I meant to post this earlier, but I’ve been distracted by a few things – including talking to a potential new addition to the EVC program in Pennsylvania. Woo hoo. But, I’ve also been trying to keep up with the Kagan hearings. What’s interesting is that as I was reading Dave Kopel’s testimony on Kagan, I heard his concerns brought up by Sen. Jeff Sessions.
The unfortunate lesson of the confirmation of Justice Sotomayor is that Senators who care about the Second Amendment cannot rely on platitudes about “settled law” or even direct promises to abide by Heller. Before this Committee, Ms. Sotomayor declared, “I understand the individual right fully that the Supreme Court recognized in Heller.” And, “I understand how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans.
To the Senate Judiciary Committee, Justice Sotomayor repeatedly averred that Heller is “settled law.” The Associated Press reported that Sen. Mark Udall “said Sotomayor told him during a private meeting that she considers the 2008 ruling that struck down a Washington, D.C., handgun ban as settled law that would guide her decisions in future cases.”
Yet on June 28, 2010, Justice Sotomayor joined Justice Breyer‘s dissenting opinion in McDonald v. Chicago, and announced that Heller was wrongly decided and should be over-ruled. Apparently her true belief was not what she told this Committee, but instead: “In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense.”
So by “settled law,” nominee Sotomayor seems to have meant “not settled; should be overturned immediately.”
Accordingly, statements from Ms. Kagan about Heller being “settled law” provide not an iota of assurance that as a Justice she would support Heller, rather than attempt to eliminate it.