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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wall Street Journal: Waiting on Gorsuch

Last week the Wall Street Journal had a great editorial on the recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision gutting the Heller Decision and the Second Amendment.  The editorial points out why millions of Americans who otherwise had doubts about Donald Trump ended up pulling the lever for him:
If you want to know why millions of Republicans voted for Donald Trump despite their doubts about his values or policies, look no further than Tuesday’s ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on gun rights. The 10-4 en banc decision shows how a liberal Supreme Court majority would eviscerate the Second Amendment.

The Fourth Circuit is one of several appellate courts that Barack Obama remade over eight years, and in Kolbe v. Hogan the liberal majority upheld Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act. That law bans firearms such as the popular, semiautomatic AR-15 rifle that gun-control advocates call an “assault weapon.”

The Supreme Court’s landmark D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008 upheld an individual right to bear arms, explicitly for guns in “common use.” But the Fourth Circuit’s judicial progressives didn’t let a mere precedent stand in their political way. They concocted a new “military use” legal test. Politicians can ban a firearm, they ruled, if a judge determines that it is “most useful in military service.”
post on this blog last week shared both Senator Ted Cruz's and Second Amendment Attorney Steve Halbrook's thoughts on the judicial acrobatics the majority performed in their opinion. Both pointed out how the court ignored the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans own and use AR-15 rifles for a number of lawful purposes.  The Wall Street Journal editors recognized this too:
This is also how a liberal Supreme Court majority would have gone about overturning Heller if Hillary Clinton been able to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Mr. Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch means that a new majority will soon be in place to reinforce Heller, and a good place to start would be to take the Fourth Circuit’s Kolbe ruling and reverse it after Mr. Gorsuch is confirmed.
The lower-courts have pretty much ignored the Heller and McDonald decisions and the Supreme Court's reluctance to take additional cases to put the lower courts in their place have not helped the situation.  This latest assault on gun rights by the 4th Circuit illustrates why President Trump needs to immediately fill the 18 seats currently open on federal appellate courts.
From Wall Street Journal
As noted on this blog previously, when Obama took office in 2009, 10 of 13 appellate courts had majorities appointed by GOP Presidents. Now nine of 13 have Democratic-appointed majorities. Not that a Republican appointee is automatically pro-rights because there were several in the majority opinion last week but you can bet most all of Obama's appointees are anti-rights.  Obama appointed 55 appellate judges in eight years, about one-third of the total. As the Journal noted in it's closing paragraph, President Trump and Republicans need to make filling the vacancies on the court a priority while they still have a Senate majority.

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