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Barrett Confirmation Hearings Begin Oct. 12; Judge Has 2A Record

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Hearings on President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court will begin Oct. 12 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Screen snip, YouTube, White House)
Hearings on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court will begin Oct. 12 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Screen snip, YouTube, White House)

U.S.A.-( Four days of what promise to be contentious, perhaps even hostile, confirmation hearings on the nomination of federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will begin Oct. 12, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told USA Today the Senate Judiciary Committee could clear the way for a confirmation vote by Oct. 26.

That date is loaded with historical irony. It will be the 139th anniversary of the famed “Gunfight at the OK Corral” in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. This year, the showdown will be of a different variety, but no less significant in a lasting political sense.

Judge Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump in a White House appearance Saturday. According to Fox News, the Republican National Committee has launched a $10 million campaign to promote Judge Barrett’s nomination and “hold Democrats accountable” for their “hypocrisy” on the nomination process.

On the other side, a group calling itself “Train Democrats” has unleashed an hysteria-laden email campaign to thwart the nomination.

“Why should Trump get to steal another Supreme Court Justice from Democrats,” the group complains. “It’s ridiculous!”

The group does not explain how Trump “stole” his first two nominations to the high court: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

One of President Trump’s most important campaign promises that he has endeavored to fulfill was to return balance to the federal court system by filling vacancies with constitutional-conservative judges and justices. In this way, he has suggested, he is protecting the Second Amendment.

In an interview with Fox News’ Pete Hegseth at the White House, the president suggested Barrett might be part of a high court ruling on Second Amendment issues.

“I feel I know what she’s doing on (the) Second Amendment, but I can’t really speak for her,” Trump said. “I’m picking a person. She’s going to have to rule the way she feels. The Second Amendment is under siege. If Joe Biden got in…I can’t imagine if that’s going to happen, but your Second Amendment’s going to be gone, and it’s going to be gone very quickly, I think.”

In a fact sheet produced by the Senate, two of Barrett positions dealing specifically with gun rights are highlighted:

  • “In Kanter v. Barr, 919 F.3d 437 (7th Cir. 2019), Judge Barrett demonstrated that she understands and appreciates the need to look to the Founders to understand the full scope of Second Amendment rights. She dissented from an opinion upholding federal and state bans on firearm ownership by a man who had pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud for falsely representing that certain therapeutic shoe inserts were Medicare-approved. While recognizing the undeniably compelling interest in protecting the public from gun violence, she concluded that a blanket ban on owning firearms by nonviolent felons is unconstitutional. Judge Barrett dug into the historical record and concluded that the Second Amendment, as understood by the average citizen at the time of the Founding, could not support such a ban; Founding-era legislatures stripped people of the right to bear arms when they judged it necessary for the public safety, not merely because they were felons.
  • “In United States v. Watson, 900 F.3d 892 (7th Cir. 2018), Judge Barrett held that mere possession of a gun does not give police the right to stop and investigate someone for potential wrongdoing. Police blocked and searched a man’s car based on an anonymous tip that a group of individuals possessed guns in a parking lot. But, she explained, under the Fourth Amendment, an officer cannot stop someone to investigate potential wrongdoing without reasonable suspicion that criminal activity may be afoot. Exercising one’s Second Amendment right to possess a firearm is not a crime. Thus, she explained, “citizens should be able to exercise the constitutional right to carry a gun without having the police stop them when they do so.”

In 2017, as noted by the Senate Republican Communications Center, the American Bar Association reported in a letter to Senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, “The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has completed its evaluation of the professional qualifications of Amy Coney Barrett, whom the President has nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. As you know, the Standing Committee confines its evaluation to the qualities of integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament. A Majority of the Standing Committee was of the opinion that Ms. Barrett is Well Qualified … The Majority Rating represents the Committee’s official rating.”

The letter came from Nancy Scott Degan, Chair, American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, the memo said.

The Senate Republicans also recalled the Washington Post quoted anti-gun Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer back in 2001 insisting an ABA evaluation is “the gold standard by which judicial candidates are judged.” Almost five years later, in an appearance on “Meet the Press,” Schumer again said, “The Bar Association is the gold standard…”

According to a Sept. 26 memo from the White House Office of Public Liaison, “When voting in 2016 the American people actively chose to support President Trump and his vision for the judiciary.” The memorandum added, “According to the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of Americans said the Supreme Court was “very important” to their vote in 2016.”

In a June 26, 2018 report, a Washington Post poll revealed, “26 percent of all Trump voters pointed to the Supreme Court was the reason they chose President Trump.”

If the Judiciary Committee does vote to send Barrett’s nomination to the Senate for confirmation by Oct. 26, that would give the Senate a week before the Nov. 3 election to take a confirmation vote.

As the president observed in his Fox News interview, “elections have consequences.” This fall’s elections could have enormous consequences on a number of issues, including the right to keep and bear arms. While Democrats and their media cheerleaders are focused on abortion rights, the Second Amendment is being kept back in the shadows. Only Trump has been consistent in his rallies to mention the amendment, invariably to huge crowd approval, indicating its importance to his supporters.

For decades, Democrats have pressed all manner of gun control, slowly eroding the right, which, in the language of the Constitution, “shall not be infringed.” Their acknowledgement of how far they have pushed came with the federal lawsuit challenging New York City’s ordinance on handgun transport, which forbade licensed handgun owners in the city to take their sidearms out of the city under any circumstances. When the high court accept the challenge from the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, officials in the Big Apple scrambled to change the law.

It amounted to an admission the city knew all along their restriction was unconstitutional, critics have suggested, so they didn’t want to give the Court an opportunity to strike it down, thus potentially opening the gate to further gun law challenges.

Anti-gun Democrat governments at the local and state levels have ratcheted down on gun rights for generations. Now, with a Barrett confirmation looming that will change the balance of the Court for the foreseeable future, those laws could face an onslaught of challenges from groups such as the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition and others.

As SAF’s Alan Gottlieb has observed, these efforts are designed to win back firearms freedoms “one lawsuit at a time,” and “Make the Second Amendment great again.”

About Dave WorkmanDave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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