I Wish NRA Would Focus More on the Courts in Public Rhetoric

NRA President David Keene talks to the Washington Times down in Tampa about the need to get rid of Obama:

Notice one argument missing? Nowhere is the 5-4 thread the Second Amendment is now hanging by even mentioned. Maybe they’ve focused grouped this or something, and the fact is that people just don’t really grasp the enormity of the danger, unless you hit them with “We see him as the most anti-gun president in modern times.” But I’m pretty skeptical that this message is going to be more effective. We all remember Clinton. We all remember him using the bully pulpit ever time there was a mass shooting. We remember eight years of nothing but more gun control. I’m not sure this rhetoric passes the smell test.

But the Supreme Court issue does. I know my biggest fear is spending the next four years hoping that Scalia, Kennedy and even Thomas have really good doctors. There’s also the proverbial bus. Not to mention, at some point that 5 justice majority breaks, and I honestly don’t want to find out where that is without another pick up. Have NRA members become so detached from the issue we can no longer level with them? I mean, we’re talking about the Second Amendment being repealed from the Bill of Rights by judicial fiat. If that’s not enough to scare gun owners, we’re doomed.

13 thoughts on “I Wish NRA Would Focus More on the Courts in Public Rhetoric”

  1. NRA puts out so much BS I think most members just tune them out. Instead of trying to pass Romney off as some great 2A hero they ought to just level with the membership and say that while they recognize that he isn’t very popular with gun owners, they feel that he is more open to political persuasion from our side than a second term Obama administration would be. That glowing article they ran with Romney and Chris Cox was as insulting to our intelligence as the one they did in ’08 with McCain.

  2. The problem with the Supreme Court argument though, is they end up losing people who are concerned about the right ward lurch of the court on so many other issues – abortion, civil rights, due process, the war on drugs, etc.

    Wouldn’t surprise me at all if they have internal polling (or Romney campaign does) that points out raising the issue of Supreme Court membership is a very difficult (perhaps even a loser of an) issue.

    The right already doesn’t trust Romney on the Courts. And neither does the left. Had the Obamacare decision not happened – Romney could have mentioned appointing jurists in the role of John Roberts. I still think that is a winner with most people – but it will put at risk his ability to bring those conservatives to the polls who don’t understand the brilliance of what Robert’s pulled off.

  3. The NRA is an astute and effective lobbying organization. The Second Amendment Foundation is more effective at litigation. They both have their strengths. I wish the NRA would acknowledge that there are other organizations. The NRA is the largest organization, and the most effective at lobbying, and offers so many other services to American shooters. If just once they would congratulate The Second Amendment Foundation on one of their successes, rather than ignore that it ever happened, I would be pleasantly surprised.

  4. I agree that conservatives are wrong to hate on roberts for that decision, but I also think the supreme court deserves more attention this election. Even those who aren’t very bright can answer a question like “if all of the people on the supreme court were obama guys, how do you think they’d rule on gun stuff?”

  5. Just thinking out loud:

    One of our more memorable SCOTUS nominations on the conservative side was Robert Bork, who did not believe the Second Amendment defined an individual right; do I remember correctly that the NRA was excoriated for for not supporting him, just to be a “conservative team player?”

    Leading to the thought that, a “conservative” SCOTUS appointment doesn’t necessarily mean a lot for gun rights. The 5 – 4 thread that the 2A hangs on, so far has not allowed me to do one more thing, gun-rights-wise, than I could do the day before the court pretty unanimously agreed the 2A was a very limit-able individual right.

    It’s true that “We remember eight years of nothing but more gun control” under Clinton, but what complicates the memory here in Pennsylvania is, that at the state level most of it came from the Republicans.

    1. The issue has changed quite a bit among conservative legal scholars since the days of Robert Bork. IIRC, even Bork has come around. Much of the scholarship that the Heller and McDonald decisions were based on was produced in the 70s, 80s, and then in the 90s it started getting taken seriously even by liberals, like Tribe and Levinson. That’s kind of when the tide turned, and the individual right theory became “The Standard Model” and the other side had to recruit fringe scholars like Cornell to try to keep the collective rights model alive by hook or by crook.

