The Corner

Law & the Courts

Richard Blumenthal Lied about Amy Coney Barrett’s ‘Radical’ Quote

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) at the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill, October 12, 2020. (Shawn Thew/Pool via Reuters)

During his questioning of Amy Coney Barrett, Senator Richard Blumenthal claimed that the nominee had admitted in her dissent in Kanter v. Barr — a case that revolved around the gun rights of a convicted non-violent felon — that her position sounded “radical.”

When Barrett gently challenged Blumenthal, saying she didn’t recall ever having written those words, the senator assured her, more than once, that she had.

As with many things Blumenthal says, this was untrue. Nowhere in her dissent does Barrett write the word “radical,” or offer any position approaching an admission that her well-reasoned dissent sounded extreme.

The quote is apparently from a student event at which Barrett spoke. It is extracted from a portion of her talk in which Coney seems to be reiterating that violent felons should not be able to own firearms — rather than the one Blumenthal was attempting to ascribe to her.

“That sounds kind of radical, to say felons can have firearms,” Barrett said, according to the Free Beacon. “but I think it’s because what the long-standing prohibitions were, and in fact had been even under federal law until more recently, that violent felons couldn’t have firearms. What the history showed me is there’s been a long-standing practice of saying that those who pose a threat of violence to the community cannot have firearms. And that makes sense, right? History is consistent with common sense.”

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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