President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court got immediate opposition from Second Amendment organizations, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear the nomination is dead on arrival in the Senate.
Garland, who is the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is not considered to be a conservative jurist who could fill the seat left vacant by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. The Washington Times said that Garland “has a very liberal view on gun rights.” The newspaper quoted the Judicial Crisis Network, which reportedly plans to spend “at least $2 million” on an advertising effort to oppose the nomination.
National Rifle Association’s Chris Cox, executive director of the organization’s Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) issued a statement.
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“With Justice Scalia’s tragic passing,” Cox said, “there is no longer a majority of support among the justices for the fundamental, individual right to own a firearm for self-defense. Four justices believe law-abiding Americans have that right – and four justices do not. President Obama has nothing but contempt for the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners.”
Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation immediately reacted to the Garland announcement stating, “This is not a good nomination and Judge Garland should not be confirmed.”
Sen. McConnell used the opportunity to remind Democrats of the position they took during a previous election year when a Republican president was in office. Anti-gun Sen. Charles Schumer made that argument against a nomination by then-President George W. Bush. Now he’s singing a far different tune, admonishing the Senate to hold hearings on Garland’s nomination.
But McConnell suggested that politics is behind this nomination.
“It seems clear that President Obama made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election,” McConnell said.
Justice Scalia authored the landmark 2008 Second Amendment ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, which affirmed the Second Amendment protects an individual and fundamental civil right to own guns, notwithstanding service in some militia. Scalia was considered a cornerstone conservative on the court.
“Just as Second Amendment advocates have feared,” Gottlieb said in a statement to the press, “President Obama is trying to change the court’s makeup to destroy the individual right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb stated. “This administration has done everything it can to erode the Second Amendment, and turn a right into a government-regulated privilege.”
Noting that the president “has already nominated two Supreme Court justices who oppose the right to own firearms,” Cox said here is no reason to believe Obama has changed his approach this time.
“In fact,” Cox said, “a basic analysis of Merrick Garland’s judicial record shows that he does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. Therefore, the National Rifle Association, on behalf of our five million members and tens of millions of supporters across the country, strongly opposes the nomination of Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court.”