme Court rightfully struck down in HellerGarland has proved, the NRA believes, he does not support the Second Amendment.

If Garland joins Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the court, we believe they will overturn Heller and McDonald at the first opportunity. While claiming to support Heller during her Senate confirmation hearings, Sotomayor wasted no time in trying to overturn that historic decision. Kagan spent her time in the Clinton White House pushing for gun control. Breyer has made his opposition to Heller and McDonald abundantly clear through his dissents in those cases. And as mentioned previously, Ginsburg publicly spoke about her desire for a future court to overturn Heller.

I could quote the whole thing. Read it here.

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