      So these days, there’s a much higher chance that a conservative Justice is going to be with us on the 2nd Amendment being an individual right. That’s going to get more important as the issues get more marginal. That a gun ban in the home is unconstitutional is a no brainer, and incorporation was pretty much a no brainer once you had that. That states can’t ban carry, or restrict it to “good cause” or need is probably something we can win on with this majority. But beyond that, I don’t care to wager, and I think what’s beyond that is pretty important to win on.

      In the short term, the courts need to even out the differences between the anti-gun states and the rest of America. It’s going to be a while before you can go after licensing, and a lot of that will probably depend on a lot of jurisdictions insisting on using licensing to discourage exercising the right. If Chicago and DC are any examples, they are going to try to get away with as much as they can. It’ll probably take a combination of the Court’s and Congress exercising their Section 5 powers under the 14th Amendment to bring the intransigents into line. But that’s going to take a compliant court, which means replacing the Justices who thinks gun bans are fine with, at least, ones that don’t advocate redacting the 2nd Amendment right out of the Bill of Rights.

      1. Good reply!

        I’m just coming back to this thread right now because I was remiss in losing my train of thought with my last comment, and not making the point that Robert Bork is presently Mitt Romney’s chief judicial adviser. That suggests that while Bork may indeed be “yesterday,” he nonetheless comes closer to representing the “real” concerns conservatives want to see addressed by their SCOTUS; and that the 2A may not be one of them. After those concerns are addressed, then we can only pray for a favorable view of the 2A, as gravy.

        “Bork has denounced what he calls the ‘NRA view’ of the Second Amendment, something he describes as the ‘belief that the constitution guarantees a right to Teflon-coated bullets.’ Instead, he has argued that the Second Amendment merely guarantees a right to participate in a government militia.[32]”

        32. Life Magazine, Vol 14, No. 13.

        Remember, that is the man advising the candidate.

        1. I posted on that when it came up, and someone informed me that Bork had since changed his view on the matter. That’s not to say there aren’t judges out there we need to be concerned with, but the chances of getting a vote for the Second Amendment out of an Obama appointee I’d put at effectively zero. The absolute best I think we can hope for is someone who won’t be the vote to overturn Heller, but would be fine with limiting the right to the greatest extent possible beyond that, which is 95% of the battle. If all the 2A ends up meaning is that we can have a gun in the home, after jumping through the kids of hoops DC and Chicago put in my way, I’m going to start agreeing with the people who didn’t want this to go to the courts.

    2. The facts on the ground are not changing (much), and it looks like we’re more at the Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada 1938 stage of things than Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Add to that the record of RINOs and Supreme Court picks, e.g. Souter, and this argument is very weak.

      Then there’s state and locality resistance even when ordered by the courts. We’d hope California, New York, New Jersey etc. would change their tune if their laws got tossed out, but gun control now, gun control tomorrow, gun control forever is just as if not more likely, however they arrange it. E.g. nothing says they have to make self-defense particularly legal like Massachusetts.

      And I can and have made the argument that if a new assortment of Supremes reversed Heller we’d be in much better political shape. I’d rather improve the health of the gun culture in the parts of the country held by our enemies, but I’ll take what I can get.

      1. Souter was picked because the Administration wanted to avoid a tough confirmation fight, so they picked a guy that had nothing in his record that the Democratically controlled Senate could object to, and scuttle the nominee. Unfortunately for the Administration, after Clinton assumed office, he started voting with the “liberal” wing of the court.

        I’ve heard stories that there were people who knew Souter was a liberal, and pulled one over on the Administration, but I don’t know how true they are.

        I don’t deny it’s a risk, especially since I doubt the GOP will take the Senate. But I’ll take risk over near certainty of failure.

  6. Keep this in mind regarding SCOTUS also. It doesn’t take a Bus Accident or a Heart Attack to shift the Balance of Power. All it takes is one “I’m Tired, and I Quit” letter from one of the 5. And if it happens during an Obama Second Term with the Dems still in charge of the Senate, then the Anointed One gets his Rubber Stamp.

  7. I fully agree that the importance of the razor’s edge balance on the Supreme Court is not given enough publicity in pro-gun circles. It’s amazing how much ignorance and misinformation is floating out there on the subject.

    I’m not sure which is worse; pro-gun people who don’t even know about the battle over the Court majority, or pro-gun people who don’t understand the litigative process and think anything other than instant and total victory over gun-control is some kind of sell-out.

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