Support VSSA Advertisers

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Judge Kavanaugh's Confirmation Hearing Addresses Second Amendment

The New York Times has the story here.

When Senator Diane Feinstein asked Kavanaugh about his opinion in what is known as Heller 2 related to the ban on so-called "assault weapons" in DC, the exchange went like this:
Judge Kavanaugh expressed dismay about gun violence. But he defended a robust view of Second Amendment rights.

He was asked about his 2011 dissent in a case that upheld a ban in Washington on so-called assault weapons. The case was a sequel to District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to own handguns for self-defense in the home, striking down an earlier Washington law.

The majority in the appeals court ruled that the later ban was constitutional. On Wednesday, Judge Kavanaugh explained that he dissented because Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in the 2008 decision required it.

He acknowledged that Justice Scalia had said that many gun control laws were unaffected by the 2008 ruling. “Nothing in our opinion,” Justice Scalia wrote, “should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Judge Kavanaugh also said that the 2008 decision allowed machine guns to be prohibited, along with “dangerous and unusual weapons.” But he said semiautomatic weapons presented a different question.

“Most handguns are semiautomatic — something not everyone appreciates,” Judge Kavanaugh said on Wednesday. Similarly, he said, “semiautomatic rifles are widely possessed in the United States.”

“I have to follow the precedent of the Supreme Court as it’s written, and that’s what I tried to do in that case,” he said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, asked Judge Kavanaugh about the practical impact of his position in light of recent school shootings. He responded that school officials have taken steps to protect students.

“Senator,” he said, “of course the violence in the schools is something we all detest and want to do something about, and there are lots of efforts, I know, underway to make schools safer. I know at my girls’ school they do a lot of things now that are different than they did just a few years ago in terms of trying to harden the school and make it safer for everyone.”

“But as a judge my job, as I saw it,” he said, “was to follow the Second Amendment opinion of the Supreme Court whether I agreed with it or disagreed with it.”
Independence Institute Director of Research, Dave Kopel, has written that no nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court has had such a detailed record on Second Amendment as Brett Kavanaugh. The fact that President Trump nominated someone with such a detailed record on the issue says a lot in a time when most Presidents try to avoid controversy in their nominations.  Candidate Trump promised to protect our Second Amendment rights as President.  So far, he appears to have nominated two Supreme Court Justices that are in line with the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the issue.

No comments: