National gun control organizations have at least one common fear-- that of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, joining the high court.
Within two days of Judge Barrett's official nomination to the court, the Brady Campaign, Everytown, Giffords and Moms Demand Action all issued a series of increasingly hyperbolic statements on the legal scholar and current U.S. Appeals Court judge, and her perceived views on gun rights.
“The stakes could not be higher for this battle over who should replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court,” said Jonathan Lowy, Chief Counsel and Vice President of Legal at Brady.
“Make no mistake: Amy Coney Barrett is a gun rights extremist who has no place on the Supreme Court, and we unequivocally oppose her confirmation,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.
“The judges President Trump is considering for the Supreme Court are not your grandparents’ Republicans,” said Hannah Shearer, litigation director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Instead, they’re endorsing the modern NRA’s vision of an unlimited Second Amendment.
“Amy Coney Barrett’s alarming interpretation of the Second Amendment would make her an ideal Supreme Court Justice for the NRA, but a terrible one for the safety of the American people,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.
Ironically making a series of great selling points for Barrett to the pro-gun camp, the gun control groups point out that Barrett once clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia-- the architect of the 2008 Heller decision recognizing an individual right to keep and bear arms. They also loop in her dissent in the case of a man who, made a felon due to a non-violent crime namely mail fraud, picked up a lifetime firearms ban as a result. This, reasoned Barrett, did not square with the right to bear arms as seen by founding-era legislatures.
Why so important?
On a full nine-justice panel, at least four have to agree to hear a petition and five, once arguments are made, to rule for the majority. In recent years, that magic number has been elusive. When it comes to gun rights advocates, many of which have been constantly dismayed by the current Supreme Court's repeated track record of turning away Second Amendment cases in the past decade-- triggering Justice Clarence Thomas to say, "The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this Court’s constitutional orphan," -- the prospect of a new justice eager to weigh in on firearms law may be headed to the bench is exciting, especially with the court's liberal minority is at the same time trimmed due to the loss of Justice Ginsberg.
"How would Amy Coney Barrett rule on guns? The evidence suggests she has a very expansive view of gun rights, likely even broader than Justice Scalia," said UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler. "She would likely vote to strike down numerous gun laws, incl. red flag laws that have relatively bipartisan support."
The Firearms Policy Coalition, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Second Amendment Foundation have all resoundingly endorsed Barrett.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, said he plans to start Barrett's nomination hearings on Oct. 12 with the goal of marking her up out of committee by Oct. 22, setting the stage for a floor vote.