The Independence Institute’s David Kopel,
writing in The Washington Times, takes Sonia
Sotomayor to the judicial woodshed for “devolving” on the gun
rights issue. He points out a contradiction between her
statements last summer in support of the Supreme Court’s
Heller precedent and her recent siding with the minority
in the Chicago gun rights case (McDonald v. Chicago),
which shredded Heller’s basis.
In so doing, Kopel gives us an important tie-in with the recently
completed Elena Kagan hearings. He writes:
Ominously, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the Breyer dissent —
contradicting what she told the U.S. Senate and the American
people last summer.
Regarding the key issue in McDonald — whether the 14th
Amendment makes the Second Amendment enforceable against state
and local governments — Justice Sotomayor resolutely refused to
tell the senators how she might vote. So in voting against
incorporating the Second Amendment, Justice Sotomayor was not
inconsistent with what she had told the Senate. But regarding
Heller, her actions as a justice broke her promises
from last summer.
The Breyer-Sotomayor-Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissent urged that
Heller be overruled and declared, “In sum, the Framers
did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a
private right of armed self defense.”
Contrast that with her Senate testimony: “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.”
An important lesson can be gleaned from this for Kagan: on issues
of respecting court precedent with which she disagrees, don’t
believe a word she says.
About the Author
David N. Bass is a journalist who writes from the Old North State. Follow him on Twitter.
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