Barrett Seen as an ‘Originalist’ on Gun Rights
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s rulings in gun rights case during her time as an appellate court judge will undoubtedly come under scrutiny in the days ahead. How has Judge Barrett ruled in such cases?
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman say Barrett has been a model of careful legal craftsmanship. For example:
…in Kanter v. Barr (2019). [Barrett’s] dissenting opinion is an originalist tour de force on the Second Amendment’s application to “felon dispossession” laws, which restrict gun ownership by convicted criminals. The majority held that the government may categorically strip even nonviolent felons of Second Amendment rights. Judge Barrett took a narrower view based on the amendment’s text and history.
Surveying laws and practice around the time of the amendment’s framing in the late 18th century, she found support only for keeping weapons from those deemed dangerous and likely to misuse them. That category, she concluded, is “simultaneously broader and narrower than ‘felons’—it includes dangerous people who have not been convicted of felonies but not felons lacking indicia of dangerousness”—like the plaintiff, who had been convicted of mail fraud, or hypothetical felons convicted for “selling pigs without a license in Massachusetts” or “redeeming large quantities of out-of-state bottle deposits in Michigan.”
Barrett’s willingness to take the Second Amendment seriously has put gun rights opponents on alert. The group Moms Demand Action says Barret has an:
…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…
And its affiliate group, Everytown for Gun Safety, said Barrett is a “gun rights extremist.”
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer appears – for now – to be ignoring the Second Amendment issue entirely, telling his colleagues to focus on Barrett’s criticism of Obamacare, instead.
Image Credit: By KAZ Vorpal (Flickr: Declaration of Independence, with Firearm) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons