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Kopel on Sotomayor

Dave Kopel discusses the new Supreme Court nominee’s likely views on the Second Amendment based on a very recent decision that Sotomayor played a role in coming out of New York.  His analysis is fairly thorough, and he ends with this concern:

Judge Sotomayor’s record suggests hostility, rather than empathy, for the tens of millions of Americans who exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

21 Responses to “Kopel on Sotomayor”

  1. Ken says:

    So the question is, is the pro-2a community, online and otherwise, planning to attempt to stop this nomination? Considering that even Democrats do their damnedest to get an A rating from the NRA these days, if we can get a grass-roots opposition going we might be able to stop this nomination–or, failing that, send a number of Democrats in pro-gun districts down to defeat in 2010.

    At the very least, we need to force her to take a yea or nay position on Heller.

    • Bitter says:

      I don’t know if the right will be able to defeat her. It depends on what comes out about her, and I don’t pretend to have caught up with the flurry of releases from various right-of-center groups and people.

      However, on the question of posing an up or down on Heller should be fairly easy. Tom Coburn is on the Judiciary Committee, and he’s been a go-to-guy for 2A issues as of late. Of course, most of the Dems on the Committee are vehemently anti-gun, so that could impact the answer.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I think it needs to be made an issue, but whether it’s enough to scuttle her, I don’t know. It also has the same problem the Holder nomination did…. even if you win, Obama will have something right behind her who is just as bad on the gun issue. You’re not likely to get a pro-2A justice out of this administration.

  3. Ken says:

    Every time Obama appoints an anti-gunner to be a SC Injustice, he will lose support. Gun rights is the most popular “conservative” position out there.

    Actually, this is less about who ultimately gets it than it is about forcing 2A issues front and center. In a time when the Republican Party was enormously popular, in 2003, President Bush limited its success by announcing his support for the AWB. Had he not done so, we might today have 50 seats in the Senate instead of 40. The GOP needs to–to use a phrase that used to be popular on the Left–get “in the pocket of the NRA.” This is potentially a huge vote-getter, the way capital punishment was in the Eighties. But it won’t be if we don’t fight hard for it.

    • Bitter says:

      I disagree. A lot of people support the Second Amendment, but only a few actually give enough of a damn to do something about it. I can’t tell you how many times I’d run into people volunteering at the various campaign offices who said they agreed with me on the Second Amendment, but they didn’t consider it a priority. If you survey them, they will show you support. If you ask them to act on it, they have other priorities. Slightly worrisome is that I fear if you poll them on very specific issues within the gun issue, you’d see some of the support start to fade. (We need to seal up our support on controversial issues a bit.)

      That said, I would like the Second Amendment to become a litmus test. I’m not sure exactly what we have to do to make it so, other than getting the generic (i.e. non-issue-specific) right-of-center groups to talk about it more. Right now the most widely known litmus test for SCOTUS nominees is abortion. Unlike the Second Amendment, there’s not really much going on judicially on that front. Whereas we have a ton of cases coming in on our issue. I know a lot of gun owners also consider pro-life issues important, but if they want to see the Second Amendment given that same level of respect and concern in the nominee debates, then they are going to have to make sure they are just as outspoken on the gun issue.

  4. Ken says:

    We could start by not supporting the GOP when it backs anti-gun candidates like Mike Castle. We really need to start pushing the meme that support for gun control is not only factually wrong, but also morally abhorrent. A good starting point would be to form a 527 that would run ads showing the testimony of that woman describing how her family was killed by a shooter because she had to leave her gun in the car.

    • Bitter says:

      Do you have examples where that worked out well in a broad-based campaign? (That means Swift Boat Vets doesn’t count, that was against a single candidate.) I look at the last big attempt to do something like that, and they not only failed to meet their mission, but completely shut down. Ad-focused efforts like that usually get exposed for what they are. (This is one reason why I don’t have that much faith in Bloomberg’s new efforts – though he has enough money to spend on it that it shouldn’t be completely disregarded.)

      But then you also have to answer the question about how you’re going to punish the entire GOP for their support of someone like Mike Castle when they are also supporting someone like Tom Coburn or Kay Bailey Hutchison. If you say you’ll just vote for the other guys, then how can you support even a pro-gun Democrat when the rest of the party also supports Nancy Pelosi? This is where local activism makes a huge difference. It’s much easier to help out when it’s warranted, earn a reputation for being a solid worker for people who support your rights, and politely refuse for people who don’t. (“I’m sorry, I can’t lend a hand with that district walk because Rep. John Doe is not a friend to gun owners. If you have one for Sen. Jane Doe who is pro-gun, I’d be happy to help.”)

  5. Arnie says:

    All good comments and suggestions, dear countrymen, but, JUST IN CASE, may I suggest ordering your next militia arm now? It is taking several months for my dealer to get my next AR in, and that will be just about the time this suspected anti-constitutionalist takes her seat on the bench. Even if there were a snowflake’s chance in hades that we could block her confirmation, I wouldn’t delay the purchase. She has made it clear that she intends to legislate supreme law from the bench, in direct violation of Art. 1, sec. 1, para. 1, sentence 1 of the Constitution to which she has sworn (and egregiously violated) a sacred oath. I just hope my new AR arrives before she does!

  6. Sebastian says:

    From a Second Amendment point of view, she’s not going to change much. She’s replacing Souter, who was in the Heller minority, and thus doesn’t believe the Second Amendment means anything.

    The time to start worrying is if Scalia or Kennedy step down. Then we’re looking at losing the Heller majority.

  7. Sebastian says:

    That said, it would still be nice to make an issue out of her views on the Second Amendment. I don’t mean to suggest that shouldn’t be the case.

  8. Ken says:

    Bitter: I think you misunderstood me. I don’t mean that we should refuse to support Tom Coburn because he has the endorsement of the GOP, which supports Mike Castle. What I meant was that we should be at best neutrual toward people like Castle. There is a Second Amendment majority in the general populace, and I don’t see why there shouldn’t be one in Congress as well.

    What it ultimately comes down to is this: gun owners and gun owners’ organizations are more popular than the Republican Party, and we should demand that the GOP support us, rather than pretending we’re an embarassment. Especially considering that an awful lot of Democrats seem to have realized that the Brady Bunch really is an embarassment.

    Gun control has become a fringe issue, and it’s time for the GOP to realize that it isn’t 1999 any more.

    • Bitter says:

      Ah, I see now. I think most groups are neutral on guys like Castle. The biggest problem that I suspect comes to play here is that most people aren’t single issue voters. (We’re not, we’re just single issue activists.) I would also look at guys like Castle and say a sizable level of support comes from anti-gun voters.

      On the whole, we do have better numbers. And the GOP should be begging for our support. That’s something I’d like to help us change. We actually became known as the volunteers who like guns because we made sure that all of the volunteer organizers knew that what we wanted from candidates was a pro-gun rating. I even opted not to do one call script because it mentioned a candidate who wasn’t terribly pro-gun. You better believe they noticed something like that. I suspect this overall issue really will be won at the local level.

  9. Sebastian says:

    Gun control has become a fringe issue, and it’s time for the GOP to realize that it isn’t 1999 any more.

    I agree with you on this Ken, the problem is, even if all the Republicans stand firm, they still can’t stop the confirmation. Either way, the point was that if you want to get rid of someone like Mike Castle, and that indeed would be a worthy cause, it’s going to take local activism in a primary to get rid of him.

    Delaware has a closed primary system, so to a large degree, it’s Delaware GOP voters that are keeping him there. All politics is local.

  10. TexasFred says:

    OK, we knew that Obama was going to nominate a libber to the SCOTUS, that was a given. It was suspected that he would nominate a female and a minority too, so, no real surprises there either. A libber president doing what a scumbag libber is expected to do, take this nation down the sewer by seating a scumbag libber on the SCOTUS. Just sayin’…

  11. jones says:

    Doesn’t she need one minority vote to get out of committee?

    I’m not saying she should be blocked; just that she could be blocked.

  12. jones says:

    I seem to remember that discussed when Specter bailed.

  13. Sebastian says:

    Yes, that’s true. I actually didn’t think about that. But yeah, if the Republicans hold strong, they can prevent her from being voted on. The question is whether Sotomayor might be better than alternatives.

  14. Ian Argent says:

    Obama is (finally) keeping a campaign promise. Let’s see if he follows through with this one the way he’s followed through with closing Gitmo, or bringing unparalleled transparency to goverment, or ending the drug war, or…

    (Based on his statement about what he would look for in a SCOTUS judge).

  15. jones says:

    “The question is whether Sotomayor might be better than alternatives.”

    Seems there are better alternatives (even on the Left), but we won’t get them.

  16. Mike123 says:

    You have to deal with what you have in your hand, not what might be down the road. From Kopel’s research she seems anti-2nd Amendment so we need to make an effort to stop her.

  17. PB says:

    I think it needs to be made an issue, but whether it’s enough to scuttle her, I don’t know. It also has the same problem the Holder nomination did…. even if you win, Obama will have something right behind her who is just as bad on the gun issue. You’re not likely to get a pro-2A justice out of this administration.

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