America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 14

N R A

H. Q.

B U L L E T I N

POLITICAL REPORT
by

Chris W. Cox, nra-ila Exec. Director

The Judiciary's Role In
Fundamental Transformation

O

n Nov. 21, 2013, on a near party-line vote, the Democratic-controlled United
States Senate eliminated the possibility of a filibuster on confirmation votes for
many federal appointments. The new rule allows nominations for most executive
positions and all lower court federal judgeships to move forward in the Senate
with a simple majority vote rather than the 60 votes needed to end a filibustered
nomination. Although he opposed an identical proposal to change the Senate rules
in 2005, President Obama was quick to take advantage of the new rule, now that it
could be used to his benefit. In a little more than a year since this rule change, its
effect on the federal judiciary has been significant. Nine of the 13 federal courts of
appeal now have a majority of judges who were appointed by anti-gun presidents.
While a president's party affiliation is not necessarily determinative of how his
judicial appointees will decide cases, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama
were behind all the Democrat appointments of currently active federal judges. These
presidents are no friends of the Second Amendment, and Clinton and Obama in
particular adamantly pursue gun control. To assume this agenda wouldn't influence
their judicial appointments is dangerously naïve.
Many gun owners understand the importance of appointing Supreme Court
justices who will faithfully interpret the Constitution, but the importance of lower
court appointments, especially to the federal circuit courts of appeal, is often
overlooked. Because of the sheer number of federal cases, lower court decisions
often set the tone of constitutional debates and establish the rules under which
people live for years. Lower federal courts have decided cases on important issues
from whether the right to bear arms applies outside the home to the scope of
protections provided by federal interstate transportation of firearm laws. The total
list of gun-law issues currently pending before lower courts is too long to list here,
but these examples illustrate the importance of keeping anti-gun partisans off
the bench.
The Supreme Court itself illustrates how a president's viewpoint can resonate
through his judicial picks. In 2010, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the dissent in
the landmark McDonald case, arguing that there is no constitutional right to own a
firearm. And earlier this year, Justice Elena Kagan wrote an opinion affirming the
conviction of a former police officer for buying a firearm for his uncle, even though
both men successfully passed background checks before receiving the firearm.

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Opinions such as these from the high
court only serve to embolden anti-gun
judges throughout the federal judiciary.
Federal judges often serve as a legacy
for the presidents who appoint them
and the senators who confirm them.
A federal judgeship is essentially an
appointment for life, subject only to
impeachment by Congress. Judges often
remain on the bench for decades after
the presidents who appointed them
have left office. As an example of how
long this can be, several judges who
were appointed by President Kennedy
remain in the federal judiciary on
senior status (i.e., in a semi-retired
role). These judges illustrate that it's
entirely possible for a president to have
an impact on the legal landscape for
more than a half-century.
As Sen. Charles E. Schumer, d-n.y.,
told The New York Times earlier this year,
the filling of judicial vacancies "will affect
America for a generation, long after the
internecine battles on legislative issues
are forgotten." One of those "internecine
battles" that Schumer was likely referring
to was his failed attempt to pass a number
of expansive gun control measures out
of the Senate last year. He clearly sees the
recent spike in appointments-thanks
largely to the elimination of the filibuster
he supported-as a backdoor opportunity
to shape our nation's gun laws in a way
that he has been unable to accomplish
through legislation. Anti-gun Sen.
Richard Blumenthal, d-Conn., went
even further, commenting on "the
need to have people there that are of an
ideological like mind."
The midterm elections have now
been decided, but the struggle for
freedom continues. The appointment
of judges can, as much as anything,
contribute to President Obama's stated
goal of "fundamentally transforming
the United States of America." This is
yet another reason gun owners must
stay informed, alert and involved. Now,
more than ever, your nra is here to
help you understand where the battle
for freedom will be joined.

N R A- I L A : ( 8 0 0 ) 3 9 2- 8683 * NR A- I L A web s i te: w w w. nr aila. org
12

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December 2014


http://www.NRAILA.org/donate http://www.nraila.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - December 2014

America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 1
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 2
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 3
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 4
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 5
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 6
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 7
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 8
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 9
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 10
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 11
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 12
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 13
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 14
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America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 16
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America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 18
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 19
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 20
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 21
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America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 25
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 26
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 27
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 28
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 29
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 30
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 31
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America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 33
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 34
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